Posted by Julia Bendis
I really don’t like Valentine’s Day! I hate everything about it, the stupid, corny Hallmark cards, the over-priced flowers, the overcrowded restaurants, the need to out-do each other with pricey gifts, etc… I am not saying that we shouldn’t show our love for the people in our lives, but why do we have to do it on February 14th, and spend a fortune while we are at it? Shouldn’t we be doing it every day of the year? Why do Americans become like herds of cattle on Valentine’s Day, all going in the same direction, to the same stores, buying the same flowers and jewelry?
See all of this presents a small problem for the man married to me. He actually likes Valentine’s Day! I know, very strange. My husband can be very romantic and creative when he wants to be, and since every year I beg him not to spend any money on this ridiculous holiday, he decided to go a little crazy this year. We haven’t done anything much the last few years, so I was in for a big surprise. All I knew was that we were going overnight somewhere, the kids were going to Grandma’s and I was to pack a nice dress and a swimsuit. No, wait he said a bikini. I think the man forgets I haven’t owned a bikini in about ten years. On top of it, its February, who in their right mind is going swimming? But, I promised that I was going to go along with it, and started packing.
He took me to the beautiful Laguna Cliffs Resort and Spa in Dana Point, CA. I’ve been to Dana Point many times, but have no clue how I’ve never seen this Resort before, I didn’t even know it existed! Not only was this place beautiful, but the service was even better. What I found out later was that my husband got there the day before, had brought over roses, champagne, my favorite See’s chocolates and a necklace for the hotel to lay out in the room. The Manager was so touched by his thoughtfulness, she threw in complimentary breakfast and use of their Spa. Everything was going great, I was overjoyed by my husbands’ creativity, and he was very pleased with himself for pulling it off. We were both taking pleasure in the peace and quiet that comes with not having children around, especially during our romantic dinner and breakfast over looking the Harbor.
Feeling a bit guilty that we couldn’t share this beautiful resort with our kids, and wanting to take full advantage of the price tag that came with this gorgeous hotel, we decided to have my parents bring the kids over the next day. As the kids splashed around in the heated pool, I sat on my behind and did nothing. That’s a new activity for me: doing absolutely nothing. And of course, having a bladder the size of a peanut, I ventured out to find the closest restroom. All three of my boys get extremely annoyed whenever we have to stop our activities to find me a restroom. I tried to explain to them that when you carry a giant baby for nine months in your belly, then have to push that giant baby out of your stomach, it leaves you with an invalid for a bladder. For some reason that explanation did not make them feel sorry for me, but thank their lucky stars that they are not girls.
Here is where this story gets interesting. They had one of those “family” restrooms next to the pool. As I closed the door, I realized that there was no way to lock it. It was missing a lock. Having no modesty, I didn’t really care about someone walking in on me. So, I wasn’t at all surprised when someone was fumbling with the doorknob trying to open it. I told them to hold their horses, as I was almost done, thinking they will wait. Nope, he didn’t wait. I know he heard me, yet there he was standing in the door frozen in time staring at me. It was a good 30 seconds before he finally snapped out of it, said ‘sorry’ and left. But not before taking a good look.
The funny thing is that I don’t even care about some stranger seeing me half naked. All I care about is WHY he wouldn’t stop staring, and what’s with that look on his face? Did my huge c-section scar scare him off? I can’t tell you how great it was to go back to the pool, and having to sit across from that guy for an hour. What a wonderful Valentine’s weekend it was. Oh well, at least we got free breakfast and a great view from our room…
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February 10, 2011 | 11:45 am
Posted by Julia Bendis
Does having a decal of children, dogs and your entire family on your car make you a better Mom? And more importantly, does NOT having one make me a bad Mom?
I was pondering that question as I sat in traffic on the 405 freeway the other day. As usual, I was stuck behind a Minivan with one of those stickers on the back window. You know which ones I am talking about! There is a stick figure of a man, a stick figure of a woman in a skirt, a smaller girl/child stick figure, a boy stick figure, a baby stick figure, a couple of dog stick figures and of course a cat. Those are usually on the left side of the back window. On the right side of the window, there is typically some kind of a decal/sticker for whatever sports league, or high school team the kid is playing on. We are all so happy for you and your kid!
