My Beautiful First Born…

My eyes were still puffy from crying all night as I made my way into the office that morning.  My officemate and best friend noticed immediately.  “I am guessing it didn’t go so well?”, she asked.  She was referring to the adoption agency meeting Tony and I had the night before.  And no, it had not gone well.  There were some additional barriers to adoption for us, additional barriers in an already incredibly daunting process.  The major one being that they did not think we had been together long enough to be “viable candidates.  Not at this time.  I wanted to start bawling all over again.  “I am telling you, let me be your surrogate.  I love being pregnant, and I do not want anymore kids.  I really want to do this”, she said.  She had offered this before and I had not dared to take her seriously, but all of the sudden I saw… possibility.

And so it began…

I had dreamed of being a parent since I was a child, I am not kidding I secretly played with dolls and used to dream about what it would be like to have a house full of kids.  When I came out at 15 my only regret was that I wouldn’t be able to have kids.  Gay parenting was NOT a thing in 1989.  As a young gay man I tucked the idea of fatherhood away in my fantasy world and learned to accept that this was not in the cards for me.

Until I met him and everything changed.  Falling in love with Tony, along with advances in societies perception about gay people in general, made everything seem possible.

Tony, M, and I naively entered into the journey of surrogacy.  There were some setbacks, long discussions, lawyers, doctors, lab technicians, and awkward moments in small “donation rooms” with “inspirational material” that might inspire most of their male patients, but was really more of a… distraction for us.

One morning M texted me and asked if she could drop off something her daughter had made for us at school.  As I met her at the security door to let her into the apartment building she thrust something at me. I absently took it as she exclaimed, “I’M PREGNANT!”  I cannot tell you what that moment was like.  And by that I mean there are literally no words to tell you how I felt, all of them fall short in describing the rush of emotions. We rushed up to tell Tony together and the 3 of us just cried.  Right there in my living room.  I don’t know how long we all just bawled and laughed and bawled some more, but I do know that for weeks I was impossibly cheerful and annoyingly happy.

M and I worked together, in fact we shared an office, and unlike a lot of surro parents I got to watch our baby grow.  I witnessed M get bigger and bigger.  I was able to dote on her as much as she would tolerate.  I was there to tell her every day how beautiful she was.  10 months seemed to simultaneously fly by and slow to an impossible crawl.  And then…

“Get ready.  I’m pretty sure I’m having her tonight.” I turned to Tony and fell into his arms.  He and I had spent the last few weeks on high alert.  I had completely scrubbed our entire apartment.  I mean COMPLETELY scrubbed.  Her clothes were all washed, folded, and put away.  Her furniture was waiting for her.  We were ready!  HA HA HA HA HA HA!

M did not have Z in a hospital.  She wanted to have her at a birth center and it was the most beautiful experience.  Z swam into the world in a calmly lit beautiful room surrounded by candles and quiet.  Well, except for the sobs that uncontrollably shook my body.  “There’s your baby!  That’s your baby!!” M exclaimed as the midwife placed this new human on her chest.  If I could have frozen that moment I would have gladly have stayed stuck there for eternity.  When I die my idea of heaven would be reliving the moment I feel in love with Tony and the birth of my kids on a continuous loop.  I can still the weight of her as the midwife placed here in my arms.  When I spoke to her she turned her head towards me.  She had heard my voice for 9 months and she knew me.  The moment that I had fantasized about my whole life, but never thought I would see was here… and it was real.  I couldn’t breathe.



I knew at that very moment that my career, my acceptance into graduate school, everything paled in comparison, and would take a back seat, to her.


Every dream I ever had about fatherhood failed to measure up to how amazing it was to be her Daddy, to share this incredible experience… this amazing journey with the love of my life.  I quit my job.  The idea of returning to work was too much.  I know that this is not a viable option, or not the right choice for everyone.  I get that.  Staying home is not for everyone.  After working so hard to get her though… I was unable to let her go, even temporarily.


Z started school this year, and I will tell you that I am still waiting for that relief parents talk about.  At this point I just miss her.  I know that sounds helicopter-y, and I own it.  I miss her.  I smile and excitedly send her off to school with a big hug and encouraging words every day, but it’s fake.  She is this force that cannot be contained and belongs to the world, but she is still my little baby.

