…Never Leave the Stream of Warm Impermanence – and So the Days Float Through My Eyes…

The year has gone so unbelievably fast that I can barely believe that Christmas is already over and we are screaming downhill towards New Years Eve! I will have to say that it was nice to have all the kids home – if even for a short amount of time. It still feels right when everyone is home – like all is right in the world. It just feels cozy and safe when they’re all nearby us. Matt worked up in Carmel for half the week then took a couple days off to come see us for Christmas. He is at that point now, where things are starting to change. Ann & I know that these changes are inevitable because Ann & I went through them as well…we were just hoping it would be another couple years. Change is good…or so they tell me. Me; I hate change, personally. Once Abby finished Finals Week at FC and spent a couple days with Won’t, she came home to stay for several weeks. She enjoyed seeing all her old friends who were also back from school for the holidays. She continued to work as well and plans to do so during January. After two days, Luke completed his first semester of his senior year and enjoyed being off the rest of the week. He worked and lifted weights, along with spending some quality family time with all of us this week. Ann continues to heal nicely and is getting around good – despite some lingering bleeding. She enjoyed seeing friends and family while she continued her leave from work this week. I had a very busy week at work as I wrapped up the year-end stuff. I did get in some exercise, despite the hectic schedule, but came up short of my walking goal by logging about eleven miles but did get in a round of frisbee golf, thanks to the unseasonably warm temps! …And got to do it with my kids to boot! Like Annie, I also enjoyed spending time with my friends and family and looked forward to a couple weeks off from work. Christmas is the time for our family to gather. Although it was different this year with a few of us missing, we still had a good time. While we were sad to see some traditions broken, we did enjoy starting a couple new ones at the same time… Hello again, and welcome to the latest issue of the Scheu Family Blog.

It was back to work and school for us on Monday morning. Abby didn’t stay home long. After returning Saturday night, she was up early and headed back to work that morning, heading all the way up to Greenwood, where she is still interning. Tonya threw up her check engine light last night so I wanted to check it out that morning before she left. I hooked up by Fixd tool and found that she had a misfire. So, I threw in some STP injector cleaner and sent her on her way before the sun came up. It was frigid that morning with temps in the low 20s and a hard frost on all the vehicles. There was a full moon and a lovely sky on my way into work. It was the last day of fall and you could tell that tomorrow will be the shortest day of the year. It finally started to get light when I got to work, but I had my headlights on the entire time and when I left, I turned on my headlights before I left the parking lot. When I got over to Columbus, I first ran by Ann’s office and dropped off a box of presents for her staff. On my way into work, I saw my first snowplow on the way into work as well as the first stranded car on the side of the road – in fact, I saw two of them. I had a fast morning at work and before I knew it, Justin & I were headed to the liquor store to get Jim a nice bottle of Glenlivet scotch and then grabbed lunch at Chick Fil-A. Due to COVID, they had closed their dining room. Later, Ann told me that wasn’t the only closure due to the virus – CRH also cancelled all out-patient procedures. They had previously cancelled all in-patient procedures the day after Ann had her work done last week. I picked up lunch for the guys for all their help as well as Trish, who held a 3rd shift fire drill for me. I did some video surveillance reviews as well as some finance stuff that afternoon and then went for a long walk. It was chilly and I probably would’ve gone to the mall if I had it to do over again. Still, it was nice enough that I wasn’t cold at all. I got in about three and a quarter miles that afternoon. I ran out to Bryan & Angie’s house when I got back to town. I returned the audio equipment that Bryan had loaned Sandy, late last week and talked briefly with Anjay before heading on home. Ann said she had a good day – she enjoyed being lazy and allowing her body to heal. Meanwhile, Luke had a busy day at school as he wraps up his first semester of his senior year. He then went to work at Hibbett’s. Later, he returned to the Y to workout for a while. Abs made it through work in Greenwood and drove down 65 to Seymour and then went on to Salem, where she spent the night to celebrate her friend’s 21st birthday party. We watched the first pair of episodes of 1883 on Paramount + and grabbed some more of Amy’s leftovers. Afterward, we watched the Boilers (still #3) face Incarnate Wood and easily beat them going away by 20 points. I fell asleep on the couch and wound up going on to bed… Here are pictures from Luke’s football awards banquet from a couple weekends ago.