I am still waiting to see if I can find a Minivan with the Two-Mother decal on the back window, next to the children, or Two-Fathers. I’d be happy with either one to tell the truth. I hardly doubt that I will ever see that in Orange County. I asked my husband if I could get one of those Two-Mother decals on my anti-Minivan. His response wasn’t what I had hoped: “Don’t you think our neighbors, friends, and teachers already think we are weird enough? I am pretty sure the home-made ‘No on Prop 8’ signs were enough of a clue that we are a bunch of Liberals. ” Good point babe!
But seriously, does the fact that I don’t want any of that crap on my car make me a bad parent? I don’t want to display my entire family in cartoon stick figures on the back of my window! If anything, I would get the Two-Mother decal just to see the reaction on people’s faces when they drive past me. It doesn’t mean that I don’t love my kids or my dog or my husband. I guess I just don’t understand the point of publicly displaying a known fact that MOST Mothers love their kids…
Although, I do have one sticker on the back of my car. Its my Latvia decal. I only put it there to watch as the drivers behind me pulling their necks out, trying to figure out what the hell Latvia is and what it means. A few years ago, I actually had a Mother come up to me in a parking lot asking what Soccer league that was and where she could find it!?!? Moron.
Here is my point: we all know you got kids, we all know you love your kids, but not all of us want to graffiti our cars with decals of our kids, dogs, cats and other animals. Just my opinion…
February 8, 2011 | 12:42 pm
Posted by Julia Bendis
As we all sat around watching Super Bowl last Sunday, and I watched the commercials, I couldn’t help but cringe every time an inappropriate commercial came on. I wouldn’t even care so much if the kids around the country weren’t watching it, including my 5 and 11-year-olds. The occasional skin-clad twenty-year-old models, and sexual references are nothing new to advertising, and as the parents we expect it by now, and try to shield our children as best as we can. But when you are raising boys who want to watch the Super Bowl with their Dad, how do you protect them from watching other things that are projected on the screen?
I am not even talking about the commercials, since we are all used to the negative images in them. I’m sure I am not the only parent that have had to explain to my 5-year-old what an Erectile Dysfunction is, and why its so bad if you have an Erection that lasts for more than 4 hours. (He knows that he needs to call 911 or get to a hospital immediately). But what do I tell both of my kids when the announcer on Fox Sports starts talking about Ben Roethlisberger raping a girl last summer? Why do they need to talk about that during the game? And what do I tell my boys?
“Kids, see that giant, steroid-driven, scary-looking number 7 Quarterback? Well, what the announcer was trying to say is that he “ALLEGEDLY” raped a girl in a bar. Oh, you don’t know what rape means, or the word ‘allegedly’? I am so glad that Troy Aikman decided to bring that up during the Super Bowl game when kids are watching it too! Let’s thank Mr. Aikman, kids. Rape means that a person is forcing you to have sex with them. Oh, that’s right you are just starting to learn about sex. Are you confused? Don’t get upset because you don’t understand why a person would force a woman to have sex with them. I know its hard to enjoy the game now, and you keep thinking about that poor woman. But, she is alright now, she is very rich after the incident.”
I would personally like to thank Troy Aikman and Joe Buck for not only educating my kids about the immoral football players, as well as opening a can of worms that I was hoping not to have to deal with until my boys were mentally capable of dealing with it when they were much older, but also teaching my kids a very valuable lesson:
All you have to do is throw money at it, and your wrongs become rights!
February 4, 2011 | 6:30 pm
Posted by Julia Bendis
Dear Wescom Credit Union Employees:
I am writing this letter because I just spent 30 minutes on the phone speaking with one of your Imbeciles, please excuse the spelling of that word, the auto-corrector doesn’t have a suggestion for me.