Last night as we were reading her book she snuggled in and I kissed her head.  “Daddy?  you know how I love school?”, she asked.  I do.  I responded.  “Sometimes I wish you could just come with me.  Because I miss you and sometimes I get sad.”  I kissed her head, told her that I missed her too, and reminded her of all the fun she has.  I reminded her that I am never far… but inside made a mental note to look into homeschool.

I finally get what they say about these days moving too fast.  I wish that someone would just press pause for a few minutes.  And not only because I am running out of collagen, but because these… these are the good old days.


Calgon, take me away!!!

It was one of those days…. you know the kind of day I mean…. It was Saturday so everybody was home (yay), and the entire lot of them were needy as fuck. No joke my kids would walk past my husband standing at the refrigerator to come upstairs to ask me for juice. All morning…

“Daddy? Where is my spiderman?”

“Daddy? I can’t find my dress?”

“Honey? Where are my shoes?”

“Honey how does the T.V. turn on?”

I found myself furiously scrubbing the kitchen, hoping that slamming things around and grumbling under my breath would sufficiently encourage everyone to stay away. But noooooooo…..

T: Hey Baby? Could you stop what you’re doing and come in here? The kids and I need you for a second.


WHAT COULD YOU POSSIBLY NEED FROM ME NOOOOW?!? I mean I have wiped your butts, found your toys, laid out your clothes, Cleaned up after you, and FED YOU ALL. WHAT DO YOU NEED NOW?!? WHAT?!?

T: Blink blink…. well… the kids and I were thinking it had been a while since you had a Daddy hotel day and we all agreed that you work too hard, so we were going to see if you wanted to go tonight. But… I see now the error of my ways, and that you are busy soooo we won’t bother you with all….

M: (on phone) Yes. The biggest suite you have. I will need an early check in and late check out too. I will be there in 45 minutes so either have my room ready, or I will be waiting with you. At your counter. Asking questions. Until you get me in my room…

Guuuuuuurl you know I was out the door in 15 minutes. I didn’t even know what I had packed in my bag. It didn’t matter though, I had one chance to flee and I was taking it. I made the appropriate showing of kissing and hugging everyone, but the twirling and dancing in our front yard as I made my way to the car might have given away the fact that I wouldn’t be missing anyone.

After checking in and disinfecting all the surfaces, I laid out my bedding and pillows and settled in to binge on room service and crappy marathons on MTV.


Guuuurl, you know that I went to the hotel spa, I got a massage ,and I hung out in the hot tub. Until one of the other hotel guests tried to talk to me and I retreated to my room where I could avoid “other people”. For a whole day nobody touched me, sat on me, climbed on me, tugged at me or used my shirt to wipe their nose. It felt like the universe had finally realized it’s mistake and made me the princess I knew I was destined to be.

Sadly, all good things must end. Like any good Stockholm Syndrome survivor I voluntarily returned to my captors the next day.

When I pulled up all 3 kids were standing in front of our giant picture window waiting for me in their T-shirts and underwear… that I had put them in yesterday. Still my heart squeezed. I guess I had missed them. I also couldn’t wait to kiss my fine ass husband, so I rushed up the walk and threw open the door and was greeted by…

Kids Get Dirty At Annual Mud Day Festivities



“DADDY!!! We went to 4 parks! They were super muddy, but Papa let us jump in the puddles! We built forts out of the furniture and all the blankets!!! We had pizza and ice cream for dinner!”

Both of my daughters’ hair was twisted and tangled into one giant knot. My son buried his face into my neck, “Awww he missed me”, I thought to myself. Until I realized my neck was sticky and I smelled peanut butter. “Sorry Daddy, I couldn’t find a napkin”. I was still buzzing from the high so I overlooked all of it. I smiled up at my husband who was scowling. I noticed that he looked like he had been eaten alive and regurgitated.

“How do you do this every day? WHY, why do you do this every day? They… they… they just never stop NEEDING things. And the mess, sweet Jesus the mess. I would be dealing with one, and the other two would attack from the periphery. I just… I just need to lay down.”

After 24 hours he needs a nap.

But still… as I stripped the kids and shoved them into showers, picked up last night’s pizza and this morning’s… I dunno whatever that was, and washed ice cream out of the dogs fur, I realized I am living my dream life. I have a husband who is hot as hell and will send me to a hotel as a surprise. He lives for us. I have 3 kids who might drive me up the wall, but they also give the best hugs, say the funniest shit, and make the best macaroni art. And I have the best dog in the entire world. Maybe I don’t have a lot to bitch about after all.