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Tuesday morning was another cold one. Another hard frost meant that I had to let the Barneymobile warm up again to defrost. The roads were a little icy that morning and it was a little foggy too. I worked on my year-end hazard surveillance rounds off and on all day. Justin & I held an orientation class in the penthouse. I did the monthly generator test and also helped install a new water heater. Well, I helped lug the old one (a 100-gallon AO Smith) out, load it on the truck and pull the new one into the building. With four large men, we did quite well with it. DLI had us up and going before the end of business that day. I was busy from the moment I got to work until I walked out that night. Again, I had my headlights on during the commute to and from work. It was the Winter Solstice but it was actually warmer than yesterday with temps rising up near 50. I walked another 5K after work that afternoon and completed my walk just as the sun was setting on the facility. Meanwhile, Ann enjoyed a day out with Gigi. They did some shopping in Columbus that afternoon. Luke went to school, working out with teachers and then went to a boys’ basketball game that evening. Abby drove from Salem to Greenwood to work that day and then drove back down south to North Vernon for her annual eyebrow maintenance. Matt worked from home again that day for Cathy and then had wrestling practice at Z-West that evening. We took it easy that night, watching a few shows while Ann read and I edited pictures. Abby & I drank a bottle of our rhubarb wine from Mallow Run and I wound up falling asleep early and just went on to bed. I didn’t even see Luke that day, outside of waking him up for his last day of school that week. He wound up staying the night out at Oakley’s house.

With Abs home, Lola slept all night. I, on the other hand, had trouble again with congestion and couldn’t breathe well in my mask. I was up a couple times before it finally subsided and I slept for a few hours. The alarm seemed way too early that morning. I got Bu up with me so she could get ready for work. With Luke being gone all night, he didn’t get the trash & recycles out for the guys to pickup at the curb, so I did that as well as a load of towels so Annie didn’t have to carry them. I did a few other chores around the house before heading off to work. It was another chilly morning in the mid-twenties – brrr! It was another busy day. We gave Jim his present and he sent us a picture of him enjoying it. 😊 I spent most of my day finishing up my year-end EOC rounds and semi-annual HSRs. I was inside, outside, on the roof and in all the closets. I still need to write up all the work orders, but at least I got the inspections themselves done. The guys and I went out to lunch at Great Wall then walked next door to Best Buy to get Abby’s last Christmas gift before returning to wrap up my rounds. I walked another 5K after work on a nice afternoon. It was still cool, but once I got going it was perfect. I guess my cheeks and nose were stinging a bit and my legs were partially numb from wind burn – LOL. I stopped to get gas in the Barneymobile and picked up some lottery tickets. We were winners last week! Well, $4…but that still counts, right? Abby had fast day at work then met up with her buddies Mary & Julia, who were home from IU for Christmas. They went to El Rep for dinner then back to Molie’s house for the evening. Mary came home with Bu and spent the night with us. Luke came home earlier in the day to get cleaned-up and go to work. Afterwards, he went to Gma & Gigi’s house for a while then went to the Y to workout. He went to Columbus with his buddies for dinner and by the time he got home, he was ready to shower, snack and go on to his bedroom. With the kids going out for dinner, Ann & I felt left out, so we ordered Koch’s for dinner and had it delivered so we didn’t have to go out on another frigid night. We watched Oak Island and The Toys that Made America before flipping over to binge-watch a few episodes of You on Netflix. Afterward, we switched over to HBO to watch the Colts on Hard Knocks before finally calling it a night. We heard from Matt that evening. His plans include him coming down tomorrow night to join me for Poker Night and spend the night at home. Taylor will join him on Christmas Eve for our big get-together at Mom & Sandy’s house. However, he will not stay that night but instead go back up to Carmel and spend Christmas with her family. Although we’re obviously disappointed, we totally understand. We knew this day would come…we were just hoping it wouldn’t be for another couple years. It won’t be the same without him, that’s for sure. I got to thinking…it’ll be our first Christmas morning without him since 1995… Here are random pictures from our recent adventures.

