Freakishly intense nesting

I live in what real-estate agents call a rambler (irony or you see the size of this blog post?), though at just a smidge over 1000 square feet, it really looks more like a bungalow. It's a good size for me and Jonas (though I still dream of a mud room...doesn't that sound fabulous? A room where the mud goes?).

When I moved in here in 2000 (prime real-estate buying time in Redmond, if you ask me), this house was scary on the inside. Even now when I look at the pictures I took during the walk-through, I'm kind of surprised that I bought it. I remember thinking that it didn't smell like cat urine and that was a good thing because a few of the other houses I looked at did and I didn't get much past the entry-way. I also remember thinking, almost immediately after entering, "this is the one". I think my agents counseling about "good bones" kind of sunk in. I was somehow able to overlook sea foam green carpet with cranberry inlays (oh yes, I am quite serious), original 1968 counter-tops with glitter and squigglies, three layers of linoleum, lots of wallpaper borders and other assorted weirdness (for some reason, I take the idea of a chair rail very literally and could not understand the need for a chair rail in the bathroom, though, if paired with wainscoting, it looks quite nice. Mine was paired with faux marble wallpaper). Little did I know exactly how much work was ahead of me. Fixer-upper makes it sound so pleasant. Wrap that in some swear words and you have my house in 2000.

The first several years of my residency, I did the high-impact, but relatively cheap projects. I painted everything at least once (it made everything feel cleaner). All wallpaper was removed, as was the princess bed in the guest bedroom. Lots of stuff was replaced: kitchen linoleum, laminate counter tops, closet doors, carpets. Every weekend was a project. Every weekend.  My neighbors stated teasing me for never taking a break (and the fact that the waste management guys would always pick up my garbage regardless of what it was but they are pickier about the neighbors garbage). Well, there comes a time in the life of a fixer-upper where the low-budget projects just don't cut it anymore; where your short attention span wanes long enough to allow you to actually accept your paint colors, where you don't walk into every room and have your eyes immediately drawn to that one hideous thing that the previous owners did (granted I believe that most of it was done during the eighties and then someone stopped caring). It is at that point where all your newly acquired home improvement skills become less necessary (garbage disposal installation expertise is handy but how frequently will you use it?) and if you have to see Paige Davis on Trading Spaces one more time, you are going to jump through the TV because she's all perky and loud and that is not how you are supposed to be when you are fixing stuff up. Somber and regretful of ever starting the project in the first place; that is how you are supposed to be. You are supposed to question what is wrong with you that you cannot accept the decorative mediocrity that everyone on just about every reality TV show depicting real people has come to accept. Come on, have you seen Supernanny? They let her hang a big paper chart on the wall!

Anyway, it is at this time as a homeowner that I have come to know a beloved term: refi. Yeah baby. Because the things that are left to do in this house are going to cost some money. So I have decided to get new kitchen cabinets. I'm a kitchen person and my 1968 cabinets aren't cutting it anymore. Then there's the cutting board that slides into the cabinet the existence of which kind of makes me want to throw up a little (I'm sorry, but it's just kind of gross to think about using it...I'd like to set it on fire). I had toyed with the idea of pricing different cabinet suppliers/contractors but then finally revisited a concept that I have come to accept as a homeowner (at least sometimes): my time is valuable and sometimes it's not worth it to seek out a deal. This is hard for me.

So I went to HomeDepot, made an appointment with a nice man who we will call Gerry, mostly because that is his name and anyone who helps me pick my new kitchen is a friend of mine. I've been staring at dream kitchen pictures for a few years now so it was easy, with Gerry's help, to pick out some cabinets that I love (solid cherry with a chocolate glaze...yum!). Then Gerry jumped on the computer (gotta love CAD) and we did a prelim design of my kitchen. I'm pretty sure this is a marketing ploy because once I saw it, I could not say no. I have to have that kitchen. In the meantime, I've bought a new dishwasher and microwave (a space saver) and someone is coming over tomorrow to measure my kitchen. He's going to measure the bathroom also because that room is next (there's only one bathroom here and although I have done the best I can with what I have, it's simply not good enough any more...people who come to visit expect to be able to close the bathroom door all the way...I've learned that much).

