Hits home

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Washington County reported its first three cases of COVID-19. More are expected in the coming weeks, as at least one of the cases was a public servant for the city.

No one to talk to, all by myself.
No one to walk with, but I’m happy on the shelf.

Not doing much, just hanging tight, except for this.


Sliding by

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Mister gator, he’s a-glidin’ down the bayou.
Mister buzzard, he’s a-slidin’ through the air.
Mister turtle, he’s a-hittin’ the highway.
I ain’t goin’ nowhere.

Townes van Zandt

iOS 13.4 is downloading. Gives a whole new meaning to “mouse pad”. It says, “About 2 hours remaining.” *sigh*

Ooops, spoke too soon, it paused and couldn’t be resumed. Then it rejected the partial download. Back to square one. I think I’ll wait.

Been playing music a fair bit. I think new strings would be a good thing to do, lots of time to break in a new set.

Forecast is for 90°F, currently it is 84°F. Good day for a soak.

Brats and risotto are the base; broiled, bacon wrapped, beef tenderloin steak (last one) later today. (Plenty of rib eyes and prime sirloin available.)

The long beginning

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Still no confirmed COVID-19 cases in the county, but the Brazos Co. count is now 10. It’s just a matter of time. I’m hanging in already, making as few store trips as possible. I’m taking my precautions seriously.

A little antsy, not big, but I do sense a change. People are scared, introverted, fretting, uncertain. Traffic is a lot lighter. People are having to adapt primally when they don’t want to.

The cool spell is giving way, the rain breaking up. It could be the last time I wear the poncho until autumn. Been fighting off something for the last couple of rainy days, a lot of little things. Could be the dose change, pollen, my back strain, digestion, anxiety, any number of things and combos. Kind of a charm bracelet of tiny symptoms. No fever. Been sleeping a lot.

One thing I have to my advantage is experience in sitting still. As long as I have electricity, internet, and plumbing, I can sit it out. It’s easy. I have plenty of projects to tackle.

Same ol’ same ol’. One serving of dressing left, soup is gone, with the cheddar. Risotto is next. Plenty of alternatives to cooking available.

No jam

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The jam was called off. Restaurants close their in-house dining tonight at midnight. Texas is finally catching up with the rest of the nation. Four confirmed cases in Brazos County.

So I am hanging close to the vest. I took a quick drive yesterday to look at wildflowers and see which businesses were operating. It looked like a normal day, everything open. The traffic was less abundant, but still there.

Raining as the sun rises. A front is cooling things off for the weekend. It will rebound fully by Monday.

To jam or not to jam…

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I am debating whether to play in the Thursday jam session one last time, or play it safe and bow out now. Spending lots of time researching stats, maps, news, and opinions. The nearby case in Brazos County that my doctor used as a measuring stick for dropping out has finally happened. But the county says the risk there remains low. Judgement includes knowing that the stats lag behind reality. I guess much depends on what I see tomorrow at the smokehouse. It may not even be open.

Spring Fling is still on, but I doubt it will be in two weeks. Momentum is increasing with the spread of COVID-19. I think we’ll be too deep into it by then for the risk to be worth it.

I am well stocked for being holed up. I finally got the chicken dressing and baked potato soup cooked. Neither will go to waste. The freezer has ample goodies, and the fridge is not empty. Cupboards are fully stocked. I can be talked into being lazy. Maybe one more store run for munchies, Pringles Goldfish, Reese’s Pieces, cookies, the decadent stuff that disappears too quickly.

I have my meds, though I’ll probably need another lisinopril script in a month. I’ve gone to 30mg, and it’s a 30 day as a trial. I’ve got at least 60 days of everything else. And I have over two months of the lisinopril 20mg left, so I could do a month of 40mg without a purchase.

Ready for when the tide breaks, stock, attitude, and distractions.

