Category Archives: marriage

Take each day as it comes

Isn’t it the worst when you tell your friend you have good news and they get really excited like its going to be THE good news? The news that everyone is hoping for you to have, the news you have been looking forward to for 20 something years, the news she is hoping you have has already lit up her face with joy for you and she holds her breath in anticipation. Now you get to reassure her that while it’s not THAT news its still good. Josh’s sperm count has grown by 4 million, and those lil buggers are swimming faster than the last two times he tested.  The category that is the most difficult to improve in is morphology, which evaluates if some of them are morphing in to werewolves in the moonlight or are they all regular hardworking un-morphed classic sperm. There was a 140% improvement in this number (curtsy & bow) so we popped some champagne because our guys are average looking and mostly fast swimming.

We had made this plan that if we didn’t get pregnant on our own this month we would make plans to try our first IUI (intra uterine insemination) but this news has made us think again about that plan. Now that we have more champions should we forego the intervention and stick to the DIY method? Ive got a lot of voices in my head trying to guide me. I can hear the voice of fear telling me that I’m getting older everyday and we don’t even know if IUI will work so we should start trying everything we can while we still can. The Christian voice asks “can I really prompt the beginning of life by hiring someone to sort our sperm and place them in an ideal place to meet an egg?”  The hippie side says go natural take more supplements see the acupuncturist regularly it will happen when it’s supposed to happen.  The mother in me says “where are my children”, and “do they know how much I want to meet them, how I hope they are kind and generous and smart and able to be honest and vulnerable with those they love; do they know I pray for their spouses and for the leaders of the world they will live in, for their health and inner peace as they face life’s struggles?”

I had hoped that by writing out all my inner voices I would see a clear answer rise to the top but they all have valid points.

And now its time for a reading break, here’s a song.

My friend recently told me that when she got engaged in her 30’s she was first happy then sad, real sad to be leaving behind her friends who were still single. She described it as survivors guilt, “why me, why not them too”. They were all in this little life boat together encouraging and affirming each other in their singleness and quest for contentment with this stage of life, now she’s in a married boat with her new favorite person and they are happy for her (probably). I was asking myself if I would feel that way when we finally do get pregnant. I don’t have a boat of people who wish they could have babies, I have people who love me and think they understand my struggle and I would be lost without these souls. Infertility is a boat only Josh and I are floating in. Its lonesome, the water is constantly rocking us to and fro and we have to go to work everyday and contribute to society and to our friends and families lives. As my fantastic Stepmom would say we have to act like something, and some days I feel like I can while others I want to step out of my own narrative for a while and watch as a substitute me acts like something.  Should I join a support group so I have a boat to leave when I become a survivor? I would like to say that the man in my boat is exceedingly generous and so available to me. There is no comparison for the selfless way he joins me in this struggle, how he cries when I cry, and passes a hanky sometimes, and lets me roll my eyes at our friends accidental babies even though that is detestable behavior.

I do not feel courageous or brave I feel like I am getting out of bed and showing up for myself and not very well sometimes. It is against my nature to be inauthentic I only know how to wear my heart on my sleeve (people put that thing inside their chests?) plus I think I’m looking for any other tiny dinghies that might be out to sea surviving this kind of storm. I hope that by saying something I create a little light for them, that gives them hope when hope feels foolish.  It’s a familiar absurdity to grow a person inside you, or to take on the task of turning a baby person in to a full size human that acts like something. Raising a teenager is a terrifying feat, and as we all know but constantly forget adorable babies turn into teenagers and hate us for a while. I have contributed to the parenting of many babies and toddlers and even teenagers, I know what nonsense lies before me. I know that it will challenge and stretch me in ways I did not know existed, that parenting will refine my marriage and my career like a fire that burns away impurities. What’s funny to me is that I know all that and the steadfast desire to have my own story remains unswervingly the course I choose.

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I had coffee with a dear friend recently, she became a parent this month. She reminded me who I am, and how I was made, is not something to apologize for. I kindled this fire as a small tiny woman long ago. I have been naming my kids since I heard that was the custom for parents to name their kids. Today as I try to choose between intervention and not intervention this fire feels like a wildfire that is threatening to make me evacuate my home. You know what it actually is, the fire that heats my home and I will not be afraid of it.  I will lean in closer and be warmed by the dream of my babies in my arms. This requires courage, but I think I have a really heroic partner in my boat and between us we can muster the strength necessary.

