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Was it worth it?
Old 08-26-2004, 07:36 AM   #1
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Was it worth it?

Questions from a fledgling:

--When you look back on it, was it worth it?
--Are you glad you ER'd when you did?
--Has it been what you thought it would be?
--Do you wish you'd waited five more years?

Yeah, I'm looking for inspiration here. But if you've had regrets in some way, I'd like to know that too...
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Re: Was it worth it?
Old 08-26-2004, 07:50 AM   #2
 
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Re: Was it worth it?

Hello Whisper! I love these questions.

Yes it was worth it all, in spite of my well documented'
trials and tribulations.

Regarding my timing only, yes I am glad I ERed when I did (semi in 1993 at 49, completely in 1998 at 54).

It has been mostly what I thought it would be. Ironically
worry about declining health (which most all will face
eventually) was a prime motivator, and I developed some chronic health issues post-retirement.

I do not wish I had waited longer. I wish I had planned better and done it sooner. Five more years? I didn't
want to wait 5 minutes once the idea took root.

Regrets? I've had a few, but then again too few to mention............ (Old Blue Eyes)

John Galt





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Re: Was it worth it?
Old 08-26-2004, 08:03 AM   #3
 
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Re: Was it worth it?

Quote:
Questions from a fledgling: *

--When you look back on it, was it worth it? *
--Are you glad you ER'd when you did? *
--Has it been what you thought it would be? *
--Do you wish you'd waited five more years?

Yeah, I'm looking for inspiration here. *But if you've had regrets in some way, I'd like to know that too...
1.) Yes it was worth it and the way I look at it, there was no alternative.

2.) Pretty much. - I planned on working longer, but when my Boss told me that my job was changing, it moved the ER date up by 5 years.

3.) Actually No! - Not at all. Most people that are working think like it'll be just like a vacation 365 days a year. But, most folks fall into a daily routine.


In fact the first 6 months to a year were an adjustment for me. And I cannot say that this was a good period for me. I was used to having people around all the time and adjusting to periods of the day when no one is around was 'different'. I am an 'ESTJ', unusual type for this board it seems. The 'INTJ's may have an easier time than I did.

Now that I have been 'out' for 3 years, I am really enjoying the freedom and Not working is the Norm for me. Going back to work would almost seem like a prison sentence. The periods of the day when no one is around is a perfect opportunity to sit on the deck with a cup of coffee and enjoy the hummingbirds and squirrels 8)

4.) If I had waited 5 more years, I might have had more money, which I might miss, but everytime I start thinking about all of us having a limited amount of time, it becomes almost totally irelevent.
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Re: Was it worth it?
Old 08-26-2004, 10:25 AM   #4
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Re: Was it worth it?

1) Was what worth it? Working or ER'ing? Working: no but it was necessary!; ER'ing YES! YES! YES!

2) Absolutely. It was supposed to be a 'trial ER' or more of a long vacation, but I couldnt stop once I started.

3) Not at all. I imagined long summers sitting in a lounge chair by the pool sipping tall cold drinks with a dial tone going on between my ears most of the time. Yesterday I disassembled, moved and reassembled an 8x12 shed. The day before I moved a truck full of furniture, filled the same truck with construction debris and took it to the dump, then returned roughly 1000lbs of leftover construction materials to home depot. Not my usual days though, which appear to be filled with reading, fiddling with things around the house, feeding and watering animals, making meals, shopping trips and foop...the days gone.

4) My head would have exploded.

My only regret s are not targetting ER sooner and wasting a zook of money spending like a drunken sailor for most of my life when I could have lived a little below my means and done this 5-7 years sooner.
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Yes!
Old 08-26-2004, 11:13 AM   #5
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Yes!

Quote:
Questions from a fledgling: *

--When you look back on it, was it worth it?
Heck, yeah, but people change. I retired a different person than when I started my military career. Before parenthood, the job wasn't easy but it was a fascinating & rewarding challenge. After parenthood it seemed that there was always a soul-sucking conflict no matter how compelling or rewarding the job was. We're very glad we never had to deploy as parents. And choosing parenthood over career is usually the right decision, but it tends to be irrevocable. The kid & I have been watching Disney's TV movie "Tiger Cruise" together and it hits a little too close to home.