Back to back

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My back went out on me yesterday, possibly the result of the diverted fall from the porch. It flared after I woke and sat in the office chair for a couple of hours. It was a swelling that pressed the vertebrae into the nerve trunk. At the rate it’s receding, I would venture to say that there is no disc damage.

I made a store run today, and I was able to transverse the store on my feet, though I did lean on the cart from time to time. It has gone from struggle to get to the bathroom to doing prep in the kitchen this afternoon. So it is a short lived issue.

I have diced the chicken and pork loin. So I’m set to start cooking when the urge hits me, the stuffing right away, the baked potato soup requires the potatoes to be cooked and peeled. I could hold up for well over a month if the need arises. I am well stocked. I’m working on some of the cornbread that’s not going into the stuffing, so my appetite lacks an urgency.

COVID-19 is spreading faster in terms of confirmation, and testing is still not up to snuff. Every state except West Virginia is reporting cases now. It is approaching critical mass, though the risk for Washington County remains low. I am keeping an eye on it, as that could change at any time.

I have plenty to keep me entertained in lockdown. Several points in my life have prepared me well for enduring isolation. I could manage it, as long as I have internet. I have already set up a series of major movie collections to watch. Nothing stopping me from taking a drive to see the flowers.

Got a coconut cream pie today. I let myself indulge on an impulse. But I need to kill off the strawberry puree first.

428 years ago

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Pie in the Sky

3.14 1592 / π Day – 428 years ago.

Freitag dreizehnte

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Friday the 13th. derrr…

First thing, Myka plunged through the office window screen as if it weren’t there. She stayed outside for about three hours. Fortunately, she decided to come inside before the horde was released. I got to sleep before sunrise without climbing a ladder.

The windows are now shut, because I can’t trust Myka not to shred the screens. The back door, which is reinforced with hardware cloth, is the only open portal. I’ll be running the fans until it’s AC time. Myka got her dose of AdvantageMulti, which she did not appreciate. She is on kibbles until midnight.


And I almost fell from the porch while taking the trash to the curb for pickup. I caught my balance, but not until I jammed the three outer toes of my right foot. Yeow. As much as I like them, sliders have their downside.

Vince has moved to publishing often on Facebook. I have no material for the blog. I’m not going to worry about it until he does. I let him know again. I discovered that Eric Taylor passed away earlier this week.

Sinking anxiety

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I made two store runs today, and each time out of curiosity, I went to look for disinfecting wipes, hand sanitizing wipes, isopropyl alcohol, and similar items. None were to be found, except a spray bottle of Clorox cleanser, and it was in the back of the bottom shelf at the end of the aisle.

The canned meat and vegetable shelves were starkly vacant. The dried beans were wiped out. Same with paper towels and toilet paper. There was no ground beef or chicken. 90% of the shopping carts were full. People are in bunker mentality.

I see a lot of bravado online, but the stores say otherwise. People are suddenly spooked. They want to be able to hole up when it hits the fans. I have plenty of food.

I contacted my primary, asked for an opinion about the risk factor of playing music in public. He said not to be overly concerned until a case shows up within 40 miles of home. To me, the greatest risk here is infected tourists coming to see the wildflowers. Gas stations, obvious eateries, tourist traps.

So I have been shopping for things that others aren’t considering, like popsicle sticks for punching key pads on debit card readers. Wet wipes for the truck to augment the 91% isopropyl. The things missing now will get restocked. I’m in good shape.

I went out and looked at the wildflowers today, a good start, some impressive fields, but not peaking yet. It will get better.

Return of the Geckos

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Myka saw her first gecko of the season this evening. It didn’t hang long enough for her to taunt it, being early in the season. They have yet to learn/relearn that they are protected by the glass. But it came back briefly, showing only its head and foreleg, for Myka to get a close look.

I had hoped to get the truck inspected yesterday, but alas, it rained lightly most of the afternoon. Today or tomorrow is still in the optimum window, so not a big worry.

