28 August 2023

Music for Your Monday

Reminiscence of old school MySpace, here's what I've listened to LOUDLY and on repeat lately to combat the Ennui

If you're on the struggle bus, click the links, turn up the speakers, and vibe


A Symptom of Being Human



And with eternal thanks to Swistle:

Odds Are

Then go outside on go on your stupid walk for your stupid mental health.

24 August 2023

Raising Parents - An User Manual

It is my hope that this list could be helpful to someone who is caring for their aging parents. Or as I call it: Raising Parents, because it's like raising children all over again with more frustration and less control.

As you probably know, it's been a rough year in the raising parents arena here. We've gone from living independently to hospice and not living at all and not independently in less than a year. And we're still not done.

Here are somethings to consider if you are (or will be) in this Late Stage or End of Life Raising Parents situation:

Get a Power of Attorney before you think you need it. Even if you have zero intentions of using it. This can be a tender subject as parents want to be considered independent and "of right mind", even when they know that they're not.

Make sure there is a End of Life care plan or at the very least a discussion. These can include:
  • Advance Directive and Living Will
  • Power of Attorney (for medical, financial, legal decisions)
  • Will
  • Agreement that Hospice care is acceptable (verbal is fine)
  • Agreement that Facility care is acceptable (as in does or does not want to go into a nursing home & verbal is fine)
  • Burial Plan - cremation or burial? service or not service? Formal or casual service? (as in church or at the cemetery or somewhere else or not at all)
If you have any of the above documents, scan them and save them on your desktop - or even your phone.  You will need them. 

Medical Advocacy:
  • Have access to medical records. If their doctors have online records then it can beset it up pretty easily. I think I had to use an ID number on a bill to set it up initially.
  • At the very least, have someone listed as a person that the clinic can communicate with. At the very least.
  • If someone can go to the appointments with them, that's very helpful for all involved. AND can be very awkward. lolsigh
Assisted Living
  • It is ridiculously expensive.  
  • See if the person has a Medicare Supplemental Plan that has a provision for assisted living.  Or if they can afford it, add it during the enrollment window.
  • Move into assisted living earlier than needed to ease transition. If possible, find a facility that has steps of care, as in assisted up to full-on care so there isn't a need for relocation as needs progress.
  • Only the expensive places allow pets but most do allow visits

In-home Care: 
The commercials make it look so easy but it's expensive and difficult to coordinate. The pandemic decimated the health care industry. We found it difficult to get consistent caregivers so we opted to do it ourselves. Like the power of attorney, work on this before you need it. 

AND like the Power of Attorney, they will most likely balk and resist but at least start the conversation and plant the concept before it's an emergency.

State Assistance: see above AND know that the process took about 90-days and that's with them fast-tracking it due to the hospice situation.  It's an incredible amount of paperwork and takes follow-up. 
The one thing I would change is that I would have registered both parents at the same time instead of just one.

Self Care:
  • Search the internet or shamazon for "Adaptive clothing". We bought nightgowns for the m-i-l and it was a game changer. Now we also have special shoes for the f-i-l as well.
  • Installing a bidet can reduce infections and improve self-care. I found this mind blowing and very proactive.

Safety Proofing the House
  • Address trip hazards - rugs, cords, etc. Be prepared to hear "But my rugs..." and "I don't trip"
  •  Install grab bars in the bathroom, next to the bed or their chair, if possible. 
  • Locate everything within easy reach, as in no stooping or needing a stool or ladder. 
  • Decrease your stuff, in general.
We were "lucky" that we all lived together and it was easy to pop-in to check on them.  Once you get to this stage, it has to be a priority.  
    Things to notice:
  • Cleanliness of the house
  • Any odor (think urine, not just dirt)
  • Stacks of papers or envelopes - are they struggling with paying bills or managing paperwork?
  • Casually check the fridge
  • Ask about medications and make sure there is a system. 
    • PillPack via amazon is amazing. It doesn't work well if there are a lot of med changes though
  • Just an overall wellness and mental health vibe check.  Ask the hard questions.

Things You Won't Think about Until You Need Them:
  • Access to med records
  • Bank access so everything can be set for auto-pay and it can be monitored for fraud or weird purchases or accounts they didn't know they had or no longer need.
  • File cabinet location(s)- where do they keep all of their paperwork. Think insurance info, life insurance/burial plans, legal paperwork.

