1 wrong does not make 50 wrongs

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Last week an email went out at work admonishing the ladies of the basement about flushing items they shouldn’t. Specifically, it was plastic applicators (apology for the slight TMI there). I knew because I heard the maintenance employee talking about it. I immediately felt defensive because hey – I’m a woman in the basement! But, I have also complained plenty on my own about some of the less than respectful bathroom habits down here so, I can’t defend too loudly!

But really, what bothered me is that ONE careless person made all fifty of us down here look bad. We all need to use the bathroom, and we all need to respect each other and use it properly and not leave it in a state of…well..ICK! Because one person can ruin it for the other 49. Now the maintenance group thinks we are all pigs..which we aren’t..there’s just ONE, but we get painted with the broader brush.

Yesterday a gal who works in said basement posted on her facebook page that she was tired of going in to work, especially because she felt like she was working just to support people on welfare who are lazy and don’t bother working.

Yeah, let that sink in.

How many ways is that logic flawed eh? I mean, be unhappy in your own job for your own reasons, but..um..you are blaming welfare recipients for your NEED to work? No honey, you need to work to feed YOU. The .05 per paycheck or heck..let’s say $1 that you might be contributing to the welfare system is really not going to make or break that system!

So yeah, she was tad off base in her overall rant. But that started a real time discussion about the merits of welfare (of course!) with some comments about how people who ask for handouts need to just “try harder” and “find a job!” and the usual cries of how relying on the govt for a handout creates lazy people.

Well, yes..in any pool of people receiving assistance there will be that percentage who are gaming the system.

The ones who don’t respect what is available to them, misuse it and waste resources. Of course those examples are extremely frustrating and can make people who are working hard very very angry and resentful.

But again, it’s just those examples.

That’s not ALL of them. It’s not even a majority of them. The majority who do need help, really NEED help, and are more thrilled than anyone else when they get themselves back on their feet and no longer need that help.

But the ONES, ruin the system for the MANY and give a bad reputation to the whole thing.

Should the system be more controlled so that less people can game it? Hell yeah. but…not to the point where it begins to deny assistant to the many with real need.

And if you think that your job is so awful and you hate going to it so much and that you are only doing it to support people on the dole, well then – quit working! Clearly you don’t appreciate how awesome it is in today’s economy to even HAVE a job. Stop contributing to “the system”! That’ll teach ‘em!

Let me know how long you last without a job before you have to ask for help. And hey, given your apparent history of not appreciating what you have, I am SURE you would NEVER take any help you might get from family, friends or (gulp), the government for granted, right?

Never.

I’m also sure you are NOT the one misusing the bathroom.

TOTALLY sure.

 

 

 

What happened to Ebay?

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I am going to sound like such an old fuss bucket, but, remember when Ebay was..well..EBAY?! When it was FUN? When it was EASY? When it was…well..CHEAP?! When Ebay first launched it was the Internets very own garage sale site. Just folks in their pajamas like me, cleaning out their closets & garages to sell the inevitable accumulation of crap. Oh sure, some of it was not crap at all. There was good stuff out there! Lord knows I wouldn’t even own a pair of Uggs if not for Ebay! Wait, people consider Uggs as crap now, don’t they? Well, they were HOT! when I bought my pair which I do (yes!) still wear when it’s cold. (Shut up! It does TOO get cold here!)

The thing is, back then it was a great little site. No professionals. No “stores”. No “Buy It Now!” Not all those categories. And certainly it was easy as pie to list something yourself if you wanted to sell! In early 2006 I made my first foray into selling after finally deciding to thin out my purse pile. Some women are shoe whores, I’m a purse whore. And I had some very nice ones too. And I took care of them. I wiped them down with leather treatment whenever I was putting them away in their little sleeping bags after use. Kept them all warm and dry and snug in there. So they were in awesome condition and I remember each one sold for more than I had expected. I know I paid a percentage back to Ebay of course, but I also remember that listing the item was free – wasn’t it? Surely I was not limited to only one free photo?

Flash forward to yesterday when I’ve decided to clear out some more stuff. A few remaining purses & wallets that I haven’t used in over a year for sure and also venturing into selling some sports memorabilia, programs & maybe my record collection?