 

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Cause the weeds are high where the corn don’t grow

I’m feeling really judgy as I overhear the brunch chatter this fine Thursday morning. The complaints are all 1st world problems that have really easy solutions, and the pains these women express are so shallow. Stuff like how hard it is to fit a run in when you have kids to feed, and how many times a day they miss a photo op of their kids being cute because they left their phone in the kitchen. Why can’t I tune them out and enjoy reading the book I’ve packed, the book about shame and vulnerability and our culture.  I start journaling to see if I can glean some kind of lesson from my irritation, and find that I’m going to have to ask my bestie for insight so I text her. Do I think my pain is more validated than theirs, are my complaints any less 1st world than theirs? It comes down to this: they are moms. Since they have the one thing I want most they can’t complain at all.  The guy who grumbles about a work trip to Hawaii in February, the person who gardens in the valley and says its so hard to keep things from overgrowing, the person who loves to fish but has so much chinook salmon they can’t eat it fast enough. See you are irritated now too aren’t you?

We think we would happily trade problems with people who have something we want. I have an response to every whine a mother makes: None of your clothes fit because you haven’t lost the baby weight yet? Trade you my size for yours if I could have great kids like you have. You never have time for yourself? All I have is time with myself. There’s snot on your shirt and crackers ground into your backseat? I can and do wear white often and it looks clean at the end of the day.  Your teenager is ungrateful and disrespectful? Yeah good luck with that.

There comes a point where you have to humanize the villain in this story, after all being a mom is the job I want. I have my things I’m sensitive to and careful about in social settings, my soapboxes,flippant talk of suicide, chemicals in food, being a parent are a few of my things. I made up some stories about who these brunch mama’s. Once I got creative giving them really hard lives that they couldn’t discuss at brunch I was suddenly compassionate of these strangers. I talked with Josh about it for a while and he helped me guess what their things might be, maybe one has a mom who was a world class athlete and she lost her foot in a tragic plane crash so now this woman wants to run to fulfill her mother’s dream, maybe one had a house fire when she was 10 and all the cute pictures her family took were incinerated so now she wants to do what her parents couldn’t and have zillions of photos backed up on the cloud for her kids to cherish. Yeah I gave them a lot of credit, I hear what your saying that its not realistic. But now I want to cheer for them and hope they can  reach their goals, so it was a good mental exercise.

They couldn’t have known that within earshot was a person struggling with infertility. We need to learn to be more sensitive to the invisible pain around us, at least willing to admit that the world is filled with people who are in the fight of their life. I need to be slower to judge people as shallow or vapid, and gently teach what wisdom I have extracted from the 36 years I have been on planet earth. So much goodness can be drawn from being teachable too, knowing that there is much to learn. I do grow weary though, do you sometimes want to quit being soft and strong and teachable? Hard times are real and there’s dusty fields wherever you go. (Yes, I have been listening to Waylon Jennings )

I’m tired of writing and being raw with you all, seeing you at the grocery store hearing you kindly say “I read your blog, how are things going?” It’s hard to be known and seen, it’s hard to report that we aren’t pregnant yet. I’ve been eating beans and corn and hash browns sometimes, I’ve gone days without taking my vitamins, I did yoga only 2 times this summer, and I am hardly interested in reporting data on my fertility tracking app. I’m choosing to have a little more grace with the journey and be less unyielding with my expectations of when and how. We have looked into IUI which is the less invasive way of “helping” to get pregnant (its what you do before IVF) and its not covered by insurance.  I’m told that the IUI procedure is likely to increase our chances of pregnancy by 20%. We may have to go through a few cycles of it and that’s not in the budget right now. The simple joy of eating corn is likely to increase my chances by 20% too right? Corn is in the budget so we are going to back off from the strict paleo way and be mostly healthy with some corn. Here’s to hoping that joy is as valuable a health tool as discipline.

 

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mexican street corn from Spork, my favorite!