I've watched senior officers earn over $100K/year and retire to $65K pensions yet have huge expenses and almost no savings. These steely-eyed killers of the deep were fearless warriors & leaders, or at a minimum competent administrators, but they were also blissfully ignorant that they could save enough to really RETIRE retire. (They certainly spent too much time on the job to have many spending opportunities.) They turned right around from their retirement ceremonies (in their late 40s or mid 50s) and went straight back to work in civil service or as contractors. Retirement never seemed to occur to them or else they really enjoyed dealing with the same old crises and frustrations. To an extent they personified their jobs (or their jobs provided their personas).

I don't think there're specific good careers to ER from. I think everyone should choose a career for their strengths and their interests, but just about everyone should also be able to make ER a goal from any career if they're motivated. The trick is to follow your own path and to not be distracted by materialism. While some are fortunate to make their vocation their avocation, for me ER is my avocation.

Quote:
--Are you glad you ER'd when you did?
Yep. I would've been happier if I'd ER'd even sooner. When I first saw the Terhorst's book my initial reaction was "Damn! Five years too late!!" I wish I'd emulated the legendary high-school graduate who ER'd on his parent's college savings.

Quote:
--Has it been what you thought it would be?
I've always had high expectations yet ER has exceeded even those. I'm surprised by how busy some days have been but that's probably due to parenthood or poor planning. Either way we can't blame it on work anymore!

I used to wonder if there would be an ER "midlife crisis" or even a return to the workplace. Judging from the board's more experienced posters that's not gonna happen. I've only been ER'd two years and I can't predict the next six decades, but I can't imagine why I'd voluntarily return to the workforce. There are still too many things to explore, too many waves to surf, and too many other things that I'd rather do. Thank goodness my fulfillment no longer depends on rush hour, wearing socks, & showing up for meetings.

Quote:
--Do you wish you'd waited five more years?
Heck no. My Navy retirement date was chosen for me but that gave me plenty of time to prepare. The post-retirement job offers were flattering but I couldn't get past the dissatisfiers of commuting, after-school care, "being there" for those priceless parenting crises, missing exercise, and chronic fatigue. I would've been repeating the same old mistakes, er, lifestyle choices.

OTOH many ERs risk undercapitalized portfolios. We'd obsessively budgeted & projected and we watched our portfolio go through 40% volatility so we felt we had a handle on it. Even at the bottom (Sep 2001) we could still manage an ER budget at less than a 4% withdrawal rate. I don't think we're riding the razor's edge but I guess I could always go get a job if reality bites harder than FinancialEngines or FIREcalc can project.
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Re: Was it worth it?
Old 08-26-2004, 11:33 AM   #6
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Re: Was it worth it?

I'm going out on a limb here, but...

Hell, I'm not even FIREd yet and even I think it has been worth it. Seeing that I have made quite significant progress over the past 5 years and knowng that there is a way out of the salt mines already brightens my days. I can't imagine how it will be once I actually get to the pot of gold at the end of the rainbow. Plus I do not worry in the least about layoffs, etc. because A)it would be a preview of ER and B) the nice portfolio that I have built up would more than carry me for a good long time if it came to that.
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Re: Was it worth it?
Old 08-26-2004, 03:15 PM   #7
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Re: Was it worth it?

I haven't ER'd but I can't wait.
I am almost obsessively watching the ER timeclock.
My financial and retirement spreadsheet I have, includes
a countdown to my anticipated ER date just in case I forget.
I haven't gotten to counting the days, hours or minutes "yet".


8/26/2004

3/31/2005
# of months 7.1
# of weeks 31

Only my rational thinking is keeping from doing it now. Of course, the fact that I am putting in an unscheduled new roof may delay me 1 or 2 months. I hope not.

MJ
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Re: Was it worth it?
Old 08-26-2004, 04:17 PM   #8
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Re: Was it worth it?

MJ - I'm doing the same thing!
Doing everything to get ready.
Good luck
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Re: Was it worth it?
Old 08-26-2004, 04:42 PM   #9
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Re: Was it worth it?

Quote:
My...retirement spreadsheet I have, includes
a countdown to my anticipated ER date just in case I forget.
I haven't gotten to counting the days, hours or minutes "yet".
Oohhh, the Excel nut inside of me likes that idea a lot.

Right now, there are too many unknown variables in my life to even begin to figure out a date..... I want to shoot for 45 (2025), but some planets would need to align first before that can become a financial reality.... i'm crossing my fingers I can put a countdown timer on my spreadsheet one of these days too =)
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Re: Was it worth it?
Old 08-26-2004, 06:26 PM   #10
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Re: Was it worth it?