JK. JK. JK. I am sure I can find something.

I was so busy trying to look like a good listener that I forgot to you know actually listen…

Does anyone else like to completely emotionally flog themselves by reading “Parenting articles”? I am not 100% sure why I like to start my day off in a panic over what household items are actually killing my kids, or by beating myself up over how I fail to measure up to these super moms who have time to clean their kids’ ears EVERY week, but it is one of my favorite forms of self abuse.

I recently read an article that said you should repeat 1 or 2 things that your kid tells you so that she feels like you are interested and listening. If you don’t there is a 100% chance that by puberty tbey will murder you in your sleep and post it on that Snapagram.

While I still believe my destiny includes rising to super star fame as an interweb sensation, It ain’t going down like that.

Now you may be looking down your judgey noses at me for having to be told to listen to my kids (Ugh. You probably never even dropped your baby either), but let me remind you that there are 3 of them. And they will tell me stories about places IIIIIII took them too. About things I witnessed. And when one tells me their version, the other 3 are bound to want to retell me the same story.

“And then the princess, but she’s not really a princess right? She’s just a pretend princess? And then the princess took my hand. This hand right here Daddy. And she…. no it was this hand because you were sitting next to this hand, so it had to be this hand…”

Right, I was there 30 seconds ago when it happened.

My son will talk about the formation of rocks for hours. Did you know that the largest volcano in our solar system is on Mars? Because I do. That’s a thing I have to know now. He likes to “quiz” me so I kind of have to pay attention to him, but up until now with the others I could get at least get away with listening to the tone of the drone, and then matching it with the appropriate responses.

But oh no, if I didn’t have enough “Mom guilt” about GMOs and … whatever hidden danger we are worrying about this week, now if I want to avoid their descent into the world of stripping and serial killers I have to listen to them too?!? When does it end? Parenting is so hard.

So I have been trying to take each of my kids into my room for snuggle/ chat sessions where they have 100% of my attention. No distractions. And as it turns out they seem like nice people. Yes, I still get lost in the drone of fart stories, booger jokes, and which Super Hero girl is the toughest, but you know what? I also found out that my daughter misses me when she is at preschool sometimes. I found out that my FIVE year old baby boy thinks he has a girlfriend (Hey, does anyone know if they even have all boys boarding Preschool?). And My oldest daughter doesn’t want any kids because “it seems like too much work”.

My kids are ridiculously cute, smart, and hilarious… and still I get so caught up in schedules, chores, appearances, etc. that I forget that none of that matters. I forget how much I love hearing my son laugh about his imaginary booger picking monster friend who only speaks in farts. I forget that my favorite sound in the world is W’s baby girl voice, or that Z is gone for MOST of the day and is having experiences and exposures that are opening up her world. I could miss all of that if I don’t put the fucking vacuum down and click in with my babies. Plus… I mean… vacuuming does kind of suck dirty balls.

And then we were 6.

As if I wasn’t busy enough teaching my kids and husband how to behave in public, and where it is appropriate to go to the bathroom, we got the kids a puppy.

Let me introduce Maximillion Hurley.

Now let me back up to the summer of… you know… it doesn’t really matter what year. I had just turned 6 and all I wanted out of life was a German Shepherd named Max (like the one on The Bionic Woman), and to escape Butthole, Louisiana. Truth be told I also wanted long flowing hair that bounced in the wind when I ran really fast/ in slow motion, but was willing to settle for the first two.

I did not have what you would call a “good childhood”, but the one constant was my dog Princess. While she was not a German Shepherd, she was my best friend. Her soft fur caught all my tears, her floppy ears heard all my secrets, and at 10 when I ran away I may have forgotten food for myself (which ultimately is what made me return to my captors), but my back pack was filled with supplies for her.

Needless to say a dog was always in the plan, but it took us awhile to recover enough from the trauma of having 3 babies (practically all at once) to be ready for another butt to wipe.