Fridge is getting thin, but the freezer still is solid, though not quite as jammed. I need to do a thaw.

Got my Amazon order yesterday. Silicone pot and pan strainers (clip on), foot scrubber for the bath tub, and a sock horn. A definite product testing batch, but the reviews were good enough for the price.

Feeling a touch of the pollen as I adapt, a spring ritual.

Myka is starting to shed her winter coat. I had to blow the dust kitties out of the optic mice sensors to make them work correctly.

Truck has been inspected and registered. Errands have been run. Nothing left but getting the trash to the curb.

Did I sleep that long?

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No. Today is DST conversion day.

Bottomed out

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It has been a day of web server angst. Everything related to fringewood.com went down: site, ftp, email, account pages, everything except the DNS. A chat with the provider brought everything back. Well, except a couple of things that were already a problem.

Several weeks ago, I noticed a comment on one of the photos in the Bottomland gallery needed a one letter edit to be proper. I went to log in as admin and it wouldn’t allow me in, said my password was invalid. So, to verify that, I went to the cPanel for database access and clicked on phpMyAdmin. It would’t let me in. This was an issue of the recent migration of servers when Lunarpages sold out to HostPappa. I went back online and chatted with tech support a second time and got that fixed.

I finally get into the database and determined which user name was admin, so I tried that and it failed. So there was some sort of database failure, which I couldn’t check because the password was encoded. I couldn’t retrieve the password via email, because the admin email no longer exists, having been on bottomlandblooms.com. In the process of attempting the rescue, I ended up being banned. Unable to log in, I can’t remove the ban without causing further damage (ftp, database, etc).

I have come to the decision to just pull the gallery. Looking at metrics for the gallery, I have to go back to July of 2017 to find when the gallery drew 500k of bandwidth in a month, and the majority of monthly bandwidths were under 100k. Much of that was mine. So I’ve taken it out of the loop (site navigation), and I’m downloading a copy. (Biggest chunk is the error log, in excess of 1.6G.) As soon as that finishes, the gallery will be uninstalled. Then the folder will be deleted. That will be followed by the removal of the databases and db users.

It’s a gray, cool day, high around 62°F. Appropriate for the demise of the gallery. Farewell to the flowers. (I still have copies of everything I shot at Bottomland on the hard drives.) I might add a section to the other gallery for a select few.


Never mind, I fixed it. I even updated the email address so that this doesn’t happen again. Thank goodness I had backed up the gallery in the cPanel. After the restoration, I was able to upgrade to current version, then hack the restored database. Once inside the admin section, I was able to alter email and other items. I even made the one letter edit.


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My brain is jammed in neutral. Sitting and simply staring at the digital screens is a fun thing to do for hours at a time. Not interacting, just staring. There is full knowledge that today is trash pickup, the towels are dry from washing, etc. But sitting and staring seems a sufficient activity for this morning.

It was a fun jam, nothing spectacular, but fun. The Egee got passed around, which was interesting. I took toys and used them. My voice was weak in spots, but not fatally so. We had a good time. It was another 4 hour jam. It wore me out. Had a chili cheese burger.

I wore my pads a bit, a little on the sore side. Enough for a coconut oil treatment. I’d rather sit and stare at the screen than play the Egee. At least it’s unpacked.

Anyway, next jam will be same sun time, different clock time. This weekend is the switch to DST. Good news is nothing is pending for those weeks except truck inspection and registration.

Pocket Feedback

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March has swept in spring. I saw a black capped chickadee today, much to the consternation of the local wren. I saw my first patch of bluebonnets of the year this morning. The camellias across the street are rioting. Red buds are popping, as are the cherry laurels. The windows are open after dark. Bare sleeves. Aaaaahhh.