Chore and Supervision Division:

If you have siblings, know that one of you are going to bear the brunt of the work. It's just how it works out and it doesn't make anyone right or wrong, even though it feels like that.

Someone has to be the point person for the doctors and emergency department and hospital and care facility. If you can, make it one person or it turns into a bad version of the children's game Telephone.

The phone calls are relentless, especially if Hospice is a thing. Just know that moving forward.  Choose a mellow/soothing ringtone because you're going to hear it a lot.  Also: think of hearing it in the middle of the night.

Decision Making and Communication:
  • We asked the siblings TWICE when there was any sort of a decision to be made. That ensured there was no confusion about anything.
  • Even if someone says "Oh, they wouldn't want that" or "They can't help" ASK, don't assume.  Let that person decide.
  • Use social media, messaging, and texting to communicate.  It makes it so much easier than multiple phone calls. One message reaches many people and there's no mis-interpretation.

  • Keep a notebook for all the appointments, conversations, changes, information.  TRUST ME. 
  • Keep a binder for all of the forms and legal documents
  • If you have any of the above listed documents, scan them and save them on your desktop - or even your phone.  You will need them. 
Now, I know that not everyone is wired like me. HOWEVER, think about the obituary before you're in the sad space. Ask any questions you might have. I had to trick my m-i-l to get information. As in "I know what day you got married but I don't know WHERE."
Think about it as writing a story about their life.

Also, know that obituaries in newspapers are offensively expensive. The funeral home will post one for free and it stays forever. We used social media and it mostly worked.

List for AFTER someone has passed:
Hospice gave me a list and so did the funeral home. I spent a few hours each over two days making sure we did everything. All in all, it took about a week for everything to finalize.
  • Contact the doctors. I just emailed the primary doctors via the clinic portal.
  • Be prepared to wait for the funeral home and death certificates. Television makes it seem like it happens quickly.
  • Phone - shut if off but remember to back up contacts and photos, etc. before you do.
  • Electronics - back up any photos or documents.
  • Social Media. Make facebook a legacy account instead of deleting it. It's nice to have.
  • Email - I kept the email active but changed it to my father-in-law's name and I monitor it.
  • Run a credit report to make sure all the accounts are known.
  • Contact Voter Registration - the courthouse was Very Appreciative of the notice.
  • Stop mail or stop junk mail/credit offers/etc.

Finally there are two things that I need to also share and they're equally important:

You have to have the hard conversations about money and care, and all of it.  It's no fun and people get sad or angry or frustrated or all of those and that's okay.  It has to happen.  Otherwise, everyone will be caught unprepared and it's the worst kind of surprise.  It also can help avoid resentment and anger later.

When people melt-down, emotionally, it is rarely about The Thing they say they're upset about.  Example: my father-in-law had a melt-down about not being able to "do paperwork" - i.e. bills, medical docs.  It was 100% not about that but that he was hours from losing his wife.  But the "doing paperwork" was what he could verbalize and/or that's what he fixated onto.  
It's rarely about The Thing, it's about the loss.  Loss of autonomy, control, their loved one, their things, their home; any or all of those.

I hope that our experience and my nerdery will help guide you if you are raising parents or will be in the future.  It can also serve as a self-guidebook to prepare yourself as you and/or your partner ages.

Raising parents is not for the weak.  Ask for help. I hope this helps.

18 August 2023

Cooking with Mom

 When I cleaned out the cupboards, outside pantry, refrigerator, and freezer of the parents house, there was a LOT of sighing, cursing, and general disbelief.  So much expired food or food that they shouldn't have or any configuration of What the Actual...

I brought home jello cups that the mother used to take pills with.  It was also a sneaky way to get hydration in her without her knowing. (handy tip, btw. It's not sustainable but it helps a little)  Kevin calls it a "bowl of water" after eating too much prior to bedtime, lol.

Kevin tried them and discovered that he loves the sugar free strawberry.  His only complaint was the cups were so small.  On the next shopping order, I included jello that has to be made.  It turned out okay, I mean it's jello.  What can go wrong?

Well, the second attempt was....chewy.  It tasted fine but the texture was not jello-y.  When Kevin asked what happened, I simply pointed at myself.  Then muttered that I probably boiled it too much or not enough or whatever.