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Abby & I were up early again for work on Thursday morning. It sure feels like Christmas right now. It was another morning of pretty skies and temps in the 20s. Luke and Ann enjoyed sleeping in…well, at least Ann tried – but Lola was incessantly barking shortly after Bu & I left the house. Needless to say, she spent the rest of the morning outdoors… Ann spent the day wrapping the rest of the Christmas presents. Wow…we will have a few new things this year. First, no Matt on Christmas and now no staying up until 2 or 3 am to wrap presents on Christmas Eve! I had a fast day at work, tying up loose ends all morning and writing up work orders for different departments, following my annual rounds this week. In the early afternoon, Justin, Vic and I went to Big Woods in Edinburgh for lunch. We had pulled pork nachos, smoked chicken wings and a pizza along with two rounds of beers (love that Six Foot Strawberry Blonde!) and a sipper called the Sweet Mash Smash (with the Hard Truth rye). We spent a couple hours, talking and hanging out. Our other Justin friend joined us for a little while later on. We stopped by Mann’s Harley-Davidson afterward and then said goodbye to the guys. I picked up some groceries at Kroger before heading home. I dropped stuff off and went to Needlers for more stuff. Ann helped me make our Italian sandwich for Poker Night. Luke worked at Hibbett’s then picked up a ton of stuff for Ann to make Xmas goodies like cookies and Chex Mix. Abby worked all day then stopped at Meijer for yet more stuff! When she got home, the girls started in with their annual bake-a-thon. Matt came home that night and went with me to the Sunken Boat Bar for card night. We had a good crowd that evening – we had eight players: Bryan, Rick (just back from his vacation), Mark, Shawn, Bob, Scott (who allowed his son to play for him) and eventually Matt also came over. First, he went to play some euchre at Gma & Gigi’s house. They visited for a while then he came over to hang out with me the rest of the night. He did pretty good, only losing a buck. I lost my buy-in but had a great time doing it. I even got to beat Matt in a hand at one point, which is really cool – LOL! It was a typical night for us – a good football game, plenty of good food, lots of stories and laughs and copious amounts of libations. The girls were done baking by the time we got home. Matt & I were going to have a fire on the back porch and enjoy a cigar, but I fell asleep and so we all just went on to bed… We have tons of social media pictures to share this week.