So anyway, all of this has fueled the most intense, obsessive nesting/purging ritual that this household has ever seen. It was only intensified by the entertaining I did last week which made me dig through cabinets for serving dishes. I'm going to have to take everything out of the kitchen anyway, why not use my excitement adrenaline to fuel a little fall cleaning. Once you start in one room (the kitchen) it trickles to other rooms (it even trickled up to the attic...that is some major trickling my friends). It's hard to stop yourself. I'm rethinking my afternoon latte right now by the way...this might be my longest blog post ever.  I've decided through this ritual that I have to admit some things to myself:

-Any throw pillows that make their way into a hefty bag for storage are never coming back out

-I will never make yogurt from scratch. It's a pretty idea for people that live on dairy farms.

-The fact that I lugged Celadon pottery home from Asia does not mean that I need to keep it. I have zero Asian decor at this time. It's time to let it go.

-Just because a relative has extra candlesticks, serving pieces, whatever, does not mean you should take them. Accepting champagne glasses does not mean that your lifestyle suddenly transforms into one that involves champagne sipping.

-I like the idea of tea but rarely drink it. On the rare occassions I do, a decorative tea pot and little cups are not involved.

-Holiday decorations go out of style just like everything else. You know you want the new halloween swag at Target anyway (they have Starbucks there now).

-If you have multiple versions of the same thing that you only use one at a time, you have simply over bought. Sheesh, get some professional help for that habit. How many dinner trays does one person need?  Ditto with the drinking glasses. Chip and dip and cruditΓ© plates. What army are you planning on serving? Stop the insanity.

-Just because you bought a duvet set at full price at Pottery Barn does not mean it's pretty. It's not pretty.

-You do laundry once a week, so why so many towels? Are they magic towels?

-You don't need a guest bedroom (with a bed) AND a sleeper sofa. Oh wait, that army, after you serve them, they are sleeping here too? That might also explain the ridiculous number of comforters you own. The sleeper sofa is on sale on Windows Live Expo...whee!

-The only thing worse than wasting money is wasting money and space

Oh, I have learned ever so much these last two weekends of furious purging and I feel amazing. Purging might feel even better than buying all this junk in the first place (we can talk later about what I was compensating for when I bought all this stuff...those years of PB&J may have done some damage after all...hah). And the tax deduction from taking it to Goodwill...sweet! And now I think that when I finally get my cabinets in, I can take some of my kitchen stuff out of the attic and actually store it on the kitchen (the smoothie maker and the food storage system are on probation though). Unfortunately, as of tomorrow when my dishwasher and microwave are delivered, I'll be parking my car on the street.

Just for fun, I thought I'd post current pics of the kitchen so you can see the transformation, realizing that there's no way you care about this as much as I do and that if you are reading this far into this blog post, you are just humoring me (or are looking for tips for your own upcoming home organizing projects). I actually have pictures of the kitchen when I bought the house and it is so much better now (amazingly) but it's not the dream kitchen from my mind's eye. Here's the kitchen now...

That last one is for anyone else that sees the beauty in recipe notebooks organized by course (and potato chips that will be given away so I don't have to open the cabinet to get my coffee syrup and and be reminded of how good some onion dip would taste at 7 AM...oh, don't pretend you've never had onion dip at 7 AM).

The only thing that could make this kitchen look worse is if you actually caught a reflection of me in my pajamas taking the picture. I'll post more when the cabinets get in.

Comments (31)

  1. tod hilton says:

    I can’t believe I just read that whoooooooooole post. πŸ™‚ The tile backsplash doesn’t look too bad. I did notice there are quite a few bottles of wine in that refrigerator (which looks like the Costco model)…

    Oh, and I agree about the wooden, slide-in cutting board. We have one, but rarely use it (and we even bought our house new).

  2. Andy says:

    D@mn that is one clean kitchen! Can I come live at your house?

  3. I like your retro kitchen. Will be cool to see the transformation but it’s so clean and organized it can’t help but look pretty good. It sounds like you’re going after "amazing" instead of just pretty good. I used to try to do everything on our home as well. This past week I hired a painter to paint a single room. And I hired an electrician to drop in a few lights upstairs. Yes, I could have done most of it but you’re right about value of time. Sometimes it’s worth the cost to free up more time and less stress.

  4. Christine says:

    Ha!  This is great.  (I’m living in a "fixer-upper" also but I’m still in the painting stage.)  

    How do you find time to do it all?