He was momentarily stunned into silence.  "You...let me get this right...You...burnt? water?  You burnt the unburnable?"

Now I'm laughing so hard that tears are streaming.  This is happening right in the Thick of It. Emotions were high.

A few days later, we were visiting with the mother and I mentioned that Kevin liked her jello cups.  This pleased her because one of the things she so worried about was Her Things Getting Wasted.

Then Kevin says in his Kevin-like-way.  "Then she messed it up.  She burnt water."

His mom looked at him puzzled for a moment, an expression we're all too familiar with, then giggled.

"No, you probably didn't stir it enough.  Or you didn't boil it long enough. Try again but let it boil a minute and keep stirring."  She patted the bed in a reassuring way.

And from her deathbed, the last piece of advice I received from my mother-in-law was how to make jello.  And she was right.  I didn't let the water boil long enough and it needs to be stirred for a ridiculous amount of time. (I use one song completely playing as a timer)

Now fast forward a few months. I asked Kevin what sounded good for dinner, like ever.  He got a little in his feelings and said "We haven't had potatoes and eggs since Mom"  Off I got to google how to make potatoes and eggs.

This is one of those meals that shows how poor they were when the boys were young.  It's literally boiled, cubed potatoes and scrambled eggs mixed together.

I had a general idea how to do it then Kevin phoned his dad.  He explained I was going to make "tatosandeggs" and needed to know how.

Surprisingly, he was specific and gave me good, solid directions. I wrote them down with the internet directions and went to work.

It is surprisingly labor-heavy.  It look longer than my brain had planned.  I mean, it's potatoes and eggs. I could envision her cooking it with the kids running around, because there were always kids running around when Kevin was young.  

All-in-all it turned out okay. I had the eggs to potatoes ratio wrong but easily fixed.  I added bacon bits to mine on a whim and we feasted.  Then Kevin phoned his dad to say that they were good and to thank him.  You could hear the pleasure in his dad's voice, pleased with being needed and teaching his irascible daughter something.

Finally, today I bought watermelon.  I've never had to buy a watermelon my whole life.  Because it was a summer tradition that the parents would buy it, cube it up, then deliver it in a special watermelon tupperware that she had.  She would cut it up and he would walk it over to the house after dinner.

When I closed the house, I kept both of the tupperware containers.  I tucked them back into a cupboard and told myself that someday I would buy watermelon.

Slicing watermelon is also surprisingly difficult.  I'm sure some of it was just lack of skill and probably dull knives but STILL.  I kept saying aloud "How did you DO THIS?"  She was five foot one or two on her best days.  Eventually I got the hang of it and put the cubes into the special watermelon tupperware.

I sent a photo to Kevin and he replied:

She kind of did, a little bit come back.  I just ask questions into the ether and listen but don't expect answers.  I told her today "Stop frowning, I know you're worrying. I'm being careful." 

She has made me broaden my skills a little more. Kevin has a little bit of his mom with him and I will never burn water again.  Probably.

12 August 2023

From Books to Paint and Curtains

 Okay, so.  I have to tell you: I made a decision.  I really took it under consideration, spent a whole day thinking about it; it's been longer than that but in concentrated contemplation. Slept on it. Put out some feelers.  Then I just made a decision and jumped into this project.

I sorted my books by author.  Not by color or anything else fun like that.  I thought about horizonal instead of  vertical. I thought about alternating but went with the standard sorting by author. Not alphabetically by author because I just don't have the bandwidth for that right now.

But wait, here's where it gets controversial:

I got rid of my To Be Read pile(s)  (TBR)  Well, mostly.

Gasp. Sputter. Dismay!

Okay, I know, I know. It's upsetting.  Here's how I came to that controversial conclusion:

Let's begin at the beginning: 

  • I'm sorting the books by author.  
  • I'm keeping only books I intend to read or reread someday when I'm old and can't just easily buy books.  

By putting the TBR with the Read, my shelves will have more room, be more aesthetically pleasing, and create space for new additions.  Yes, I know, I'm still going to buy MORE BOOKS and that will still be an issue.  But Right Now, I want them sorted this way. That is a Future Me problem.

Then if I want to read that author specifically, I can just browse those shelves and have the fun discovery of "Oh, I have a new book!"  Thanks, Past Me!

*Also, I'm terrible at keeping track of which books in series I have.  This solves the duplicate issue, probably.