 

Like a band of gypsies we go down the highway

When its raining, but only kind of spitting, and the wipers make that awful sound on the windshield I can’t stand it. A rain sensing windshield is my dream, because I am unreasonably mad at the over wiping of the wipers. How about if the rains just stop coming now? C’mon May flowers!! Speaking of May we found a new place to call home and most of our belongings are there now. When should we start sleeping there? We treasure every “last” here on Delaware Ave. We drank Manhattans as we sat on lawn chairs in our empty living room and looked around at our echoing space remembering all the good times here. I don’t know why I’m so emotional about this move, the memories come with us wherever we go. By the time I was 15 I had moved probably 15 times or more, we then moved into the first not apartment we had lived in. At that time we made our mom promise that we could stay still in that house until we finished high school. I’m super adaptable and good at moving, I like the change of scenery and the opportunity to pare down the items you possess.

The Lafayette house is twice the square footage we live in now, it has a dish washing machine and garburater and a garage. In a lot of ways we are really moving up into a better place, even the landlord is super cool and has allowed us make some changes to the place to suit our style. Win after win, but I’m so sad to see our itty bitty blue house go. I think I pictured bringing our babies home to this house, and the babies are nothing but a twinkle in our eyes at this point. Its a reminder that the thing I want most in this life is outside my control, and hasn’t happened yet.

Josh worked like a hoss in March and April and he lost more than 25 pounds Which I wrote about here. We hope this means his fertility numbers are improving, we hope that some babies will find their way from the twinkle in our eyes to the 3rd room in our new house. We already set up room number two for our annual hosting of an intern this summer. We have so much to look forward to in this space, so many meals with friends, and dance parties outside, and such a great view of the fireworks. I’m real thankful, just incredibly grateful that we found somewhere when we needed to.20170430_185646

I will not wax philosophical about putting my belongings into a boxes and transporting them across town, I know how my readers hate philosophy talk. (this is a joke…obviously) The Prius is packed full of the kind of things that don’t make it into boxes, and it is strange to think of all my stuff and how little is has to do with who I actually am. In my trunk:  I have a bag of tutus and a fedora and my kitchen aid mixer a pair of pants that is passed furtively among 3 friends and some oranges and onions. I don’t normally feel defined by the things I own but moving makes you really consider what you possess. I moved no less than 6 vases of dried lavender! What?!? Who am I? OH yeah, I’m Katharine raised by an often single mom in lots of different places taught to say what you mean and that if people don’t like you that’s not your problem.  Well for the next 2 years I shall be Kate of Lafayette, and hopefully future blog posts will not be written from the bathroom. (The bathroom is the only grounded outlet in the house my laptop won’t plug in elsewhere) Eyes still twinkling.

Last Man Standing

“Rest your head on your mat, open your eyes, see the mat.” I see it. I has tiny circles separated by capital letter I’s and inside the circles are little squares. My eyes get blurry like I’m looking at a magic eye picture from the 90’s, but i don’t see a hidden picture of a dolphin appearing. This is of no consequence to anything. At the end of class he says “open your eyes, meet the eyes of the people sharing your practice today, see each of them” I prefer seeing people to seeing my mat. They have eyes and expressions and they sweat with me here today. Baptiste Power Yoga is hard, and I feel like I am building something when I’ve finished. Daily yoga is my Lenten commitment. I cry every day because they say “happy baby” which is a pose you do towards the end while lying down, and the hot tears drip into my ears. I’m not totally sure why I chose this for Lent. I know that I didn’t want to give up anything since my diet is already paleo and very restricted, and I feel like I have a lot of loss in the balance of my life. So adding something felt like a safe choice, turns out an hour a day commitment is still a sacrifice. Shrugs.