For months We poured over adoptable pets, everytime we thought we found “the right one”, it had already been adopted. It was with great reluctance that we went to meet Max. It was a cold day, but my moral superiority kept me warm as we pulled up to what I was sure would turn out to be a puppy mill… it didn’t. In fact it was…. like a Barbie dream house for puppies. And there running around the doggie compound were the cutest puppies you have ever seen. As the guy was going on and on about health checks, certificates, shots, etc. I got down on the ground… I never had a chance. Max pushed his way into my lap, laid down, just looked at me, and it was over. I never even looked at the other puppies. I just looked up at Tony, who in turn had already handed his wallet to the guy.

Max is the piece we never knew was missing and is the absolute love of our kids’ lives. The other day I heard our son giggle as he whispered something to his dog. I asked him what they were doing. “Oh nothing. Just telling Max all my secrets”, he said grinning.

Long story short between running around and making Christmas all magical for everybody, AND keeping this guy alive, I have been kept away from writing this blog. I know there are ones and ones of you who missed me. Well I’m back!! Now… what are your other 2 wishes?

Who turned ON the lights?!?

Just like every American boy born in the 70’s… Late 70’s…practically the 80’s… you know let’s just say 80’s.

Ahem…just like every American boy born in the 80’s, I too spent my formative years fantasizing about what it would be like if I were Laura Ingalls’ friend.  Prettier friend obviously.  Oh the adventures we would have in Walnut Grove!  I pictured myself skipping through fields, milking cows, getting into mischief at the crick with Albert and the girls.   And then… you know… inevitably tripping over that impossibly long dress and landing in a sticker bush on the side of a cliff next to a rattlesnake’s nest. 

Paw (and his impossibly tanned forearms) would repel down to save me in the knick of time.  Siiiigh…

Even though I gave up childhood fantasies, my husband would like us to all return to the time before modern conveniences like electricity, heat, and interior toilets.  Apparently our furnace, lighting system, and running water have all been sent here to destroy us financially.

T: Put on a sweat shirt if you are cold.

Me: We are wearing sweat shirts.

T:Put on another one.  I read somewhere layers are in.


T: Why are the lights on?

Me: It’s nighttime… and dark.

T: You know what sounds like fun?  Candles!  I think we undervalue them these days


T: Who turned the heat up ALL THE WAY TO 40?!?  Great!  Well, I guess the kids don’t NEED college.

 Now look, we all have our quirks.  I OBSESSIVELY hoard Lysol wipes, Febreeze, and Swiffer wet jet pads.  This is ridiculous though.

I mean… he cannot remember to put ANYTHING back in the refrigerator, but washes garbage to fit it into the recycling because it’s less expensive to have 5 billion recycling containers and one tiny little garbage container.

At the end of the day my husband works his entire booty off to make sure that this family has everything it needs, and most of what we want.  Ugh.  Ok ok ok.  Maybe it won’t kill me to do dishes by candlelight.

Now, back to how dreamy Michael Landon was….

Cruel and Unusual Punishment

There isn’t much I won’t do for my kids.  I would give my very last breath for their happiness, blah blah blah and all that.

In fact a few summers back, when my babies were actually babies, the twins were playing on the floor of the kitchen as I made dinner.  The back door was open to let in the breeze… ok ok ok… the door was open because inevitably my “cooking” was going to set the smoke detector off.  Still, the breeze was nice too.  Suddenly from the corner of my eye I saw a GIANT tarantula skittering towards my chubby little babies!  With nary a thought for my own safety…. Or even my own life… I twirled and slammed my BARE FOOT down onto the Kong like Arachnid.


I stood there for a moment.  I was pretty sure that the spider had already injected me with its deadly venom, these were my last moments on earth.  I lifted my foot to see the crushed remains …. of a leaf.  A frickin leaf.  But hey… it still counts!  I think this is sufficient evidence as to how far I will go for my children.

However… if you’re like me (and I assume you at least aspire to be) you have limits.  And my line in the sand is firmly set at “Daddy can you play/ watch sportsball with me?”


I am fully aware that my future consists of sitting in the stands on cold hard bleachers, watching various… you know… games or whatever.  I have come to some acceptance around this. I will be there for it all, and I will loudly cheer and gleefully embarrass each of them.   Although I am not sure I can pull of the uniform.  The hair for sure is going to be tricky.

And as far as “playing” with them, I assure you I will build, I will smash, I will paint, heck I will play doll tea party dressed as whatever princess you want me to.