However, there are 1 3/4 shelves of TBR still so not to worry.  Perhaps I was a little misleading...or excited about rule-breaking. 

I've acquired books of one-off authors along the way. I've read and kept them so right now, that is a shelf less than full of books. This requires them to share a shelf so that took some rearranging as I placed books back and forth, back and forth.  

Two other book-related things while I'm rambling: 

Earlier I finally went through writing from my childhood; essays, assignments, and a journal I don't remember writing. (so horrifyingly cringy, do not recommend)  I had kept a book report about a book I really liked and for the first time in too long, I ordered a book from shamazon.  Remember when they had only books?  

I have one author that I have way too many of her books.  As it progressed: three shelves reduced to two.  At this point, it feels like those shelves are valuable real estate so I will probably go through those books again to make sure I didn't hoard a book I didn't mean to.  Also, feels a little weird having Such An Excessive Amount of one author's books.  However, this author tends towards series so that just complicates this whole sort-by-author process.

Sidenote that I've mentioned before: for all the years working in social services, I prefer more light reading than anything dark or complicated. So, while not quite grocery store romance novels, or even chick-lit, not true crime either.  I'm not a huge non-fiction fan and those books are on a different bookshelves. 

I've done away with most of the old standard-size paperbacks.  Well, done away with being defined as sitting in a pile next to the bookshelf....now time has passed and I kept a few of them by authors I like and, obviously, I like the stories.  I kept the very first adult fiction book that I read...other than Flowers in the Attic...just out of sentimentality.  (Danielle Steel - Full Circle.  It was the 80's and I was fifteen)

It feels daunting to either surf the interwebs to replace the smaller paperbacks or photograph them to be replaced later. Because let's just be honest: they're not getting replaced.  If they're old enough to be the old standard-sized paperbacks, chances are they are not reprinted in the new mass market style.

Then there's the books from the book clubs that you order on a whim or it's the featured book or you forget to reply and now you have this random book.  Also from book clubs: I kept a few from an author that was/is popular in attempt to give them a try.  I find the author personally annoying so I really did just set us both up for failure there.  Into the pile they go.  Rinse and repeat for another author unburied from the shelves.

This process took almost two days.  I started mid-day on Saturday and was making headway when Kevin mentioned that he told his bff that we would go to his house for an impromptu barbecue.  I whined at him "But I want to play with my BOOOOOOOOKKKKSSSSS."  

Sunday, I was determined to finish. The thing about working from home is that this can't be the storage/clutter/I'll-get-to-that-later room.  At this point of the adventure, the floor was nearly impassable and the bookshelf mostly empty.

Of course, this is now the time to go into town to pick up a new television and router.  Welcome to living with Surely.

What had happened there was we had to disconnect our satellite and the television in our room was not a smart television.  In the Prepare for the Worse, Hope for the Best mindset, I ordered a new television so we would have something to watch at night.  The new router was just needed, Then we also had to run the cable - that's not the right word, I know - from the bedroom to the office.  The office where books had exploded. The office where the router lives.  The office where the books are right in front of the door.

Oh, and because of the possible no television in the bedroom, my brain thought that this was the Absolute Perfect Time to cull through all the dvds in the cupboard.  As a result, "my" dvds are on the bottom shelf of the non-fiction bookcase.  The decision-making factor with that was I need more shelves for photo albums and some of the mother-in-law's things.  Also: who even watches dvd's anymore?

I am an excellent decision maker and planner. 

By now, I'm fully in If You Give A Mouse A Cookie. (or as Kevin called it the other day "If you give an elephant a cracker")  There are three projects going and yikes.  I banished Kevin to his shop, put on my headphones, and set my determination to finish.

As a result, the backset of my truck is FULL of boxes/bags of books. Everything was placed on the shelf, including some paperbacks because I couldn't let them all go.  The other bookshelf was reorganized because see: dvds.  

And all was content in Whoville.

Until, I decided to fix my paint job that I did prior to my eye surgery.  Did you know that painting while being/going blind is not effective?  Hmm.  I promised Kevin that I would fix everything once my eyes healed and now it's been well over one year.  

Now, I know...this has been a lot to process...remember when I got new curtains for the living room and decided I hated the prefab valance so I had Kevin change it?  Well, there is one in my office above a giant window.  It was a different color that I ended up disliking so I had draped fabric across the valance.  This window also had the heavy green satin curtain that matched the rest of the house.