Anyway, I just wasted 30 minutes of my life and would like for you to re-pay me with the $5 that you originally stole from me, plus interest in the amount of 200.55%. The value of 30-minutes of my life comes to a total of $50.13. The $5 was under the “checking fee”, which I was trying to get back when I phoned you. Let me remind you dear Wescom employees that when a person signs up for a “FREE” account, it means you will never go into their account and take money that does not belong to you!
I understand that over the last 15 years or so, Wescom has become a much bigger bank than it originally used to be. And of course, the bigger you are, the more crap you can get away with. I also know that you will not be crying if I take my hard-earned money out of your bank. I am not sure what my point is here, kind of lost my train of thought… I can see how that doesn’t make my case very strong in my direction. Oh, yes I remember, you are all a bunch of scumbags. Look, the auto-corrector didn’t even bother putting the red wavy line across that word. I think it agrees with me. Yeah!
What I am trying to say here is that I will be closing my account, and taking my money across the street to “Joe Shmoes” Bank, but NOT before I get my $5 back!
So, here are some suggestions about how you can give back my $5 and 30-minutes of my life back from sitting on hold with you idiots.
1. You can send that Imbecile that I talked to on the phone to baby-sit my children while I go get a manicure. You have my address, right? I have a very fancy party to go to this weekend, but haven’t had time to get myself pampered.
2. If he doesn’t particularly like children, which I am guessing he might not, he could instead clean the bathrooms. I haven’t gotten to that today, been a very busy day.
3. If you have already taken my suggestion and fired the Imbecile, you can send someone else. I don’t mind at all.
4. You can also send me any office supplies that are sitting on your desk right now, worth $5. I really don’t mind if they are used either.
5. You could send me a gift card for a Spa day for a total of 30 minutes. I know that it would be crazy for me to think that a Spa day would return 30 minutes of my life, but it would be so relaxing, in turn making me forget how pissed off I am about my $5.
6. If none of these sound appealing to you, there is always the option of just putting $50.13 into my account.
The choice is yours, and I will be fine with whichever one you decide to go with. If you would like to read more on my suggestions, feel free to visit my website at: www.easternblocklox.wordpress.com
Your comments are always welcome!
February 1, 2011 | 10:45 am
Posted by Julia Bendis
Years ago, I had applied for a position with the Department of Homeland Security. Why would I apply for a position with the Homeland Security? Who knows… Remember my post about my ADD, and pins in my ass? Well, that’s why. This was right after 9/11, and they just formed this new Department. Homeland Security was looking for people that spoke fluent Russian, to interview potential immigrants that are trying to come to the U.S. My family and I had to go through that interview process when we immigrated here. So, when my oldest son started school I decided to go back to work. The position they advertised looked very lucrative. Pretty good starting salary, full government benefits and all I had to do was sit on my butt all day, and talk with people. If you know me, you understand how I could not turn that down!
I filled out an online questionnaire that only took six hours to complete, faxed over all the necessary documents, and sat back and waited. And waited, and waited. When I received a letter in the mail six month later, I seriously thought that someone was playing a joke on me, and purposely applied me for a position with DHS. I completely forgot about it.
The letter asked me to come down to San Diego for a written test, and then wait some more. A full year and eight months of my second pregnancy later, I received another letter telling me that I had passed the written test with 96%, and now they were scheduling me for a physical exam to make sure I was in good mental and physical shape. I was so excited, yet confused about why I needed to be in a good physical health to sit at a desk all day?!?! How was I going to hide my 8-month pregnant belly… Not to mention, how was I going to do at least 10 sit-ups, run up and down the stairs, and do at least 10 jumping jacks? To a normal person, reading that letter would have set off some kind of a red flag in their head. Not to me. I was as excited as President Clinton upon learning that Jewish girls were allowed in the White House!