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I was up early again on Christmas Eve. Sinus congestion interfered with my c-pap again, so I got up and watched the new Matrix movie on HBO Max. Delilah slept with Matt, which she loved and Lola slept with Abby. The dogs were appeased. Luke stayed the night at Oakley’s house again and came back that morning to go out to eat – something we’ve done together on this day each year for over a decade now. Normally, we would eat early and then go to the K of C’s to help distribute food & toys for Cheer Fund. However, since we missed it last week and it was a modified drive-thru event – we decided to sleep in and then go out to Newpoint to eat at the Midtown Diner. Matt & I followed Luke, since he was just there a few days ago and we had never been to it. We wound up out in the middle of the county and had to turn around. He blamed it on his GPS…whatever, Luke. We did get to see a side of Newpoint we’ve not ever seen before. We finally got there…only to find it was closed! Luke had failed to phone first! So we came back to town and went out to Frisch’s Big Boy. They didn’t have the breakfast buffet bar, but we still had plenty of good food! We came home and the girls were making a huge amount of Chex Mix! Taylor drove down from Carmel to join us for holiday stuff. We started watching more Christmas movies that afternoon, including A Christmas Story, Home Alone and the live action Grinch with Jim Carrey & Taylor Momsen. Matt, Abby & I broke out a bottle I was saving for Christmas morning, but since the older kids won’t be here, we cracked it open that afternoon. It is a cookie dough whiskey called Dough Ball. It was really good on the rocks. We put a hurtin’ on it throughout the day and had another couple that night. Victor & Michelle came down and swapped growlers with us (he had inadvertently taken my strawberry blonde and left me his peanut butter beer). I assured him that he didn’t need to make a special trip just to swap out, but still – there he was (those two are such great people). They couldn’t stay long, so after he left we did Christmas with Matt & Taylor. I think they liked all their stuff. Later, after a failed attempt at a communal nap and a delivery from Amazon (love that Prime), we decided to get up and get the blood flowing. I had ordered a replacement frisbee (Abby lost both of hers in the pond over the summer) and when it came in, the kids and I went out to the park and walked a mile while playing a round of frisbee golf. The first couple holes were a challenge with a stiff head wind. After that, though, we did pretty well. We only had to dig Matt’s frisbee out of the rough a couple times. He was a little gun shy after throwing his very first tee shot backwards (yes, it actually went backwards in that wind), across the street – nearly picking off a passing car! 😊 I made some nice throws and nearly had three hole-in-ones! It was eerily comfortable out there that day with temps very un-Christmas-like in the upper 50s. Having not played in three weeks, I felt pretty good with the winning score of 23. Abby was next with a respectable 31. And Matt (last time we played he won!) brought up the rear with a 34. Taylor decided to just exercise with us and not play – afraid of throwing it in the pond. Matt had a really bad throw on 8. It was like one of my horrible ones on 7, where the release point was completely off. Unlike a couple of mine that ended up 30’ out in the pond, his went completely over the woods, across the railroad tracks and wound up (I shit you not) out by 46 – in the school administrative building’s parking lot! Wow! That has to be one of the worst throws in the history of the course! I tracked it down and just decided to walk around the woods and meet everyone at the #9 tee. 😊 We had a good time and felt much better afterwards. We came back, got cleaned-up, loaded up the vehicles and headed over to Grandma & Gigi’s house for our traditional Christmas Eve routine. Luke was already over there. He had gone into work after breakfast at Hibbett’s and then picked up Gma and they went to church (the non-denominational one, out 421). They said it was not what they expected and really enjoyed it – especially the part at the end when it started snowing (inside)! Keith, Rosie & Megan were able to make it home for the holiday. Gigi’s gourmet was open and Dee was helping her cook in the kitchen, allowing mom to sit and visit with Keith & Rosie. Grace and her friend came over after she got off work at CVS. We had a meatballs, sausage balls and homemade hot dog pizzas, along with a couple cheese balls and lots of homemade sweets. I wasn’t very hungry and only got a small plate because we had such a big breakfast and then had a piece of the Junior’s cheesecake that Dad & Lynn sent us. It is a place out of New York and we could easily tell why it is their favorite – yum! But it was so filling that even I wasn’t very hungry that night. After visiting for a while, we did our white elephant gift exchange. I stole Matt’s gift – a box of car stuff (an inside window cleaner, some charging cords and some Flex Seal). They all went along perfectly with the theme that year – “As Seen on TV.” Afterwards, we cleaned up in the dining room and moved to the living room, around the Christmas tree. Abby played Santa with Matt & Jamie as her helper elves. Luke helped me cut down all the stockings and hand them out as well. I got several new Hot Wheels, a nice pair of shoes and sweet new zip-up Purdue hoodie. We stayed and visited for a while before cleaning up all the wrapping paper. Matt & Luke helped me carry everything out to their trash cans. We easily filled both the trash and the recycle containers. I may have to go back over and stomp them down so the trash nazis don’t get on them about the lids being ajar and the cans overflowing (you’re not supposed to put more than what will fit with the lids down…and if you do, you get a nasty gram attached to it when you go to pull it in later!). Surely they’ll get a pass for Christmas, right? We loaded up all our new treasures, said our goodbyes and headed back to the house. Matt & Taylor were sad they had to leave. Matt was especially upset, but we reassured them that we completely understood that we had to share them. Ann & I went through the same exact thing a quarter century ago. I can vividly remember (OK, who am I kidding – I don’t vividly remember anything any longer) having to juggle several families when were just starting out. We reminisced with the kids how we would stay at Mom & Sandy’s too late and then have to make the trek up to Lafayette, where my poor parents had stayed up hours past their normal bedtimes to welcome us in. The weather was horrible a couple times, as we drove through snow and ice. One year, Mom had just got home when we rolled in about midnight because there had been a snow emergency that forced all the folks at DOT to have to come in – including her. We acknowledged that were also sad and going to miss having him (& T-bug) with us as we woke up to open presents on Christmas morning. As I said earlier, its been 25 years since we had a Matthew-less Christmas Day. It was the end of an era, which is always a sad thing. We talked about five minutes, out by the cars. It was strangely warm – even warmer than when we played frisbee golf earlier. We hugged and cried and laughed before saying our goodbyes. They made it safely back to the apartment, where they will sleep the night and head out early in the morning to her Mom’s place. We came back and Abby helped me wrap Ann’s presents with one last sipper. Afterwards, we got Matt on the phone and he joined us for our traditional stuff – so we technically kept that streak alive! I read the Night Before Christmas with Matt on the phone. We had our first glass-bottled Santa Cokes during the story. Afterward, we got Matt & Taylor on Facetime and the kids set out traditional milk & cookies (and cheese & a Santa Coke) for Santa before the kids headed on to bed. Ann & I watched another non-traditional Xmas movie that night – Gremlins! Well, we got through roughly a half hour and both fell asleep. We woke up with it still on but decided to go rest our brains for a long winter’s nap…