  5. Patblue says:

    Ha!  Our kitchen remodel was completed in July of this year.  We had HomeDepot draw it up the same way.  You will be pleased once it is done.  The purging is a normal thing.  We dontaed/threw things out while cleaning out the kitchen pre – remodel, and then we purged again while moving things back in.  Your thoughts are right in line w/ what we went through during the remodel.  Enjoy!  I want to see pictures.

  6. Bhaskar says:

    Your kitchen is really and also the small paintings on the hall are quite impressive..


  7. Luckily, I’m only a packrat when it comes to my data. My 410-square-feet palace has only the essentials: bed, couch, desk, a shelf and a very comfy arm chair for reading (and falling asleep on). I store most of my non-perishables on the kitchen table and have virtually no decoration (then again, I’ve only lived there for half a year).

    I think my main reason for keeping it so simple is that I don’t plan to stay for more than another year or two. Not having a lot of stuff is nice if, like me, you don’t want to be weighed down by what you own. Once I do settle down, I should probably hire someone with more taste than myself to decorate. πŸ˜‰

  8. HeatherLeigh says:

    tod-you know I am a bargain hunter (pretty much everywhere has a case discount). Also, I have some bottles that are "speacial occassion" bottles.  The challenge I am having now is that I hate opening a bottle because I end up wasting part of it if I just want a glass of wine (which is usually what I want). I have started buying splits instead of full bottles. Full bottles are mostly for company these days. I got the cooler at HomeDepot.

    Andy-it’s a sickness. I like a clean house. Trust me, it would be totally uncomfortable for someone else living here with me constantly asking them "you aren’t going to leave that there, are you?" and "are you going to pick that up?".

    Brett-what you can’t see is that some of the drawers tilt when you pull them out (I’ve tried to fix them with new tracks but there’s only so muxh you can do). Plus the cabinet configuration is a little weird and the finishing isn’t pretty (I hate the tops of the cabinets with the finger grooves). I did the best I could for as long as I could.

    Christine- when I bought my house, I’d only been here a year and had been pretty heads down at work (hey, look at me, I work at Microsoft now…whee!), so I didn’t really have a super active social life on the weekends (which suits me actually). Also, living alone means less personal commitments. Weekends were just for projects, pretty much and I worked at them one at a time until they were done. Gee, I’m loads of fun!

    Patblue- Your previous kitchen looked nice to me. So big! I’ll share pics. Glad I am not a total freak or at least I’m not alone : ) There are definitely some things in my cabinets that are likely to go. I think it’s s sign of being an adult when you can look at something and say "yes, I spent money on that but I don’t use it and chances are I won’t so I am going to get rid of it".


    Cornelius- for a several years, I only owned what I could fit in my car (when I had one). It was really due to lack of income, not choice for me at that point. I think that if living that lifestyle makes you happy, then that’s what you should do (especially when pursuing education…talk about not having time to worry about that kind of stuff). One thing that I found after I bought my house is that I *developed* taste in home decorating (plus anything was an improvement over what was there). It took some time to get it (which is why some rooms have been painted 3x and why I have so many throw pillows, comforters, etc). But at some point, you start to get what goes with what, and the idea of scale and composition…all that stuff.

  9. Mark Tookey says:

    Hi Heather,

    Well, first of all, don’t be so sure about the lack of impact a decorative tea pot can have to the whole tea drinking experience!! Sometimes when the need for relaxation is high (like after my in-laws are gone… you know what I mean!), it makes the whole experience so much better (especially if you’ve driven up to Canada and stocked up on English biscuits like we did the other week!!!).

    As for the purging, isn’t it liberating? What with all our moves recently, we’ve thrown out more stuff than we ever knew we owned, and still we have too much junk. If you haven’t seen clothes in 2 years, let alone worn them, what is the point…



  10. Margo says:

    I am slightly obsessed with celadon.  Actually, when I was a pottery major it was my favorite glaze.  Can you take pics of the pottery?  I might want to buy them off you.  hahaha.  

    I am a pottery junky.


    Your retro kitchen reminds me of my parents home, where its the 70s yellows browns and other gauche earth tones.  I think our pulling of the wallpaper off the wall actually makes it look better – at least the plaster is one color.

    Good luck with your endeavors!!  Be lucky you have such a large kitchen!  And a kitchen cart can work wonders for you too.  Give you an extra bit of storage and mobility.