Quote:
Oohhh, the Excel nut inside of me likes that idea a lot.
Good luck to you too!

Just in case you may not know, here is how I get my countdowns.

8/26/2004 (Cell B1) ------> =TODAY()

3/31/2005 (Cell B4 anticipated ER date)

# of months 7.1 ------> =(B4-B1)/30.4166666666666
# of weeks 31 ------> =(B4-B1)/7

As said earlier I had an unexpected major expense which could delay my ER, althought I hope that when I sell the house in 2 to 4 years, a new roof will add enought value that will recapture most of the cost. I hope.

MJ
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Re: Was it worth it?
Old 08-26-2004, 06:51 PM   #11
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Re: Was it worth it?

Thx for the encouragement. I love the stories and comments. Like I said in another post, compared to the typical American I do quite well with expenses but I'm trying to rid myself of the last 10% of my discretionary expenses and these motivators help!
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Re: Yes!
Old 08-26-2004, 07:26 PM   #12
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Re: Yes!

Quote:

After parenthood it seemed that there was always a soul-sucking conflict no matter how compelling or rewarding the job was. *We're very glad we never had to deploy as parents. *And choosing parenthood over career is usually the right decision, but it tends to be irrevocable. *The kid & I have been watching Disney's TV movie "Tiger Cruise" together and it hits a little too close to home.
Can you say more about these? I've got a five year old but I'm not quite sure what you mean here...
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Re: Was it worth it?
Old 08-26-2004, 08:32 PM   #13
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Re: Was it worth it?

Well, even though you didn't invite me to, I can say a little more about it.

I went back to work, VERY part-time, when my daughter was 2 months old. Just a few hours a week at first, then 15 hrs, then half-time for a long time. But I went to work full-time when she was 3 1/2, and coupled with the long commute it was torture. I ached to get home every evening.

I wasn't comfortable working full-time until she was in kindergarten, at which time it felt a little less awful.

But my work was very demanding emotionally (psychologist specializing in trauma, working with chronically suicidal patients, many weekend and evening crisis phone calls, coordinating phone calls to ambulances and hospitals . . . ). My clients' pain often filled my consciousness. I'd come home, make dinner, clean up from dinner, start bedtime preparations, and get my kid to bed. Sometimes it felt like I was only with her on weekends.

When the school would have a daytime show for parents, it was a constant pull to be at school and to be at work. When my daughter was too sick to go to school, I felt grateful to have a wonderful babysitter who was always willing to have her there. The guilt was dreadful.

I'm not ER'd, but I quit my full-time job and work for myself now, and stopped seeing that type of client. I make my own schedule, probably about 20 hours a week. I turned down a consulting gig that would have conflicted with hockey. And I'm planning on keeping every Wednesday afternoon free for my daughter's games when hockey season starts (she's a goalie) (yes, I got this idea of playing hockey from her!). Today I didn't do any work at all, but drove her up to her new school to buy books and see her dorm room.

And yes, it's not ER, but I sure wish I'd done it sooner. Maybe when she was in kindergarten. I achieved a lot in my career (which helps, now, in getting the work I want), and I have a terrific, well-adjusted kid. But she's 15 and I still ache for all that I missed.

Anne
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Re: Was it worth it?
Old 08-26-2004, 11:01 PM   #14
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Re: Was it worth it?

Quote:
Well, even though you didn't invite me to, I can say a little more about it.

I went back to work, VERY part-time, when my daughter was 2 months old. *Just a few hours a week at first, then 15 hrs, then half-time for a long time. *But I went to work full-time when she was 3 1/2, and coupled with the long commute it was torture. *I ached to get home every evening.

I wasn't comfortable working full-time until she was in kindergarten, at which time it felt a little less awful.

But my work was very demanding emotionally (psychologist specializing in trauma, working with chronically suicidal patients, many weekend and evening crisis phone calls, coordinating phone calls to ambulances and hospitals . . . ). *My clients' pain often filled my consciousness. *I'd come home, make dinner, clean up from dinner, start bedtime preparations, and get my kid to bed. *Sometimes it felt like I was only with her on weekends.

When the school would have a daytime show for parents, it was a constant pull to be at school and to be at work. *When my daughter was too sick to go to school, I felt grateful to have a wonderful babysitter who was always willing to have her there. *The guilt was dreadful.