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I was up far earlier than I wanted to be on Christmas morning that Saturday. My body is so conditioned to be up by 6 am, that it is truly a struggle to stay longer. I had to pee and besides, my c-pap ran out of water during the night so it was really dry and had a hard time maintaining a seal. Plus, my medicine had worn off and my sinuses were starting to plug up again. So, I got up and did a couple things in the kitchen, doing a load of dishes and putting away all the wrapping paper and supplies. I put on a crackling Yule Log on Netflix and streamed some Blue Christmas on Amazon Music on my phone over my JBL bluetooth speaker and worked on the blog quietly with Delilah while everyone else slept in a couple hours. It was raining (and looked like it had been for a few hours) when I got up and continued all morning. But I have to say that it was actually really nice. It was in the sixties and I actually contemplated opening up the house for a while! We had to set some sort of record that day… Still, the one day all year where we want it to be chilly with ice and snow – and instead of a white Christmas, we got a brown and gray Xmas. That was the only disappointment (well that, and the realization that Matt was absent) of the day as otherwise it was another awesome Christmas. Once the kids and Ann got up, we divvied up the presents and went at it again! We opened presents and enjoyed some coffee with Frangelico. It was a nice way to start our day. Ann made some cinnamon rolls that paired beautifully with our coffees and we relaxed and played with our new toys. 😊 Abby & I had a Bloody Mary as we picked up the house, threw away trash and put our stuff away. Our favorite gifts: for Matt, it was an iced coffee maker, a mini keg maker and a Cowboys robe; Abby loved her new Nike shoes but is looking forward to spending her gift card at Denim & Honey; Luke was thrilled with new pair of shoes as well but is looking forward to using his new air fryer; Ann liked her perfume, but loves her new liquor cabinet; and I love my new Hey Dudes…sure, the two dozen new Hot Wheels are great, my new walking shoes are really awesome, but I think I’m most excited to try out the new automatic cheese grater tomorrow – LOL! Ann finished making her green bean casserole, brussels sprout casserole and rolls while the rest of us got cleaned-up and then we headed over to Gma & Gigi’s house for lunch. We had almost everyone there: Mom & Sandy; Keith, Rosie & Megan; Ann & I with Abs & Luke; Dee, Jamie & Grace (who came late and then had to leave early to work at CVS) as well as Amy & Grandpa Joe. We missed Matthew and called him earlier to say so. We also called Dad & Lynn, who are back up in New Jersey as well as Dad & Barb and Rob & Sharon (who went to Tennessee to see the kids). Man, what a feast we had this year! Hats off to Dee & Jamie for helping Mom & Sandy put this all together: ham, turkey, noodles, tadies, gravy, sweet potatoes, all of Ann’s stuff, Rosie’s corn casserole, homemade baked mac & cheese (that was amazing!), deviled eggs, sugar crème pie, lemon pie, tons of cookies and other goodies that I didn’t even get a chance to check out! We ate like kings. After getting everything cleaned-up and put away, Gigi held her annual BINGO game. The prizes this year were all scratch-off tickets, so everyone was happy. We said goodbye to everyone and came back to the house to nap…well, the kids napped while Ann & I watched Christmas movies – two of our favorites of all-time: It’s a Wonderful Life and Christmas Vacation. We switched off the movies and flipped over to watch the Colts game that night. One of the main reasons for their resurgence this year has been the play of their outstanding defense. Unfortunately, like several other clubs, they were hit hard this week by the COVID bug – none bigger than my favorite player, The Maniac – Darius Leonard. ☹ Still, they found a way to pull it off in the end and are looking like they might actually make the playoffs and join the Cowboys in the post-season! I struggled to stay awake in the 4th quarter and once the game was over, went on to bed. Luke got up from his long nap and went to the YMCA to go lift weights. It finally stopped raining after a cold front moved through and finally began to cool it back down. Obviously, we missed Matthew but we made the best of it and had a good day.