Fun update: we went to the naturopath on Friday morning for our most recent fertility results. These results have to do with my dear sweet grooms body not mine, and so I asked him yesterday if its okay for me to write about. “This is our journey, Kate, not mine. Be as transparent as you need to”. Our culture has taught us that one’s manhood is tied to his performance and sperm count, I challenge that to say this guy’s manhood is tied to his response when asked to be vulnerable with his numbers. Together we have done so much work to improve our fertility, and now we embark on a new leg of the journey towards being parents. ( I doubt anyone really watches my song links, but I literally listen to this song everyday. it is the title of this post. Last Man Standing )

In November I wrote about the odds being stacked against us for natural conception, here are the details of that, and the fantastical new plan to beat the odds. The swimmers need to be at least 60% quick and zooming, we’re at about 30%; We need at least 20 million of them and we only have 16 million, lastly only half of our guys are normal the other half have two heads and coiled tails and stuff like that. Upon receiving this news (on his 37th birthday) he had his game face on and was ready for the next step, our ND calmly asked “how hardcore do you want to be.”  “Very” was my champions answer. She explained oxidative stress like this (3 minute animation)  and told us that  carrying some extra weight is the main cause of his oxidative stress. Well he has been hitting the gym an hour or more a day, 5-6 days a week since November and while he has lost some weight he needs something more dramatic to jump-start his metabolism.

 

Drum roll please….

Enter the HCG diet. Daily injections of this cool hormone will cause him to burn fat cells as energy, and somehow survive on 500 calories a day. Don’t worry guys its only for 3 weeks and then he can resume normal (is paleo diet normal now) eating. Did I almost pass out at the office when I heard about this, and saw the price tag, and comprehended the commitment level? You bet your buttons I almost did. So I’m in the waiting room looking at the patterns in the carpet and sipping water and being told to breathe, and my bad-ass groom is getting the instructions to take injections at home and how to count calories and scheduling weekly followups with our ND.  My head is spinning. Sally you will be proud of how Dr.Science this post is, the rest of you might be rating this post high on the EW! scale.

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Here’s us on our wedding day

I honestly don’t even know what to expect in the next 3 weeks, but did I know what to expect the last 3 weeks? NO one could have known that we would be sad and mourning the loss of a perfect little baby in our family, and it felt like I couldn’t breathe at some moments. Today I showed up though, and I might show up again tomorrow. Its a daily thing. We wake up grateful and put one foot in front of the other, we look each other in the face and try to see one another. So far that’s what I’ve learned from yoga-show up and see. We do not know what will happen in the hours and minutes we spend on this earth, sometimes its awful and unbearable and we feel crushed. The man I have married is so clearly the best partner for me in this journey. He is grounded and focused and kind and compassionate and also really tough. We are sharing our story so that you can see into us, and can lament and rejoice with us at the appropriate times. If you have experiences with this diet or infertility or grieving lets talk about those things and learn from one another.

 

 

 

 

 

 

We’ve got a million miles ahead of us

You bet I’m listening to Justin Beiber <I used to believe we were burnin on the edge of somethin beautiful> I still believe that Justin! <Don’t fall asleep at the wheel, we’ve got a million miles ahead of us> Okay, I won’t! Also watching Tim Burton’s Alice In wonderland. The flowers are so mean to Alice, am I right?  “She’s not even wearing the right dress” they gossip about her as she passes by. Then Absolem says “You are not hardly Alice” everyone is against her! I have loved the story of Alice in Wonderland since I was a small girl, I think it’s all the other worldness. It’s certainly not the rabbit that makes me love the story, rabbits are all together  untrustworthy. At least the Hatter believes in her from the start; she has some friends, some help in her journey.

I have felt so incredibly loved by many of you kind humans. You have gingerly and tenderly asked if you can ask the state of things in my womb. Your nice, all of you so nice; not at all like the gossiping flowers. Yes you can ask, and I promise to tell everyone everywhere when we have succeeded in our dream to have a baby. In the meantime we are plugging along trying to stay paleo and stay active and healthy, taking our vitamins and such. I’m focusing on gratitude and staying positive.

This time last year we were preparing for 3 days in the hospital. I was making cookies for the nurses and visitors, and getting my Christmas all in order, and making plans to lay low and recover for 6 weeks (an eternity). I will spend next week baking and gathering with friends, working on choreography to teach in December, and going to yoga. I love to look at the passing of time, don’t you? We get further from the things that were painful, yet new potentially painful things are on the horizon. It gives hope though to look back and see how you have used time.