Being the first of the month, with plenty to spare for the month, I bought a portable bluetooth speaker. I listened to a few in the store and settled on one that was not the cheapest, but not overkill. It gives the newer laptop a new audio option and opens it to new uses. It can be used with the iPad in the truck while on the road or out in a field with no electricity. And if I plug the Egee into the preamp and from there via cable to the speaker, kick in the driver with the foot switch, I can get that little little package to wail feedback like a banshee. Pocket feedback. Trouble on the hoof.

A pair of bacon wrapped tenderloin steaks.

Working to kill off the jambalaya, and broiled a couple bacon wrapped beef tenderloin steaks. I was a little worried about the time they’ve been frozen, but not a hint of burn. I plan on eating a few of these in the weeks to come. One of the two remaining tubs of strawberries came out of the freezer. BB time.

Blood pressure is improving. It took a while for the ARBs to wear off and allow my body to normalize. But the pattern is a decline in the intensity on both sides. Still not quite on target, but no longer extremes. More energy too. So I’m hopeful.

It’s spring. The truck is clean, bills paid (except internet, and no reason to hurry there), windows are open, birds are singing, trees are popping out, good food in the fridge. What’s not to like?


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The windows are open in the first day of a long string of open window days. Aaaaahh. Hello March, hello spring.

Got paid this morning, $3 under cap, still need to pay the internet bill, which was posted today. No hurry, I have two weeks and change.

I might go rinse down the truck today, get the winter grunge off of it. Or I might just wash the windows today, of which I’m most of the way through, and wait for a warmer day to spray water, like Sunday or Monday. Windshield and ‘tween glass is what is left to do on the windows, and they are squeegee work. All the rag work is done.

Nice to have nothing pending for a week. At least at this point. Free time and agreeable weather inspire.

Okay, truck glass is clean. Ready for the self-wash. But not today. Then again, maybe today.

Yes, the truck got washed today.


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Paid the insurance bill in person today. That $235 drop in premiums definitely helps, though it would have been nice to know sooner, to avoid the song and dance of adjusting the bank account accordingly. 34 hours to pay the internet bill to get under cap. Even as a leap February, the missing days mess up the payment schedule.

Jambalaya to be made in the next hour or so, as soon as the shrimp and bay scallops thaw. Every entre’ in the fridge has been consumed, no more leftovers. Going to thaw a beef tenderloin steak too.

Not a whole lot else happening. Blood pressure rose back to where it was before the switch. It may be a fluke, maybe not. I need to message the doctor and see about the next adjustment, after I give things a bit more time to be sure of the trend. In the meantime, nothing foolish.

Weather is cool and blustery. Tonight a mild freeze is forecast, but after that, spring, windows open every day, blossoms popping out everywhere. I am ready to put the sleeves away for the summer.

Having a slow day, other than the jaunt to the insurance office. I may make a store run this evening if the internet bill doesn’t show online, grab three things and get out cash to cover the cap so I can forget about it.


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Blood pressure is showing some improvement, emphasis on “some”. Not enough. But still, some in the right direction. An indicator is better than nothing. It is a flood of angiotensin II in my bloodstream. Hey, I’m still alive.

Had the windows open today for a few hours. It was nice. A string in the long range forecast, starting on Feb 29th, shows at least 11 days in a row with highs in the 70s. YEAH!!!!! But a very light freeze on Thursday morning before that happens.

Ate up all the leftovers. Going through chili-dog adventures at the moment. Jambalaya coming up. Dishes washed, ice bin full, floor moped, on top of the kitchen. Garbage in the morning.

Got my insurance bill and ID slips in the mail. It’s not online yet, but it’s something that I can pay on the spot in the office. I will make cap, one way or another.

Sitting the horde this weekend, Friday through Sunday. Two beddings and two feedings.

Filling my days as usual. Wrote an essay on SAA. Movies, news, games, puzzles, email. Taking it easy, monitoring the transition.

Poked and played

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Got my blood test results back. Glucose was a little on the high side, everything else was on target. Lungs, heart, kidneys, liver, etc, all good. Minerals, blood composition, cholesterol, et al, on the money.