I'm not ER'd, but I quit my full-time job and work for myself now, and stopped seeing that type of client. *I make my own schedule, probably about 20 hours a week. *I turned down a consulting gig that would have conflicted with hockey. *And I'm planning on keeping every Wednesday afternoon free for my daughter's games when hockey season starts (she's a goalie) (yes, I got this idea of playing hockey from her!). *Today I didn't do any work at all, but drove her up to her new school to buy books and see her dorm room. *

And yes, it's not ER, but I sure wish I'd done it sooner. *Maybe when she was in kindergarten. *I achieved a lot in my career (which helps, now, in getting the work I want), and I have a terrific, well-adjusted kid. *But she's 15 and I still ache for all that I missed.

Anne
Wow, you don't know how some of your words hit me. *I've got a five year old and I am already in that same position in so many ways. *I too feel like I mostly get to see him on the weekends.

Yes, there's so much I don't want to miss. *The little guy is so doggone cute. *He just lost his second tooth - I'll bet you remember those days...

Oh, and what's Tiger Cruise?
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Re: Was it worth it?
Old 08-26-2004, 11:11 PM   #15
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Re: Was it worth it?

Quote:
As said earlier I had an unexpected major expense which could delay my ER, althought I hope that when I sell the house in 2 to 4 years, a new roof will add enought value that will recapture most of the cost. I hope.
Roofs are one of those things that don't really add much "value" to a house... rather it allows you to get the market rate. A bad roof will make it harder for someone to secure a loan to buy your house, and at the very least, the buyer will automatically subtract the cost of a new roof (and then some) from their offer.

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Re: Was it worth it?
Old 08-26-2004, 11:12 PM   #16
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Re: Was it worth it?

Our daughter is almost 1.5 years old now, and she's had two parents at home since birth. I think it's had a profound impact on her to have around-the-clock interaction and encouragement. She seems advanced compared to the other toddlers in her playgroup. (My perception is obviously clouded, and there's a wide range of "normal" development at this age, but I think she understands, communicates, and behaves like kids about 6-8 months her senior.)

Who knows if it'll give her a life-long edge, but it's been a lot of fun for me to experiment on her
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Re: Was it worth it?
Old 08-26-2004, 11:20 PM   #17
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Re: Was it worth it?

Quote:
. . .Who knows if it'll give her a life-long edge, but it's been a lot of fun for me to experiment on her *

TH is working on an experiment to turn children into adult psycho killers. Be sure to check out that thread.
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Navy tigers.
Old 08-27-2004, 11:29 AM   #18
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Navy tigers.

When I was getting ready to roll ashore after what turned out to be my last sea tour, we blissfully decided to start a family. We got a little ahead of schedule so our kid was born a couple months into my shore duty.

My shore job required a lot of nights & weekends. When you're single or even childless, that's painful but endurable. And it had its rewarding moments when we pulled off things from "Blind Man's Bluff".

Those rewarding moments were very few & far apart after our little bundle of joy came home. The kid was straight out of the "Your Fussy Baby and High-Needs Child" book, and home sleep deprivation was worse than any sea duty. (The kid has a very busy brain. I think babies like that grow up to be entrepreneurial teens who move out at 16 and make millions of dollars to support their exhausted parents. I'm almost sure that's what I read.) As a nuclear engineer, it was also quite a surprise to discover that I'd much rather spend my time watching my kid start to crawl, take the first steps, and throw the first fistful of food than to sit around a windowless office swapping sea stories.

I don't recall a defining moment where I made a deliberate choice, but eventually I did choose not to go back to sea duty. You don't make rank from those choices, but it forced a period of personal growth that led to ER. If parenthood hadn't derailed career and shifted my focus to the really important stuff then I might still be in uniform. We get holiday summaries from some of our career Navy friends and think "There but for the grace of God..."

I guess Disney hasn't locked out every other channel in your house yet, but "Tiger Cruise" is their latest TV movie. It's about the Navy's family-fun-at-sea program. When the aircraft carrier returns from the Western Pacific deployment, it stops in Hawaii and picks up a few hundred kids ("tigers") for the trip back to San Diego. Disney's story, set in Sep 2001, is about a girl who came aboard to persuade her Dad to drop his silly career and spend more time with the family. Of course 9/11 caused everyone to re-evaluate their priorities. Many tears are jerked in the process and the movie makes quite an impression. It provokes a lot of discussion and our kid is just beginning to develop a more balanced view of the military lifestyle...
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Re: Navy tigers.
Old 08-27-2004, 09:12 PM   #19
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Re: Navy tigers.