I am down for it all, bring it on…. But…. watching sports (when not legally required) is too much to ask.  I went to a “gay superbowl” party once before we had kids.   My expectations were high and the hosts did not disappoint.  The home was gorgeous; the décor was AMAZE balls and the food…. GUUUUUUUURL shoot. 

Here’s where they lost me.

They still made me WATCH THE FUCKING SUPER BOWL.  Seriously, 10 hours of watching men chase a baseball up and down the court.  I was literally dying inside while my sisters were hooting and hollering like … straight men.  All I could think was “What the VERY hell?”  One of the perks of being gay is the lack of athletic expectation.


My kiddos, you HAVE a big, manly, sporty type dad… over there.  I CHOSE him for these very reasons!  This is kind of his whole deal.

Besides, I don’t even know how to kick the football into the hoop.





Can we… not?

Guuuuuurl.  Sancti-mommies and Sancti-daddies…

 I just wonder what has had to occur, psychologically speaking, to result in this behavior.  Please tell me who hurt you?  And furthermore, what about our history together has given you the impression that I am open to hearing your nonsense? Seriously, please tell me so that I can immediately eradicate it from my personality.

And they start out almost immediately right?  You are sitting in the waiting room of the Pediatrician’s office, pleased as punch that you have managed to keep this baby ALIVE for the past few weeks.  You are exhausted, you smell, the baby smells, both of you are covered in various yuck that has spewed from your adorable little bundle of grossness.  And this impossibly cheerful mom leans in and says…

”Has she rolled over yet?”, before you can even respond she continues, “My little Engelbert is the first toddler accepted into Yale.  I attribute it to the fact that I only breast feed him in a magical meadow, while a herd of Unicorn grazes nearby.  Let me have your email.  I’ll send you this article I just read about Organic produce.  Do you know that non organic grapes are really just filled with poison, and will definitely kill your family?”

I mean sister.  You really are going to want to loosen the pony tail.

I have been to more than one pre-school board meeting that has nearly erupted into a full on rumble over someone having a forward facing car seat, or accidentally bringing Muffins with gluten in them for snack.  Girl, these parents will shut down entire schools over a classroom having a marker containing “Volatile Organic Compounds”…

I was at a school fundraiser where an innocent discussion about birth stories resulted in handcuffs and restraining orders when a “friendly rivalry” between Becky 1 and Becky 2 escalated.  Apparently one of the mothers insinuated that her organic, gluten free, vegan, all natural, childbirth was more bohemian and painful then the other woman’s.

Or how about the time I was lectured about “coddling” my 2 year old twins by a woman who was, AT THAT VERY MOMENT, breastfeeding her 5 year old?

Blink.  Blink.

Why do we do this to each other?  Why do we feel we have to blow out other people’s candles so ours will burn brighter?   Why do we suck our teeth and roll our eyes at the parent struggling with an unruly toddler in the store?  The very least we should all do is shoot the parent a smile and look of solidarity.

At bedtime, as I tuck my amazing little monsters in, I reward myself with a pat on the back and a sheet cake just for getting them through the day alive. Being a parent is not easy. Let’s all agree to stop making each other feel like shit about it.  In fact, I think we all should agree that if any of us finds ourselves wanting to “Sancti-mommy” any other parent we should…. Pause for dramatic effect…. Be BANNED FROM TARGET FOR ETERNITY!!!!!!

Ok, I got caught up.  Let the punishment fit the crime.  How about if we just agree to knock this crap off. I say we look for ways to build each other up without judgment.  Who’s with me?


Looking for the Win

It was not my best parenting day…

My son, in all of his perfect adorableness, was being a … well…being a 4 year old boy. I however had reached a level of emotional exhaustion that left my patience below zero and his stubborn was set to high. After battling with him about seemingly everything that day, I finally lost it when in open defiance of my repeated request to not throw books, he hit his sister right in the eye with the biggest hard cover one we have. I snatched him up and carried him kicking and screaming into our room for a quiet time. Truthfully I just needed him one side of a door and me on another.

I slumped into the wall as I shut the door, trying to hold back the tears as I started to beat myself up for having lost my temper and raising my voice to such a decibel. No. Let’s be honest… totally honest… I screamed and yelled. I did not raise my voice. I yelled like a crazy person.

Daddy? I don’t like that.”