Switched from valsartan to lisinopril. Not an instant check on blood pressure, but I wasn’t expecting it on the first dose. A few more days should have my system with the proper levels. So far, a considerable drop in the average, moving in the right direction. So I am hopeful that it is the right solution.

The jam on Thursday was fun. It started out being just me as leader, mainly due to the messy weather. After 90 minutes, the rest of the musicians showed up and took over for me. I was between medication, to avoid a conflict with valsartan and lisinopril, and I played it safe. It was as fun listening as it was playing. It was an in between show, not like the first or second jam extremes, but there in between where I had been expecting it to be. Everyone there was present for the second jam, so it was familiar. The jam lasted a couple of hours past the usual time.

I got word that my truck insurance was being shifted from state level underwriters to preferred national level, which means that I save $235 twice annually ($470 a year). Not fussing, but it did change my budget plans to stay under cap for the bank account. I’m $3 from cap, if I get the insurance and internet paid by the 27th. I may need to go visit the store fronts if the bills don’t show online in time. February was a frugal month, though there was no suffering for it. March will be easy, thanks to planning ahead and adjusting to windfalls.

Made cheese risotto, broccoli/rice with white cheddar sauce, and tuna mac. The milk was used up. The broccoli rice is the only survivor and going fast. Chicken, pork tenderloin, bay scallop, and shrimp jambalaya is next. Split pea and steak coming up, and eggs ackley tacos are finally scheduled.

I have the next couple of weeks off, except paying bills in person, if needed. Next few days will be warm enough to open windows, but not any warmer than threshold. I’ll take what I can get.

Bloody Valentine

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I had blood drawn at the lab at the hospital on Valentine’s Day. The nurse was very good, got the vein on the first try without pain. The pain was the fasting for 12 hours prior. I also got the occult hemo sample turned in.

But I’m on this side on the asperity, eating and drinking again. Spaghetti is the main course, about halfway through. Had a loaded baked potato before the fast to grease the digestion. I hope that didn’t flare the cholesterol and triglycerides on the blood test.

Blood pressure has still been hounding me, though at times it dips for a while, giving me hope that it will subside soon. I’m on valsartan 160 mg every 12 hours now.

Was not a day of roses and candy… I did see an off-white plastic flower bloom at the entrance to the hospital. That’s about as close as I got.

I’m hanging loose, waiting to open the windows on Sunday.


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My elevated blood pressure is resisting medication. Not the first time that I’ve seen it happen. “No matter what you put in me, I’m doing what I want.” It usually settles down after an unnerving period. Unfortunately, the doctor is in on this one now.

Rainy and cool. The rain should end today, in a few hours, but it will stay on the cool side until the weekend. It’s not as nice as the weekend was, windows open, mild nights. Some 30s due before that comes back around.

Got the spaghetti sauce made. Haven’t cooked any pasta yet. I have a couple of things that need cooking. Made a baked potato w/ pork loin last night. I discovered a new smoked boudin which I enjoy very much. I got seven packs while it was on sale. (The first one vanished.) Also got more ground chuck. So much for spare room in the freezer. Had a half pound gouda bacon burger on Monday.

Not a whole lot else going on. BP has muted a lot of activity.


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The second jam session at Pioneer was the opposite of the first. I had a rough count of 17 musicians, and I knew seven of them. Lynn McDaniels was there, I haven’t seen her in years. It was hard to find a spot in the circle and hard to find a spot on the floor for guitar cases. There was no end to the talent. It was quite a spectacle.

I only performed six leads, which I welcomed. I got several rounds of ovations from the full house. I even had the manager tap me on the shoulder and tell me how much she enjoyed my playing.

Afterwards, eight of us continued the playing next door. It ended up being quite a night. I was ready for it to end. I burned a lot of energy, and it took several hours to wind down.