Well, one of the first things you notice when you sit down to do a little research into selling your item is that HOLY CRAP THERE”S A LOT OF STUFF OUT THERE!! Everyone on the planet is Ebay-ing now! No longer is it good enough to take a couple of pics of your item. No, you need to STAGE it to get it noticed. Those purses better be placed on a pure silk cloth with diamond encrusted lettering announcing it’s brand. The lighting better be model runway quality. I mean, these items need to be prepped like super stars for their photos! So at 10am yesterday I get started. Ninety minutes and dozens of photos AND several photo edits later and I think I am ready to load them into a listing. So I sign on to Ebay. Click on the Seller Tips section first to see if have a chance of getting my items seen in all the din. Ah – the Shipping tip section – excellent! I was wondering how much to charge for shipping.  Of course they recommend that I offer FREE shipping to attract buyers, but um..NO…I’m not a professional or a Power Seller and I need my $5 for shipping dammit! Then I see an option to order free shipping boxes from the USPS. OK, that will save time & money so I surf on over to their site and spend 20 minutes signing up and choosing the right sized boxes. Then I hop on over to Paypal to make sure that account is updated/connected to Ebay/USPS for printing shipping labels. Now it’s lunch time so I take a break to eat a sandwich and check out some more listings to get an idea on pricing.

Now it’s 1pm and I still haven’t listed anything! OK, get started. Sell My Item – YES! First, select a category. Five menus later and I think I’ve found one that fits, but I’m thinking it could fit in about three others. No problem according to the listing page. Just add a second category (for a small fee of course). Skip that. Moving on now to your headline description. Limited to 55 characters. You want a subtitle so you can write more? Sure! (for a small fee of course). Now choose the basics which are miraculously still free – brand, new/used, color, size, style. Awesome, now we are getting somewhere. OK, now load the photos. First one is free! Sure you can load more (for a small fee per photo of course). Want a larger version of your photo to pop up when someone views the listing? Sure (for a small fee of course). How about a listing theme? You know,because it the detailed listing needs a lovely border around it (for a small fee of course). Then you have a couple of more actually free items to fill in. What kind of visitor counter should be displayed (if any) and then your full listing description – which really can be quite long so that at least has not changed! Now it is on to pricing. What would you like your starting bid to be? It can be anything you like! (for a small fee of course). Yes, the starting bid costs you. Upon clicking on the detail there I learned why so many sellers have starting bids of .01-.99 even if the item they are selling is easily worth a ton more. I’d go on to explain more but the fee for insertion and pricing guide there is so complex that it made my head spin and I just picked a price and moved on! There are also fees for listing it with a Buy It Now option. Sigh. Now choose your preferred payment method and how much you are going to charge for shipping and whether or not you accept returns and how THOSE will be handled if you do. Then finally – FINALLY – you can hit submit….and you see that before anything has even happened to owe Ebay close to $5 before the dang thing has even sold (they are still going to take 9% once it does sell). Yeah, FREE SHIPPING my ass! At 4:45pm I hit submit on my last item of the day. SIX whole items.

Next time I’m just going to have an old fashioned garage sale.

Please! Stay HOME!

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‘Tis the season…yeah, for Christmas songs, lights & baking….but also for…ACHOO!! Winter flu and colds. Now, generally this time of year is about being TOGETHER. About SHARING and GIVING. But, um….not THAT PLEASE!

If you feel feverish and chills – STAY HOME! There is no amount of last minute anything that needs to be done that is worth getting OTHER people sick. Don’t shop. Don’t bake. And for the love of all that is Christmas Holy (or Holly), please do NOT go to school or work!!

Stay in bed. Watch TV. Sleep. Take Vitamin C. You have full permission to BE LAZY! Hoard. Be selfish. You, my friend, may keep those germs all to yourself, OK?

That’s MY spot

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Today started off crappy. And by crappy, I mean, really totally OK to all rational people.

I dropped off SB at school in plenty of time to miss the drop off line traffic.

I was happy because I had remembered in time that there was a breakfast special in the cafe that I wanted so I didn’t make breakfast at home.