I looked down to see that both my daughters had come into the hallway. “What don’t you like?” I asked my youngest daughter, trying to sound interested as I tucked the guilt away for later, struggling to focus on her words.

You were mean to my brother. You did not take a breath. You let your big big emotion get TOO big and you screamed at him. And we do not like that.” She said, her eyebrows knitted together in a scowl, both hands on her hips.

It felt like a punch to the gut as the air escaped my lungs in a WOOOOOOOSH.

Before I could respond Z added, “You should apologize to him Daddy.”

I felt the defensiveness rise up my neck spreading to my cheeks. I could feel my heartbeat quicken as guilt and shame washed over me. I am no stranger to parental guilt, my favorite past time some days is beating myself up over any parenting hiccup. I looked down at my daughters’ faces and something dawned on me. A light bulb moment if you will.

My 4 and 5 year olds were able to come and express their feelings to me. They felt safe enough to tell me they were mad at me . They were not afraid to challenge me when I was wrong. I grew up in a house where the expectation was that I was seen and not heard. My thoughts and feelings meant very little, if anything. The expectation was that if wasn’t happy, I better pretend to be. In OUR home though my babies were able to come to me and share some really big emotions and observations. Some stuff that was super hard to hear, and I bet not easy to say.

I leaned down and pulled both of them into my arms, kissed them on their cheeks, thanked them for their honesty, and assured them I would fix it. Then I took a deep breath and walked back into the bedroom. “Brody, may I talk to you? I owe you an apology…”

Instead of emotionally beating myself into a bloody pulp for being human and making a mistake, I chose to lean into the win. My kids can come to me even when it’s scary. My kids can tell me that they don’t like something. My kids stand up when they see something they don’t agree with. And just as importantly, I took an opportunity to show my son that when a man makes a mistake he owns up to it and apologizes. In return the smile that engulfed his face as he lept into my arms, squeezing my neck, taught me a lesson too. Maybe I can be a little quicker to forgive myself, to not beat myself up every time I trip up a bit.

I have an idea. Let’s all look for the wins today. My guess is you deserve it.

But if he LOVES me, why does he use such MEAN words…. like “budget”?

I would just like to send a shout out to my husband for always trying to teach me how to do new “adult-y” things…

For example, this whole budget thing. Before I leave to go shopping Tony starts doing this nervous little dance. He bounces from one leg to the other while stammering about how much money is in the account.  He then reminds me, for the hundredth time, that we still have to be able to afford the week.

Like I get it… the kids need to be fed “EVERY day”.  Sheesh… it was ONE time.

I need a bottom line do not go over number.  I appreciate the effort, and I love him to death for having faith in my ability to self regulate, but boy is it ever misplaced.

Up until recently I believed “budget” to be one of those made up words that doesn’t mean anything… you know… like “I love you”, or “I’m sorry”.

My previous attempts at joining this new “money saving” fad have been limited to going to Target and (mostly) JUST getting the stuff on my list.  Then of course preening around the house for the next 4 days, planning what I should wear for the parade they will inevitably hold in my honor.  You know…if I am honest the only reason those trips were even successful was due to Tony coaching me the entire time on the phone.

You have this! 

Stay on course!

Michael no! 

Do NOT go anywhere near the kid’s clothes! 

No, we do not need a dog bed.  I don’t care if it IS 40% off!   We don’t have a dog.

 OOOOOh wait!  I went to Wal-Mart once!  On purpose!  That should count as a money saving type thing.

Funny story though.  As I was walking in I had my baseball cap pulled so far down over my face, so as not to be recognized, that I couldn’t TOTALLY see where I was going and tripped and  bumped my head as I fell into the cart return.   My request that they drag my body across the street to Target before calling 911 was BRUTALLY rebuffed.  Long story short, I am no longer even allowed in Wal-Mart.  So win win.

 Times they are a changing though. I would like to point out that I have recently joined the whole coupon clipping / responsible shopper set! It’s true!  I bought little bedazzled scissors, and a cute little container to keep all my coupons organized in. The girls and I picked out stickers and glitter glue to decorate it.

I haven’t actually started though  because I just got everything set up… in May.  So…I mean… it’s a process.

In the meantime I will just do my part to stimulate (tee hee hee) the economy.  That’s still a thing right?  Saving the economy?  Or wait… is that recycling?






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