Next thing I know, I've taken down the valance and ordered new curtains.  Like you do when sorting books on a bookshelf.

Now that I have approval for working from home for the foreseeable future, I took out the box from my old office and went through it.  I put up my Doctor Who stuff, used the lamps elsewhere in the house, and just Moved In, I guess is the best way to describe it. 

I still have to rehang the rod with the sheer curtain

It has such a nice feel to it now, like a legitimate office.  It feels enjoyable to walk into the room now and it makes me want to read.  Now I'm on the hunt for a glider rocker because the rocking chair I have isn't comfortable for long sits. It's not a secret library (yet) but I'm holding out hopes for that to happen.

09 August 2023

When Something is Forced

 My mom and younger brother did come to the memorial. They arrived about two hours in, just late enough to let me think they weren't coming.  I was down in the yard when they arrived and s-i-l texted from the kitchen "They're here" and I replied "No thank you."  

But Kevin was upstairs and saw them then texted me too. I lingered because I'm still having feelings about how that played out with my mother. I realized while I was sitting there that the contrast was highlighted in neon, the difference between mothers.  In the now, there were just under one hundred people at my m-i-l's memorial; she was so beloved.  Then there was my mother.

Then next thing I know Nephew is walking my mom down to the table where I was.  I thought that was sweet of Nephew until he told me she told him to do it.  Sigh.  Perfect example.

It was as awkward as one would expect.  Not only did I have this stunning realization about the relationship just two weeks prior, there's also distance there due to the Pandemic.  Kevin tried to keep a conversation going but it was just uncomfortable. Kevin's b.f.f. - who knows my family - was sitting with us too but he was no help, he just wallowed in the awkwardness with me. lolsigh.

My brother tried to keep a thread of a conversation too but he's the smartest guy in the room - just ask him - and with mixed tones of bigotry, so that fell flat as well. More on that in a minute. Also, he's absolutely befuddled why I would be staying away from the family these past years.  There is zero self-awareness.

Earlier in the day, I had told Five that we were going to go to the creek and he chose That Moment to want to go.  He came up to me and snuggled up then said he wanted to go to the creek.  In front of everyone.  I told him that I couldn't just then but I would in a little while. "Why can't you go now?" he asked.  I awkwardly explained that I had to stay and talk to people.  He has no recollection of who my family is so they were just "people" to him.  

Because he's seven-and-a-half, he's not to be thwarted. "When will you be done? When can you go? Are you done now? Why do you have to wait?"

I'm lamely answering him, even saying "I know I promised that we would go but right now I have to stay."  "Why?" he asks again.  He's the youngest child, he knows the tricks.  He kept asking and I tried to make light of it.  Then he puts his face to mine, almost nose-to-nose, hands on both sides of my face and in a hypnotic tone says "Why can't we go? Let's go..."

It made me laugh and I told him "You're just making it weird now" and he laughed, then he wandered off.  It occurred to me much later that my mother and brother just sat there mute the whole time.  Not an interaction, not a "You sure have grown!" or a "Well, you have things to do" Nothing.  We continued to sit in awkward conversation.  

Finally, she announced they were going and kept trying to hug me. Which is so weird, we weren't raised with affection and now she hugs and it's unsettling. Also: do you not remember yelling at me?      Brother made a comment about how he didn't know how to address the card "There's a lot of people here" and I just said "It's a big family, and not everyone is here right now. People have been coming and going."  

Mom then also commented about how many people were here and I just lamely repeated "It's a very big, busy family."  I think they both might have had the realization that THIS *waving my hands around four generations of people* is my family and that it Actually Existed.  

Then cue Kevin, one of my favorite of the young cousins - and my Kevin's namesake - walking up and breaking the thread of the conversation.  Mom literally just started walking away and my brother lamely said "I guess I better get going"

My sister-in-law said that they just said hi to her upon their arrival, which is surprising because she was so worried about her during the Chastisement.  Then Mom went and sat with my father-in-law and Kevin said he didn't see her visiting with my f-i-l at all, so who even knows.  I wondered aloud to my s-i-l that it felt like a reconnaissance mission and she didn't disagree.  Or more like an item on a checklist: Publicly Support Daughter.  Yeah, that feels right.