And, I was pulling into the parking garage in plenty of time to get My Spot.

Only, that last part wasn’t true. Because that damn green Honda that I fight with every morning for My Spot had beat me there!

You see, like Sheldon on Big Bang Theory, I have a SPOT. Unlike Sheldon, it is not a space on a sofa.

Also unlike Shledon, I’ve not been able to successfully, officially claim it in any way so other employees would stay out of it. It’s an open parking garage with only two reserved spots and let’s just say that I am not even remotely important enough for one of those and never will be. So it’s otherwise all about timing. So my SPOT is a particular space in the parking garage. It is #66. You would think my spot would be my normally lucky #27, and I do like that one, but laziness has overcome number identification in this case. 66 is closer than 27 to the building entrance :-) Now, THAT makes sense right? Most of us have a natural tendency to look for the closest possible spot, right?

Well, then there is the *irrational* reason for liking this spot.

I work in a basement office area. One that is BELOW the parking garage. Yep, after parking my car, I go DOWN another floor. Ever since we moved here we’ve jokingly referred to it as the Cellar, the Subterranean Village, the Bomb Shelter etc etc. But we almost NEVER refer to it as the politically correct, OFFICIAL name – Lower Level. Yeah, no. It’s the basement. And, it kind of is like it’s own bomb or tornado shelter. Of course, those are not real threats here. Earthquakes ARE. And hey, in those you are supposed to take shelter under heavy objects, right? To prevent things from falling on your head? (I’m now getting to that irrational reason).

So….space #66…is right over my desk. You see, if I park my car there, I feel secure knowing that – should anything remarkably absurd happen and the building WERE to collapse on me…well…at least it would be my OWN CAR either protecting me, or..taking me out, right?

Yes, I know – irrational.

Still, I just get all perturbed when I see another car there as I pull around the corner in the morning. I have no real reason to be annoyed of course. That poor guy (I know the driver of the Honda & he’s a sweetheart) has no clue – he’s just taking the closest available spot when he pulls in with no idea how much that will irritate me. So of course I don’t hold a grudge against HIM. I just stare daggers at his CAR :-)

Thankfully though, my annoyance was easily dissipated. Did I mention the breakfast special?

 

Contradictions

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I like to think of myself as a positive thinking person. OK, that’s wrong. I happen to know that I AM a pretty first class Pollyanna most of the time. My glass is ALWAYS full. My first impressions of just about everyone/anything are good. I can make excuses with the best of them. Hell, in high school I went through this entirely ditsy Power of Positive Thinking phase when I wrote P.O.P.T on everything. And I mean EVERYTHING. My head was firmly IN the sand and I would not consider the negative side of anything for any reason. It was completely lame, but I own it. And it was a good exercise to go through because it sure did train my brain to lean more to the happy side of life during a time of typical teen angst. Later on when Real Life handed out a few rotten lemons, that blindly sunny way of thinking kept my head above water – it just got a little less blind along the way.

Underneath it all though, I’m a real judgmental, impatient witch! Oh yeah, I know it. I own that too :-) I’ve unleashed a few rants here to prove it. I can bitch about stupid people & things like no other. My expectations of the world and people around me are HIGH. Fail to meet them and I will take you DOWN. Hopefully not to your face, but I’ve messed up a few times there too. I kinda have no trouble with confrontation (Yeah, bad combo. Judgmental & assertive!). I let myself get frustrated at some of the most INANE things. And that just pisses me off more and….GAH!..what happened to POPT?!!

It really hit me the other day when I was in a grocery store parking lot with SportsBoy in the car with me which is a place that is just RIPE for irritation what with the pedestrians and carts and cars going the wrong way and cars STOPPING in the mother effing NO STOPPING lanes and…..oh…..Anyhoo, I was going down a lane and there was an SUV with open spots to its right and to its left. As I approached it I was going to pull into the spot on the right (passenger) side, but both doors were swung open blocking access, so I went on the other spot on the driver’s side and started to wing in when I saw that THAT back door was ALSO wide open though not quite blocking the spot as much. Still, I was mad and I said out loud as I eased more slowly into the spot “Geez lady, way to hog the parking lot! Yeah, that’s right kid, shut the door please so other people can park!” Whereupon SB said “Gosh mom, the kid’s only like four years old, give him a break!”