  11. Pat says:

    Quick tax tip – I /think/ that the IRS has a limit of 500$ worth of  donations before they require more serious documentation of the items you donated.  It’s pretty easy to hit that 500$ limit on these purge sessions (especially when donating pottery barn duvet covers!).  If you can at all stand to pack some of that stuff up and delay the purging gratification until Jan 1 you might save yourself some IRS trouble.

  12. HeatherLeigh says:

    Pat-I let my accountant deal with that stuff. It goes back to the time it takes to do something versus the cost of having someone else do it. I remember literally crying over my tax forms my last year in Chicago. When I moved here and someone mentioned having a CPA do their taxes, I thought "now is the time…there’s no crying in tax filing". I’ve donated some significant stuff in the past (I won’t give too many details, but let’s just say that I have had to replace my wardrobe a couple times over…for good reasons). We’ve never had an issue with documentation or anything. So I just make sure I get receipts and jot down what I dontated and the accountant takes care of the rest. I could NEVER go back to doing my own taxes. I know it doesn’t take advanced algebra but it’s still a major pain!

  13. HeatherLeigh says:

    Oh Margo,

    I wish I had floor space for a kitchen cart. I so envy peoples’ islands. I’ve decided that I need a better reason than a bigger kitchen for moving. There are so many great things about my teensy house (location, great neighbors, walk in closet), I have to muddle through with what I have. I definitely want a cart! My new cabinets are going to go along that back wall (so the configuration will be a "U" instead of a galley set up). I’ll get somje extra cabinet and counter space out of it. I can’t wait!

    You should have seen my retro kitchen before. Everything was dingy white (except for the beige/yellow linoleum with cigarette burns). Oh and there was a fruit border at the top of the walls. All of the borders in the house only went across three walls of the room. I wonder if that is some 80s version of feng shui?

    Also, part of the counter top was a butcher block (not to be confused with the cutting board). It was so horrible.

    tod-I forgot to mention that I did the tile backsplash myself. It’s going to be a casualty of the remodel, unfortunately. I think I’m going with stone countertops.

  14. Margo says:

    Well, at least your kitchen doesn’t still have the hole in the wall where the old iron stove would be.  Our house was built in 1907.  Man.  What a hoot that place has been.  We found so many interesting things when we blew through a wall to make a doorway.

  15. Vicki says:

    The remarks about feeding an army really do ring true in my house!

    (My husband is in the military – the US Army in fact!) So, yes, literally, it is important that I hold on to those teapots and decorative serving trays…

    Your kitchen does have a nice retro feel in its current form – although the knife storage in the upright position is quite scary! I guess you can always be quick on the draw if there is an intruder -or if someone takes out the fine wine by mistake! πŸ˜‰

    Good luck with your project and be sure to get a few special foo-foo coffee cups for your kitchen’s new look.


  16. RJD says:

    1) What the heck is that color on those cabinets?

    2) Wine cooler = tres groovy

    3) Lovely handwriting.  But far too organized recipes.

    4) Did I count two coffee makers?

    5) What is that thing back there by the knife rack, behind the pillar candle?  Is that an owl-shaped cookie jar?

    6) Where’s Jonas?  My bozos line up any time I’m near the kitchen.

  17. HeatherLeigh says:

    Ahh, I’m answering comments all out of order! So much for being organized!

    Mark- I probably have a cup of tea once every few years (you’ll be happy to know I drihnk it the English way…with milk). So having a teapot would be abiut as useful as having a dentists chair (I see him twice a year as well). And yes, the purgine is amazing. It will be amazinger when it’s out of my garage!

    Margo- at least 1907 means that it’s quaint of has some architectural interest. My house was built in 1968…go ahead try to say something good about 1968 architecture…hard isn’t it? PLus, there were some arches built into the house that don’t go with the style at all. I’ve covered one up, ignored another and found a way to make one work.

    Vicki-the knife storage scares my mom as well. It’s a VERY strong magnet. Maybe I’m trying too hard to appear chef-like : ) You are right about the wine…anything but the top shelf!

  18. Margo says:

    Hmm, you could always equate it to Breakfast at Tiffany’s charm?