Some vacation…on a day where I could sleep in, I again struggled to breathe in my mask overnight due to sinus congestion and got up before the dogs. Delilah and I watched the new All Madden biography about Coach Madden that taped yesterday. I was really looking forward to it and it more than lived up to my expectations. Hard to believe it’s been 12 years since he called his last game. Only Tony Romo even comes close to how cool it was to hear Coach Madden call a game. I worked on the blog and watched the sunrise before the others finally got up. We warmed up cinnamon rolls from yesterday and finished those off while watching Fantasy Football Now and ensuring all our players were actually active for today’s games. …Stupid COVID… I eventually got around to doing the weekly household chores. About noon, we headed back over to Mom & Sandy’s house again. This time, we were celebrating Dee-Dee’s birthday. We enjoyed munching on leftovers from yesterday – man, there were a ton of them. I finally got my cold turkey sandwich! We sang a rousing version of HBD to her and had some cake and ice cream. After she opened presents, we started up a game of euchre with Jamie & I seeking revenge on Gigi & Abby. We had some good games, but in the end the boys beat the girls in 3 games. We said goodbye to Keith & Rosie, who are headed back to NY tomorrow and came home, in search of naps. However, I’m not sure any of us attained that goal. I checked in all my new Hot Wheels while Ann read the next book in the Outlander series while the kids retreated to their rooms and played video games. I watched RedZone and tracked my fantasy football team as I battled Matt in the semi-finals. Abby & Justin are playing in the other semi-final so this week’s winners will play next week for the championship! After we watched the Bears pull out an upset in the cold & snow, the Cowboys played on SNF. Luke and Oak went out to lift and then came back to pack up the dresser that he got that was too small. He will return it tomorrow and get the bigger one. He wound up staying the night at Oak’s house that night. I used the new cheese slicer that evening as Ann made spicy, cheesy Fireworks popcorn for dinner. It did not shred the same way that we were used to, but I thought it was still great and really hit the spot. We took it easy that evening, watching football and enjoying the fact that even before the game kicked off – Dallas had locked up the NFC East crown! I wasn’t sure if that knowledge would help or hinder the team that night… As it turned out, they came out fired-up against their archrivals and put it to them. All three aspects of the game was on it. The defense, especially, looked great with sacks, interceptions and even a TD! Dak was equally en fuego – going for over 300 yards and 4 TDs! Even Zeke looked great as the Cowboys were up 42-6 at the half! With it, I came roaring back in the fantasy game as well as I had Dallas’ QB and two receivers. In the 2nd half, the route was on! The special teams got a blocked punt and TD and before the end of the 3rd, the backups were in the game. That’s a smart move but I was hoping for more fantasy points at the same time! 😊 In the end, the Cowboys closed the week a game behind the Packers for the #1 seed in the playoffs, as their record now stands at 11-4. It was a great way to wrap up the week and a relaxing way to wind down the weekend…

OK; next up is our Waybac segment, which continues to feature pictures from 2006 as seen through the eye of Deanna’s digital camera. We lead off in March where we see the girls during a Chicago day trip; in May we see us hosting the annual Memorial Day party that we now miss having these days…; in July we have pix from the Decatur Co fair, Gracie’s birthday and the Tree City car show; in September, we see Gigi walking the dogs downtown and Keith’s birthday in NY; November shows the Thanxmas holiday gathering; and in December we see the Owens Christmas Eve party as well as the girls enjoying a spa day – good batch!

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Next up is our video segment, which includes one new home movie this week as well as several from around the internet.

And that does it for this week’s entry of the Scheu Family Blog. Thanks for keeping up with us this time out and we’ll catch up with you again next time. Until then, have a good one and stay safe out there. Merry Christmas to you and your family. We miss ya, Mom.
Later, Scheu

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