Thankfully for me, this is the government we are talking about, they weren’t booking the exam for another three month. That gave me time to have the kid, pass him off to Mom, get rid of all the baby weight, get into a body-builder shape, and all in two whole months. I really thought I could do it. Hell, if Kate Hudson and Angelina Jolie can do it, I can do it. And they were losing weight for a much greater good that serving their country, they were doing it for the love of film and nude scenes.
I show up to a Medical office for my physical exam feeling pretty confident. I am instructed to change into my “work-out clothes”. I really didn’t want to explain to the nurse that my “work-out clothes” don’t include a sports bra and shorts, but rather a bed with some nice 600-thread sheets on it, but I did it anyway.
First, I did the drug test which didn’t worry me at all. Being a mom to a 5-year-old and a newborn doesn’t leave much time for recreational drugs, unless you count alcohol as one. Next they had me do a full physical with a 300-lb woman who I am pretty sure was enjoying it a lot more than I was… When it came time for a physical endurance test, I was sent to another room that had a small step ladder, a chair and a mat in it. I knew I was in trouble when the amazon woman pulled out pages of what I was supposed to complete. At first, I had to do ten push-ups, while she sat on my feet. I tried to explain to her that I had just had a baby about two months before, and wasn’t sure if I could even do one push-up. Whatever stomach muscles I had pre-pregnancy were long gone! She pretended not to hear me, and repeated the order. See, most sane people would have told her to go where the sun don’t shine, and run out of there. But since I am far from sane, I kept taking her orders while trying not to cry. I managed to do one push-up, at which point I was very proud of myself. The amazon woman just gave me a glance, and told me to get myself up off the mat and start doing jumping jacks.
By the time I was done, I felt like I was hit by a truck, and I am pretty sure I passed out for a bit there too. At the end, they handed me a small packet containing my results, and told me NOT to open it until I get a letter in the mail stating that I can open it. As soon as I got in my car, I opened it. It stated that I basically failed every single physical test, and they do not recommend me for the position I applied for. As I sat there pondering, again what the hell my physical strength has to do with doing a desk job, I realized that some idiot at Homeland Security probably got my paperwork switched with another applicant. Since it is absolutely impossible to get through to any government agencies by phone, I had no choice but to sit and wait for another letter.
That letter finally came three months after the physical exam, and this time it stated that I was moving on to an actual Human to Human interview. This in-person interview was going to be held at the FBI offices in San Diego, since the position would be out of that office. Wait a minute, I applied for the Orange County offices position. How the hell was I going to get to San Diego every day? Not wanting to pass up an opportunity to work for the government, and having gone this far already I couldn’t just let this go by, I had to go to the interview! Once there, I thought I would simply explain the situation, tell them that something got mixed up along the way, and we would all have a big laugh about it while they offer me the greatest job ever.
I show up at the FBI offices in San Diego wearing my brand new Ann Taylor suit, happy as a clam! As I looked around the room, I had a strange feeling that I was in the wrong place. All other applicants were either dressed in CHP uniforms, police uniforms or a combination between a policewoman, a hooker and a cross-dresser. The green eye shadow really gave it away. I felt completely out of place, especially because they were looking me up and down like I was their prey. They were trying to figure out what position I had applied for and why…
Once I was called inside, I was standing in front of a very long conference table. In my whole life, I have never seen a table that long, and I am pretty sure it was there for one reason: Intimidation. There were only three people at the table, why else would they need such a long table besides to intimidate the interviewees? There was a very large gentleman wearing a California Highway Patrol uniform, why the hell was he there? Next to him there was an even larger gentleman wearing a Military uniform, and lastly a tiny bald man in civilian clothes. Nothing more intimidating to a five-foot-nothing girl than to be interviewed by giant men in uniform, except for the bald guy. He didn’t scare me.