I skipped out on the ophthalmologist appointment on Tuesday. I just wasn’t up to driving to College Station and back with dilated eyes. And my vision has been constant. So the cancelation was not something that I regretted. It gave me a chance to relax. But I still need to get a blood test and see the nurse next week.

I have the weekend off. I’m looking forward to it. Sunday should be warm enough to open the windows.


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The palindromic super bowl probably won’t be remembered as the one where guys wore baggy pants during halftime. It was the first one I actually watched in at least a decade.

Thawing out a second pork loin segment. The first one went entirely for secondary purposes. Myka is not complaining.

Windows were open from 10 am to 6 pm today. Myka wore herself out watching the outdoors. I have been doing chores as they arise, but I haven’t gone looking for them.

I am not concerned that today was a slow one.

Leap month

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February 2020, a 29 day month. Sproing!

Been through another cheap big avocado atop eggs, pork loin, gold potato, and cheddar. Haven’t eaten a meal since. The hambone was a little off when I boiled it for split pea stock, so I trashed it. The split pea soup will be rescheduled. I have a rib eye ready for the broiler, and the thawed pork loin too, much to Myka’s delight. I may end up thawing another so I can make tacos.

Shifting into insurance payment month mode. 6 month bill posted at the end of the month. Keeping bank activity at a bare minimum after being paid. I am well stocked and poised for it.

Three more days off. Weather will be good starting tomorrow and through Tuesday (College Station, ophthalmologist appointment). Windows open for two days.

Doctor’s appointment went well, physical was good, except for blood pressure, but that was attributed to being in panic mode when the truck wouldn’t start. I read the bottom line on the eye exam, which stunned the nurse who later poked me with flu and pneumonia vaccines. I wasn’t expecting them. Doctor was hard sell and I gave in. I didn’t fast, using breakfast at 3 am to get to sleep so I wouldn’t sleep through a second appointment. I need to get a blood test in the near future.

I’m taking it easy until Tuesday’s turnaround. Two or three doctor visits (counting labs), plus a jam on a cold Thursday night. Charging my batteries for a busy week.

Crastination Pro

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Saturday night found me next door playing music for Glenn and Beckey. A midnight email beckoned me, and I played over an hour solo.

Haven’t progressed in the kitchen. I want to make a bigger dent in the chicken first. I did make a ham, egg, and cheddar sandwich. That may end up delaying the eggs ackley, as it used up more of the ham that was critical for the tacos. Now the question, ham, loin, or tenderloin for the tacos? The split pea may be made tomorrow.

Forecast calls for 70s and sunny today, but it’s 57°F and overcast at the airport, 62°F outside the window at 3:30 pm. So much for opening the windows today.

I’ve still been sleeping mornings, which is not good for the doctor’s appointment Wednesday.

We be chick’n ya, mon.

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Five chicken leg quarters were skinned, deboned, and diced yesterday. Today, they went into recipes. Not a bit of mass of “the big greasy” was spared. Half went into the cornbread dressing, half into a chicken/veggie/rice soup. Neither are expected to last very long.

The good news is that there are eight new recipe chicken quarters in the freezer. Tomorrow, I may make the split pea soup. I’m tempted to wait a day or two, to give me a chance to put a bigger dent in the chicken dishes in the fridge. The eggs ackley breakfast tacos will use the ham as well, but those are destined for the freezer, if I can make room for them. I might turn them out first.

Backed up the current state of the 2000 USB drive, as it was acting up, and there was over 150 (200?) new gigs to protect. That took a couple of days, but I’m good if 2000 fails, for the nonce, at least. I may need to get a powered hub.

Expecting 70s tomorrow, it made it to 68°F today. Not quite warm enough to open up the house. But tomorrow should be. It was nice outside today, but I didn’t get further than the mail box. The kitchen and office kept me busy.

I haven’t popped the top on the Blue Bell yet, but the poundcake has been front and center with the strawberry puree. That it won’t be long before they go on sale again has made me aware of how much I need to eat in the next couple of months. Life is so hard…