“Sometimes I have believed as many as 6 impossible things before breakfast” Alice says this to cheer herself into doing something impossible. Here’s why movies are so great, 90 minutes in she is much more muchier and she’s absolutely Alice. She isn’t confident that she knows who she is or what she was brought here to do, but she’s got a hunch and a few fans. We have some news that the odds for natural conception are stacked against us a little bit, but we aren’t giving up. Thank you all for cheering us on, and believing in our dreams with us. Seriously, when this kid gets here you are all invited to party like its 1999 with us. (I hear that party=naps to pregnant people so be ready for napping fun times) Till then, pop the champagne we have so much to be grateful for. Would you comment telling me why your grateful? (even if its your nice new baby, I promise to be grateful with you instead of being envious) I’m grateful that I’m not about to get operated on. Your turn.

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Such a lame excuse to say I’m tired, everyone is tired more or less

I make these little deals with myself, where accomplishing a strange task gives me some kind of bragging rights…with myself. Do you do that? I went to Costco for eggs and butter last week, I didn’t get a cart because if I can carry it all I won’t go over budget. So I’m in line with 4 dozen eggs, 2 lbs butter, 3 lbs of almonds, and a big jug of maple syrup. The fellow in line behind me offered me the extra space in his cart because I was balancing  all of this in my arms, I proudly declined stating that this was my workout. I walked out of there with my head held high, and my bicep quivering under the load.

I went to horse camp this weekend for a ladies retreat. I prepared myself to be out of my comfort zone since I’m not a “Horse Person” at all. The horse part was so wonderful, what fascinating creatures. My face hurt from all the smiling.  I went on a trail ride, and then had a lesson in the arena, and then another trail ride; I got to comb out the mane of a giant draft horse who I think really liked me.  I did not adequately prepare myself to interact with 50 or so women who are all moms. When I say moms I mean the majority of the women had 4-6 children and a few moms I met had 8 children and were pregnant. If you were not a mom at this retreat you were a teenager or you were me.

I came home with a very full heart. I felt both encouraged and discouraged. I felt that I had been given everything I needed, but also a very aware of the great big child shaped hole in my life. I lay awake in my bunk at night coiffing my inner monologue and speaking truth to myself. Its good for me to wrestle with these things, pressure makes diamonds right? Of course I want to be a sparkly diamond of a person, not a hard lump of coal. Truthfully I feel more aligned with the coal version of myself. I’m not proud of jealously and discontent in my heart, it doesn’t look good on anyone. However I’m going to be honest and acknowledge my less flattering thoughts because I want to heal them and change them. I don’t want to pretend I don’t feel sad.

I had a … procedure today. If you have had an HSG you can hug me next time you see me. If you haven’t I’ll spare you the details lets just say there’s a catheter and x-ray visible dye, as my friend Samantha would say “its not friendly”. It was my second time having the procedure so I was familiar with how it goes down, which did not make it more “friendly”. Anyways:Guts! The results were not what I would call super exciting, but the powers that be say its better than bad news.  My dear sweet groom was there for what should have been an hour, and turned into 3 hours. We were both late to work, and a little shaken up from the whole ordeal.

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Waiting room selfie

When I was waiting for it to be my turn to get married (which wasn’t till I was 32) I whined secretly to myself about all the good wedding ideas being used up. She walked down the aisle to my favorite song, those were totally my colors, I was going to wear basically the same dress, that venue was spot on with my Pinterest. Same sob story now with babies. As it turns out I got the best wedding I could have dreamed, best song-best dress-best colors-best venue-BEST GROOM. I wouldn’t change a thing, right down to the eleven week engagement. So why wouldn’t my baby story be just as deluxe?!?

I don’t promise to swear off fruitless acts of bravery and bragging rights to myself. I was once in the delivery room with a person who insisted on having a natural and silent birth. Why? There is no gold medal, no ten foot check, no news story to cover your amazing feat. You get a baby, same as anyone in the delivery room. I can’t decide if the unnecessary self sacrificing is worth anything, or if its just meaningless martyrdom. Maybe the small things we challenge ourselves to do (that go unnoticed) prepare us for the difficult things our story requires us to rise to. Maybe they wear us out so that we can’t elevate our actions to meet life’s asks of us. What do you think?

I do promise (not to you, but to myself) to be more aware of the nonsensical stories I pretend God is writing for me, and to call them out as such. I’ll re-read the incident log as having been written by someone who thinks I’m worthy. Shading the story I read (of my life) as a page turner with a victorious win at exactly the point it seems like defeat is lurking. I’ll try to say YES a little more, try not to isolate my experiences but share them with my community. Pay attention to the details that matter, will you join me?