Quote:
When I was getting ready to roll ashore after what turned out to be my last sea tour, we blissfully decided to start a family. *We got a little ahead of schedule so our kid was born a couple months into my shore duty.

My shore job required a lot of nights & weekends. *When you're single or even childless, that's painful but endurable. *And it had its rewarding moments when we pulled off things from "Blind Man's Bluff".

Those rewarding moments were very few & far apart after our little bundle of joy came home. *The kid was straight out of the "Your Fussy Baby and High-Needs Child" book, and home sleep deprivation was worse than any sea duty. *(The kid has a very busy brain. *I think babies like that grow up to be entrepreneurial teens who move out at 16 and make millions of dollars to support their exhausted parents. *I'm almost sure that's what I read.) *As a nuclear engineer, it was also quite a surprise to discover that I'd much rather spend my time watching my kid start to crawl, take the first steps, and throw the first fistful of food than to sit around a windowless office swapping sea stories. *

I don't recall a defining moment where I made a deliberate choice, but eventually I did choose not to go back to sea duty. *You don't make rank from those choices, but it forced a period of personal growth that led to ER. *If parenthood hadn't derailed career and shifted my focus to the really important stuff then I might still be in uniform. *We get holiday summaries from some of our career Navy friends and think "There but for the grace of God..."

I guess Disney hasn't locked out every other channel in your house yet, but "Tiger Cruise" is their latest TV movie. *It's about the Navy's family-fun-at-sea program. *When the aircraft carrier returns from the Western Pacific deployment, it stops in Hawaii and picks up a few hundred kids ("tigers") for the trip back to San Diego. *Disney's story, set in Sep 2001, is about a girl who came aboard to persuade her Dad to drop his silly career and spend more time with the family. *Of course 9/11 caused everyone to re-evaluate their priorities. *Many tears are jerked in the process and the movie makes quite an impression. *It provokes a lot of discussion and our kid is just beginning to develop a more balanced view of the military lifestyle...
Oh, my little guy was very high maintenance. Most parents have a little bundle that would at times just nestle quietly in their arms. Yeah, right! Not my little man. He always been that way, so I'm glad to hear that he's going to support me quite well in a few decades. Maybe 5% or 6% is really okay for me...

Now I know why I haven't heard of Tiger Cruise: I'm the only guy on the continent without cable that isn't in an institution or hospitalized. But, sorry, in the spirit of ER I am NOT going to sign up!
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Re: Was it worth it?
Old 08-27-2004, 09:16 PM   #20
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Re: Was it worth it?

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Wow, you don't know how some of your words hit me. I've got a five year old and I am already in that same position in so many ways. I too feel like I mostly get to see him on the weekends.

Yes, there's so much I don't want to miss. The little guy is so doggone cute. He just lost his second tooth - I'll bet you remember those days...

Oh, and what's Tiger Cruise?
Sorry - Tiger Cruise was from someone else's post - Nords', I think.

I'm in a particularly bummed mood because my beloved child is growing at a fearsome rate (teenager!) and leaving for prep school in a couple of weeks. So, I hit all the low points in that post. The other side of the truth was, I loved that job, even though at the end I realized it had sucked the life out of me. I'm a natural workaholic and it took catastrophic events to extricate myself from it. And, the boost to my reputation enables me today to pick and choose the type of work that I take on.

AND, I have a very well-adjusted kid, full of enthusiasm for life. So it's not all doom and gloom as my depressive post would have had it. Still, those days are gone forever, and I sure wish I could have some of them back. I try to focus on what's great about parenting her NOW; that helps a lot. There's always something great about it: watching her become a young woman, develop ideas of her own, be opinionated and not worshiping the opposite sex (well, except for Prince William and Michael Phelps). It's very rewarding to see her start to become the woman she will be soon.

I do think that our parenting days are finite, and that the goal to save as much as possible to ER as early as possible comes into conflict with our need to be with our children. Luckily, the live-below-your-means lifestyle means more family board games, camping trips, cooking and baking together, and fewer techno-gadgets to babysit for us. This is good.

Anne
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