Oh, and then later, Kevin told me that he was talking to our SUPER LIBERAL neighbor and climate change was mentioned.  My brother disagreed about it - of course - and said "We don't really know what's changing it" and Kevin said "Well, we kind of do..." in a David Spade way and Neighbor agreed.  Brother disagreed again and Kevin said "Well, in fact, she does know. Her husband is a scientist and professor." and Neighbor interjected "You don't have to be a SCIENTIST to know!!"   I would have paid $20 to see that.  So, that was about what we expected. (see: smartest person in the room.  Also: no boundaries)

I haven't heard from anyone since and it's been a month.  My nieces bridal shower was this weekend and I couldn't go for a variety of reasons. (it's okay, she understands the situation)  I am waiting for the "You could have made an appearance..." phone call.  Her wedding is in a little over one month so I'm sure there will be conversation before then.

Oh, wait, we ran into my eldest brother, niece and her husband the weekend prior to the memorial at a car show. My brother acted like nothing had changed and Niece was a little awkward but it was fine.  Then my brother told a story about how he flipped off his supervisor in the security camera and had a negative consequence; laughing like this was a normal thing to do.  I mean...what.  He is Retirement Age.

SO THEN fast forward back to the memorial: my mom mentions in a slightly judgey tone that my brother said they saw us.  I explained that Nephew had asked us to go as a Father's Day present to him  and we went to get a break from everything.   She begrudgingly accepted that answer.

Finally, my niece came to the memorial toward the end.  I think she timed it that way on purpose, if I'm being honest.  At one point, she off-handedly mentioned that her grandma (my mom) had a big reaction about the memorial and she laughed then waved it off.  So apparently, of course, the entire family knows that I was a horrible daughter, to her.  I didn't ask her about it because she doesn't need to be in the middle of the drama.  

During this, I could hear my m-i-l in my head.  "Be nice, it's your mother."  An example of the contrast: a gentle reminder versus a yelly voicemail and forced interaction.

03 August 2023

Chicken Soup with Rice - August


Three Phone Calls

 Okay, so, I foolishly thought that life was settling down.  I should really, really, know better by now.

Yesterday after a kind of busy morning, I had a lull.  No one needed anything, the phone wasn't ringing, work was quiet.  I thought that now was the time to look at my personal to-do list and see what I can knock off of it.

Three phone calls.  Simple enough.  Not really though because I've grown an adverse reaction to the phone.


First one: a referral was sent for a colonoscopy because I'm super overdue.  They never called to schedule so I called.  And...left a message.  Well, at least I called.

Second one: schedule a big girl haircut. It's been over a year since I've had my hair cut; I've been doing it myself.  It's time to have someone with a license to clean up everything.  The person who cuts my hair has retired and sold the business in that year.  I had left a message at a place in my hometown weeks ago with no call back so I tried another place.  Left a message.

Third one: this was supposed to be a simple "Just give us a call and we'll take care of it" kind of thing.  This was not for me but for the parents.  I called the courthouse to let them know that the parents house was sold and will be gone on Monday.  Yeah, that requires a form and a check. Before Monday.

Into the truck I go and travel to the courthouse, twenty minutes away.  And sit in traffic on the freeway.

When I finally arrived, I did the form, I debated the Why Am I Paying Taxes, only to discover that my card was at home and I couldn't pay anyway.  Meanwhile, the purchaser of the house called Kevin because the courthouse reached out to them during this.  Turns out: they had not secured a permit and the courthouse couldn't see a title transfer.  

Now I'm walking to the other side of the courthouse to determine that the transfer was completed.  Yes, it was but I don't know what the problem was. I just know it's not in the parents name anymore.

Back home and my phone rings.  The clinic to schedule the colonoscopy.  Check that off the list.

Then my father-in-law calls with questions and needs me to go to his bank.  That requires an appointment so I called to schedule that.  Left a message.

Finally, I called the courthouse to pay the bill.  Turns out the person I spoke with on the phone and the person I did the paperwork with are in two separate offices.  Of course.  However, I only paid half of the taxes so I can't care about that. 

And now it's after 5:00 pm.  Three phone calls turned into six and took at least two hours.  

AND the haircut place hasn't phoned me back.

I swear if Kevin says "It will slow down, we're almost done" one more time, I'm going to SQUARE UP.