If you listen to this…I’ll love you forever.

Stephen Kellogg: Lonely In Columbus (This Blog’s title at 1:18)

(side note, I could listen to this whole album on repeat for years on end)

 

Thank God for red wine, & an antique kitchen light

These last 15 months I have tried to be transparent with my story to you all, it has not been my intention to expose anyone. This is my story, you will have your own. In the last five years I have been in the proximity of and witness to something like 7 divorces. I have things I want to say about this. If you are one of those people, I am not trying to out you, or express disappointment in you, or tell anyone that you are a failure.  (or any other crappy kind of thing) If you are reading this I love you. I love the cuss out of you. (yep, you)

Stop reading & Listen to this poem, post title is at 2:15

I want to solve it. I want to solve them all. Is that just human? I want to learn and be vigilant and fireproof. Sometimes it seems to be a communication problem: one hurts the other-the other doesn’t say anything-the first keeps on as per status quo-the other holds it against them for years and eventually gives up. Sometimes this is followed by another person entering the picture promising to fulfill those needs, they don’t. Everyone is flawed and eventually hurts you. Sometimes there’s addiction. That is hard. Sometimes they just don’t want to do the work, they’re just tired and want to give up. Sometimes it makes no sense at all, we just can’t put our finger on it.

All of the times its painful. For the couple, for the kids, for everyone who invested in their marriage. Its even painful for everyone who only kind of knew them.  It’s also very ‘expensive, I’m talking a lot of dollars. I have a friend who says “pay now, or pay later” when it comes to the expense of counseling. I’m the child of a divorced family so I could write and write about what it feels like to have split up parents, and I can tell you about lots of counseling. We learn and grow from these painful experiences, they don’t have to own us or define us. There is no escaping the shaping that divorce will do to a person.

I’m mad about divorce. Furious. It’s not like people walk down the aisle to say “love you till it’s too hard” we all promise ” I’ll love you no matter what”.  I cry when I learn that someone who’s marriage I’m part of is divorcing. Yeah I said that I was part of their marriage. You know why? That is the point of community. We are vulnerable and invest in one another and share the burden of our needs. Divorce is breaking community, and it feels a little like finding out someone you love has died.

I guess what I’m trying to say, dear reader, is that you are invited to be part of my marriage. I revoke my “right” to privacy. I think privacy is one of the things destroying our culture. Maybe if we could be vulnerable with each other we would be able to heal our hurts, and expose our shame for what it is: a feeling that paralyzes us from changing. BUT shame cannot survive empathy.  Let’s be compassionate, because we all fall short of the perfect marriage, the perfect kid, the perfect job, the perfect life.

I have just over 1000 days of marriage under my belt. I can not profess to know anything really. I don’t know why my friends marriages failed. I pick them apart in my spare time, and I can’t come up with the answers. I try to learn from others mistakes but it’s not always clear what the lesson is. If you have a lesson for me TEACH ME. I want to learn, and I want my marriage to survive. Am I on to something? I never know.

I started this post with a disclaimer about not wanting to expose anyone.So Here, I’ll expose myself just in case you are feeling raw and alone. We are still not pregnant (I know you wanted to ask but didn’t want to be nosy). When I hear of yet another person in my community conceiving a baby I go straight to self-pity, and I cry. Its awful, I ask myself “Who even are you? Be happy for them”. I don’t like going to baby showers, and I’m all ugly about cute maternity clothes, and I have darkness in my heart about my dreams taking their sweet time.

There. I’m broken and flawed and I’m working on it. See, we’re all in this together. I can’t do it without you. Lets get our hands dirty and try to sort through some things, life and marriage and family are grubby hands work.20160814_162946

These thoughts don’t seem as conclusive as I thought they were when I sat down to write. The point of writing is not always to solve, for me its to process. Here I am in process, it’s not tidy folks. You know what? I’m not going to apologize. We are all in process, we are all trying to figure it out. Join me will you, in lament of broken marriages everywhere, and in research of how to make love last through *literally* the best and worst of times. (If you didn’t listen to that poem at the beginning when I asked you to, just do it now)