    You are a regular Audrey Hepburn!! hahah πŸ™‚  I still want to see your celadon pottery πŸ˜‰

  19. HeatherLeigh says:

    That’s funny. I just recorded Breakfast at Tiffany’s because I have never seen it. It’s sitting in my DVR waiting to be eatched so I’ll get the reference soon!

    I’ll take a picture of the celadon : )

  20. HeatherLeigh says:


    1)It’s green. I think the color has been discontinued. I have not allowed myself to repaint them because I didn’t want to lost the motivation to get new ones. Hey, I painted that on myself and it was an improvement at the time! (It kind of matched the carpet at one time!)

    2)I like to have options.

    3) there’s such a thing as "too organized"? Perish the thought!

    4) Yes, the big one is a grind and brew with a thermal carafe. It’s my serious AM coffee maker. The other is my senseo that I am still trying to like and it’s just for one-cup emergency caffeine delivery.

    5) He hates the flash on the camera now that he knows it’s coming.

    5) It’s a chicken. It was my dad’s when he was a kid. Little known fact about me…I have a chicken in every room of my house. Quirky, huh?

  21. Jim S says:

    I couldn’t read all of your post Heather, but I could look at the pictures πŸ™‚ Nice place!

  22. Rob says:

    Heather, I just stopped by an low and behold, you’ve put up photos of your kitchen. Jarrod and I will be blogging soon enough, at which time we’ll be posting pics of our new digs. You may remember us from Jimmy’s Birthday Party ’06. In case you’re wondering it was quite the bash. You should attend next year!

  23. HeatherLeigh says:

    Wow…I do remember. Sweet doggies always stay in my memory.

  24. Tim says:

    My gosh, you’ve certainly hit a collective nerve, Heather.

    I agree with the person who said that is one dang clean kitchen. Are you sure you have a dog?

    Love purging. I might advise you never to have children, because the amount of stuff they gather would fill your house 3X over. Chances are if I step on something in the middle of the night in their room I will pick it up and drop it in the nearest trashcan without looking.

    I might be tempted to put up pictures of my backyard project on my blog.

    Guess I’ll have to finish it first.

  25. HeatherLeigh says:

    Tim, I think it might just look clean because the lighting makes it look really shiny. But if by clean you mean that I don’t leave stuff out and I wash the dishes as I go along and wipe up stuff up then yeah, that is probably me.

    I admit to cleaning the kitchen floor frequently. I can pick up the mats and run the roomba and I did just swiffer. I do quite enjoy a tidy kitchen.

    Good point about kids. It’s probably not in the cards for me. It has nothing to do with any ticking sounds in my head. I just don’t want to be a parent. I’m not evil or anything, and I totally enjoy my friends’ kids (and my neighbors have some of  the cutest, sweetest kids on the face of the earth). It isn’t about cleanliness at all but I admit that the lack of children in my household does make it easier to keep clean. Mostly because of the dog, I’ve gotten used to frequent floor cleaning. I may or may not be as compulsive as I seem. Who likes to have stuff stick to the bottom of their foot?

    I think you should post your backyard project mid-project so we can see your progress! I love the concept of transformation (as long as Ty Pennington isn’t involved..for some reason, he really bugs me…actually it isn’t "some reason", it’s how he baby talks. I hate it!).

  26. Steinkamp says:

    It looks much cleaner than our kitchen at Century Apartments.  I’m sorry – but remembering stuff like that just cracks me up. πŸ˜‰

  27. HeatherLeigh says:

    Steikamp-cracks me up too. I can still rmember exactly how it smells. Remeber when my (and my roommates) phone got turned off and you let me borrow the keys to your apartment (I think it was over a holiday) and I cleaned your room? That was actually really fun. Well, not the cleaning part the the surprising part. That whole apartment building was pretty rough and that was 19 (holy cow!) years ago. Dude, we are so old!

    BY the way, Joe Cerrell is up here working for the Gates Foundation. I spoke to him some years ago and one of his co-workers tells me he just had twins!

  28. marti says:

    Slide-in cutting boards are widely used in Europe in the top gourmet kitchens.  There is nothing to "throw up" about.   Bacteria on a cutting board dies when the board dries.  If you simply wipe the board with a damp cloth, that’s sufficent to keep it clean.  If the board is dripping wet from cutting meat or vegetables, wipe it dry and wait a couple minutes before you slide it back under the counter.