Ouch.

He was right of course. Did it really matter? Did I need to let myself get that annoyed over a parking spot?

Clearly I need to be more zen. More forgiving. More POPT with my slightly more rose colored glasses back on.

I also think I need to not let it out at the moment as frequently, but maybe write it out more here and also make myself counterbalance my rants with some nicer observations to re-train my brain.

Maybe Disses & Kisses? With perhaps a few more Disses at first because there seem to be a backlog of them. Particularly in parking lots……..

 

I haz a rant

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On the eve of a mid term election day, and despite my absolute passion for politics and the games surrounding it, I am absolutely DONE with people who MIX politics and games – specifically, the World Series.

Quit telling me who to root for in the Series based on political beliefs! Seriously – STOP IT!

You know why I love sports? Because I am a fan of that particular sport and a die hard fan of my local teams. I root for them no matter what. Fan being short for fanatic, I take that very seriously. Win or lose, I love My Padres & My Chargers and whatever team my son happens to be playing for at the time. It’s also quite shallow. No hidden meaning. No real life impact. Just good old FUN.

Do I care whether the owners of the team are conservative or liberal? Hell No! Do I care about the political leanings of the players on my teams? Hell No!

Sports is an ESCAPE from politics – not something to be blended with it. It’s supposed to be mindless and fun. You cheer & boo players and teams lustily to let off steam about all the other real life crap going on in your world.

So do I care about this Calif vs Texas (blue state vs red state) World Series? Hell no! All my liberal baseball fans are screaming that we have to root for San Fran because they somehow “represent”  liberals. WTF? NO – they represent the Giants & Giants fans and that’s IT! And as a diehard Padres fan – NO – I do NOT have to root for them thank you very much!  I am still absolutely allowed to be bitter about losing the division to them. I am absolutely allowed to be pissed at the recently developed assholish behavior of previously fun loving Giants fans. So yes, this proud Democrat, who already mailed in her straight ticket Democratic ballot for California, is rooting full scale for The Rangers. Yes, they are on the verge of losing most likely, but I don’t care. Yes, it would make the Worst President Ever happy if the Rangers pulled it out. I don’t care!!! I can separate those things.

Politics is not a 24/7 thing – it shouldn’t take over your entire life. You shouldn’t be looking for political statements or spin in everything everyone says or does.

It reminds me of the Adam Lambert fans who cannot seem to breathe without asking his permission. How sad is that? Don’t you know who YOU are without validation from him? Here’s one of my favorite (sarcasm) exchanges with an Adam fan – which has happened three times in the last year:

Fan: “Do you watch True Blood?”

Me: “No, I am not into vampire stories at all”

Fan: “Oh, but Adam LOVES it!”

Yeah – so? I’m supposed to change around all of my interests & passions to match Adam’s? Uh, NO. Also, boy did YOU miss his message to everyone about being happy IN YOUR OWN SKIN!  Yes, I love Adam and his music. No, I don’t love True Blood. Oh look, my world did not shatter at that statement!

I am balanced. I am nuanced.  I have a mind of my own & I use it. Try it.

Glee stars GQ photo shoot – eh?

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So apparently there is some raging debate going on about the photo shoot that three of the stars of Glee did for GQ

Bear in mind here, that the ladies are both 24 and the gent is 28. ADULTS here folks. ADULTS! Fully capable of choosing what they do.

According to this article though, The Parents Television Council has formally complained about the photo shoot. Beyond the fact that I almost never agree with any sort of Parents Council type group (you know where those sticks are, right?), I have another couple of points to add to the fact that those actors are, well, actors and also – ADULTS!