    I have two boards, one for dry cutting, such as bread, and one for fruits and vegetables.  If I’m going to cut meat, I generally use a cutting board on the counter with a built-in groove to catch the drippings.  You can, however, use the slide-cutting board for meat and simply wipe it clean like you before you cut fruit or vegetables.  To make clean-up easy, I store some anti-bacterial solution in a spray bottle.

    You might check to see if your cutting boards will come out.  Mine do, so I can walk them over the sink for a good scrubbing.  If your boards haven’t been used in awhile, you may get some peace of mind if you wash them and also get in the slot under your countertop.  The long-handles brushes sold in aquarium shops work well for this.  

    That said, the slide-in cutting board has many other uses.  I have one next to my stove, so when I’m taking out hot baking trays, I put a hotpag on the cutting board and put the tray on that.  It keeps the countertop free for other uses and I don’t have to worry about accidently burning it.

    I also use the slide-in cutting boards for holding my cookbook or other dishes when I need more counterspace for baking.  

    My kitchen is just large enough for an L-shape work area and a large rectangular kitchen table.  So, having the slide-in cutting boards is handy and sanitary.  

    So, don’t worry about excess germs.  Bacteria does not live on dried wood.  

    If you do decide to purchase new cutting boards, you might consider Hornbeam, which is a European wood.  This is popular in top kitchens because hornbeam prevents the formation of tannins when handling meat.  

  29. HeatherLeigh says:

    marti- I still don’t think that wiping down a board is enough to keep it clean. The thought of just wiping it down after cutting meat is scary to me. Bacateria grows in the cracks. There’s no way I am using that old cutting board. It will be gone soon anyway with my kitchen renovations. I have some nice bamboo ones I use anyway. I clean them with very hot soapy water. Maybe America is afraid of germs but I have to admit that I don’t even really like to handle meat so I’m going to err on the side of caution.

    Good idea using it to hold pots and cookbooks. I had not thought about that. I’ll look into the Hornbeam boards. I definitely want to get a separate one for meat. I was thinking of that plasticky kind but the Hornbeam ones sound interesting. Thanks for the recommendation.

  30. One Louder says:

    I wanted to update all 3 of you who care on the progress of my kitchen remodel as well as share with

  31. Amy Dewey says:

    I hope you had good results with Home Depot. It took them from Feb til Sept 2008 to finish mine. They wrecked the floor in doing it. The cabinets are white. The valance came in brown for months, it had to be reordered. One door didn’t come and had to be reordered  3 times and kept coming in the wrong size and once it came  bashed in at the top. When it did finally come in, and the installers came to put it in, the wrong hinges had come, so the hinges had to be reordered and they kept coming in the wrong sizes until on the 4th time, they were the correct size. One 33 inch long drawer front had no finish on front corner. They wanted me to touch it up with this tube of touch up paint. But they did re-order and it came  15 inches long drawer front came and then reordered &  a 15 inch drawer  came. The next time, it came correct. A door on the other side of the kitchen, eye heigth, had no finish on the corners and had to be reordered. They didn’t use local installers. Kraft Maid stopped sending things to my home and I would have to drive to Home Depot to pick up the articles. I stopped counting at 15. Then when there were a lot of things here for them to do, Home Depot would call me and say "The installers are going to be in the area tomorrow and they will swing by and do some installing for you."    I got very anxious, depressed, cried a lot, got to where I had migraine headaches, stress headaches, and my Dr has put me on pills for migraines, stress, anxiety, ulcers, has me going to a chiropractor and a psychiatrist because of all of this. It turns out that my cabinets are not really wood but probably have chemicals in them and since they have been installed, they smell so stinky, that when I open the cabinets, they make me nauseated. I went to Home Depot to smell their kitchen cabinets and there is no odor at all, even in cabinets that were installed the same month that mine were.

    I don’t feel well in my home. When I leave the house, I feel much better. When people come over and smell my cabinets, they don’t know what it is, unless it’s chemicals, don’t like it and say that it has no place in my kitchen. My house cleaner smokes and she can smell it.

    I have put my cabinets on Dispute because I have them on Home Depot cr card am not satisfied with the cabinets.

    You were smart and made sure you went with real wood and wont have trouble with toxic smells like I do. I am so sick and I think I will have to have mine torn out. I am so upset about all of this. I wish I could talk to someone who has had this experience. Help Me!!

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