  1. Glee is a family show only if you consider it to be for middle schoolers and up. It’s not, and never has been and never was intended to be a G rated family show. It’s pretty much borderline on the PG rating some episodes (hello – Finn experiencing premature ejaculation in a hot tub and then believing that’s how Quinn got pregnant?!!) As the article I linked to indicates, the creator of the show has always been open about the adult content. So, as a parent, if you are allowing your kids to watch this show without being totally aware of what they will see/hear, then the problem lies with you – not these photos!
  2. Is GQ a family magazine??? Not the last time I checked! So please, Parents Television Council – please tell me why you are so concerned about little Billy or Betty seeing these photos? I mean, the raunchiest of them are INSIDE the magazine. The cover is tame by today’s standards. Unless mommy or daddy buys this magazine and then shows them to the kiddies, I just don’t see how THEY would even see it. So again – the responsibility here lies with….say it with me now – THE PARENTS!

I know, I sound harsh, but these sorts of things always make me laugh at the absurdity of it all. Seems to me people are being much to quick to get their hot pink panties in a wad :-)

Scoreboard baby!

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That title & image are what are known as teases – because no, I really don’t want to talk some smack.

Odd, huh?

I’ve been a big fan of Jim Rome for well over 15 years now. I love listening to smack talk between fans. It can be oh so creative & funny.

Yet, I hate participating in it.

I wrote once before the ’08 election about the parallels between being a passionate sports fan and being passionately into politics (yep, that’s me double dipping into both those territories) & how we should look at is as *rooting* for one team or another vs tearing down opponents.

Of course, it’s obvious that our political discourse is all about tearing opponents down, but I’ll ignore since this isn’t the site for such discussion anymore. This time I’m wondering how weird I am in regards to my sports passion.

You see, while I am passionate and knowledgeable about my sports, I am also not into smack talk. Anyone who follows me on twitter knows that I love my Padres & Chargers. You know that I tweet as they play and that I tweet about THEM, not their opponents. My most “In your face” comment is simply to add the #BeatLA hashtag when the Padres play the Dodgers.

I’m hyper competitive of course which means really hating to lose. I’ll get mildly depressed when that happens which is silly of course, but trust me, that 10 game losing streak the Padres threw down did NOT lighten my mood! But I was frustrated at THEM, not at the teams who beat them.

I was recently kind of taken aback though by fellow tweeters who had really rarely tweeted about their teams all year, yet took the opportunity while their teams were playing the Padres during the losing streak to smack talk at me. I know that I am most likely in the minority on this one, but I didn’t like it. That comes off as obnoxious to me. I know, I should probably lighten up. It’s too much for me to expect people to play by my rules of being positive only fans, but I haven’t figured out a way yet to now be irritated by it.

The thing is, I had a great conversation a friend yesterday. His son’s freshman team had pretty much wiped the field off with my son’s team Thursday night 48-0. But he didn’t smack talk at all. We dissected the game from our perspectives without tearing anyone down. We talked about the positives of how well both our son’s had played, how much talent is obviously on his team, how they could have won by 60 if not for some discipline issues & dumb penalties. We mostly agreed we were both thrilled there were no injuries (typical parental point of view), then wished each other good luck for the rest of the season. That was FUN. I enjoyed it even though it was my team on the way short end of the score.

I wonder though if that tendency to smack talk, to tear down opponents vs focusing on building your team UP, had any influence on a real life example of beating someone down this weekend during a varsity high school game. A player was already down, obviously not getting up, when an opponent trampled on him. It was away from the ball, so the player was not penalized and it seems like not that many people saw it happen. Certainly the coaches & officials didn’t, but the parents in the stands did. Even parents on the side of the offending, trampling player say they saw it. The player who was down has most likely has his football career (a promising one with colleges scouting him) ended and was possibly lucky his life was not ended as he suffered a third degree concussion & bleeding on the brain. Horrifying. But why did that kid think it was OK to trample on an already downed opponent?

Why is it that in order to elevate yourself, you need to tear someone else down? I may be viewed as overly sensitive, or not cut throat enough, or just plain old fashioned (how ironic is that?!), but I will never be THAT kind of fan.

What we have here..is a failure..to communicate!

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I’ve freely admitted my entire adult life that I am not a very ‘phone friendly’ person. I can’t explain it, it just is what it is, but I’ve never been comfortable talking on the phone. Yet I do have a compulsion towards returning calls. If you called me about something – and left a message – be it at work or personal – I *always* call back and rather promptly too. I may not initiate conversation all that easily, but I will always respond.

Still, you can imagine how thrilled I was when alternate, non verbal ways of communication were created. Email? Love it!  Phones that get emails?! Even more awesome! Text messages? Probably the best form of communication ever! Twitter? Facebook? Fantastic as alternate, not immediate forms of keeping groups of people updated on things. I jumped in with both feet and have dragged as many people in with me as could! It’s even easier to keep my rule of always responding. It’s probably the one thing I kind of “dictate” to my staff at work: ALWAYS return calls & emails promptly. Even if you don’t have the answer at your fingertips – send a quick reply message to acknowledge the request and let them know when you can get back to them with the answer. The person who contact you needs to KNOW they have been heard. It’s just too ridiculously east not to!

So then WHY this month have I encountered a higher than usual run of people not responding? At work, there are still a handful of people and even one entire department who are hit & miss. It’s so discouraging! I listened to complaints from a few folks who hadn’t been helped in other areas and ended up doing my best to get them an answer, shaking my head each time because it was always something quick & easy. A friend went through a really long, drawn out interview process for a new job including taking tests & references from 10 years back being called….only to now have heard NOTHING for almost two weeks. Three weeks ago I contacted someone via email – no reply. I followed up via text last weekend, and still have not heard directly back from her. I heard through the grapevine that the messages got through after frankly worrying about whether she was even OK or not!

With all the ways we have to keep connected, or to help someone out, or keep things working smoothly in a business – how in the heck can we still have people failing to communicate?

Happy %$#^&*(@ Birthday already!!

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Are you on Facebook? Well, then, you get the title of this post don’t you? Whether you have 50, or 500 friends, you will get it. Because, for some reason, birthdays happen in clusters. On my friends list, it’s summer. July & August are a veritable birthday feast. Every damn day I sign in and see the dreaded Birthday Reminders. It’s never just one. For two solid months it is 2 or more every day.

You look through the list of names and click on them and start in:

First one: “I hope you have a fantastic birthday filled with love & laughs!”

Second one: “I hope all your birthday dreams come true!”

Third one: “Have a great birthday!”

Fourth – 100th: “Happy Birthday!”

Ok, that last line is not true. After four, be honest – do you even leave a message? Or do you start with the bargaining when you see a day with a long list? Lemme see, her her & him, I *have* to leave a message. Him? Eh – he wont care. Her? Hell, she has over 1000 friends anyway – she wont even notice! Him? Aw crap, I’m going to see him later today and how weird is it NOT to leave a message when I’m going to see him?

Yeah. Don’t want to be caught making THAT Social Media etiquette mistake!!

So you dutifully fire off little messages through gritted teeth because you don’t want to seem rude.

And yet…

If not FOR Facebook would you even know when everyone’s birthday is? Think back 10 years ago…I’ll wait, I know it’s hard. Try not to get distracted by a tweet as you flash back….

How many of your friend’s/co-workers/heck, even family members birthdays did you KNOW? How many were in your little black book or important dates to remember calendar? 10? 20?  50 tops? Did it matter if you were not telling people Happy Birthday? Heck no!

But now? You check Facebook to see what your friends are up to. Check for any newly loaded incriminating photos or videos…er…cute..I meant cute, not incriminating (why would I say that? :-)) and you are guilted into writing out birthday wishes on wall after wall.

And just when you think you are DONE! There is NO WAY this can possibly matter worth a damn to people, well, your birthday rolls around.

And there they are. Wall post after wall post wishing you a Happy Birthday or some variation thereof. And as you read each one they make you smile & make you think of that person & why you know them and perhaps some fun memory you share. And then there you are at the end of the day posting the obligatory “Thanks all for the birthday wishes!” response. Only it isn’t really obligatory. It is, in fact, very sincere because you *have* enjoyed every single one.

And so when you sign in the next day and see those Birthday reminders you heave a sigh and click into each page and leave a message with perhaps somewhat less tightly gritted teeth.

Still, when you are in the midst of a birthday wave as I have been this summer, you cannot help but break into a grin when you see this lovely image in the top right corner of your home page staring at you when you sign in:

NOT A SINGLE BIRTHDAY REMINDER!!! WOOT! Now that’s cause for celebration :-)