Baldy started the interview by telling me that they will each read one question for me to answer. They were very random questions, such as my work ethic and if I would ever leave an Officer behind if they were hurt. I really didn’t understand how it had any relation to the position that I applied for, and being too scared to ask any questions of my own, I just kept answering what I thought they wanted to hear. “No, Sir I would never leave an Officer behind!” What Officer, what the hell is he talking about? Where and why would I need to leave an Officer behind? Like during lunch, at Chili’s? You would think at this point I would just walk out, but I didn’t. I guess I really wanted to see where this would go…
The last question they asked me was: “I’m going to paint a scenario for you: Its dark, the middle of the night. You are all alone at the border of U.S. and Mexico. Your life may be in danger, and you have no way of calling for back-up. Do you still take the job?” I stared at them with a black look on my face, trying to figure out if this was a joke. I started to say something in the nature of: “I think I may be interviewing for the wrong position here…” The giant in the Military uniform cut me off saying: “Would you like me to repeat the question?” They were not going to take “NO” for an answer. I wanted to yell out: You can repeat the question all you want, buddy. The answer is still going to be NO! But instead, I mumbled something, I can’t even remember what. They told me that was the end of the interview, and I need to wait out in the hall for their decision. As I stood in the hall for what seemed like an eternity, I kept going over what just happened inside the conference room. I was baffled, scared and pretty sure that I had peed in my pants a little. For a tough chick like me, this sure seemed over the top.
Why the hell I kept waiting out in the hall is beyond me. What comforted me was the fact that they would come out and tell me its a “Hello NO!”, and in a way I was relieved, since it was obvious I was interviewing for the wrong job! Well, it was obvious to me, but what happened next was an apparent lack of common sense in our government!
They finally let me back in, but this time don’t even ask me to sit down what I thought was a bit rude, but who am I to argue with the Federal Government. Without any hesitation, all three looking at me they announce that I got the job of Border Patrol Officer! What? Me? A hundred and ten pound, five foot nothing, Ann Taylor suit wearing, never go camping or having desire to, afraid of the ocean, 5-star hotel minimum, never seen or touched a real gun in person, getting lost in a city I’ve lived in for twenty years, forgetting which way to turn when getting off the freeway ramp while going home, taking two showers minimum daily, wearing make-up to the gym, sanitizing every public toilet before using it only not to ever sit on it, hypochondriac with irritable bowl syndrome? You want me to do what? Stand and guard our borders with Mexico, day or night with a weapon? I am pretty sure I said something along the lines of: But there will be a nice, private toilet near-by, right?
Don’t you feel extremely comforted knowing our government is sending tiny, inadequate, young, Russian-born, Jewish mothers to guard our borders against human traffickers, drug smugglers, and anyone else wanting to get into this country?
January 28, 2011 | 3:30 pm
Posted by Julia Bendis
Is it terrible that I am always tricking my kids into eating or doing something that they don’t want to do? For example, for the first 8 years of my son’s life, he absolutely LOVED eating fish. Not just fish, seafood of any kind, he even had calamari a few times. How that could be, you ask? Well, let’s just say he didn’t KNOW he was eating seafood…
-Salmon, we told him was “Pink Chicken”.
-Shrimp became “Curled up chicken that was cooked in a different way”.
-Calamari was “Fried Chicken that at the end was sliced up in tiny long pieces and put on top of one large round piece of chicken”.
-And California Roll sushi became “sushi with pieces of that same pink chicken in it and slices of cucumber”.
Maybe my kids are just really, really gullible or naive, but it worked. I swear it worked for the first 8 years of my oldest life! You know what happened after? He started to listen to his friends, doing some research on his own, even the internet happened for him. And all of a sudden, my wonderful eater became my inquisitive eater!
He started questioning, and rejecting everything I served to him. “Mom”, he said one day. “You know how there are vegetarians in this world, they just can’t bring themselves to eat meat? Well, I am a Meat-arian! I can’t make myself eat poor, defenseless fish! Its disgusting, some seafood still have a face on!”
I would have been fine with that, since I could have started being even more creative, but he started brainwashing his little brother! So, now they both dissect the food that I make, and make arguments against it. That’s ok though, I can get very persuasive and clever with cooking. Just need to start hiding the food WITHIN the food!
Let’s see how that goes…
January 26, 2011 | 10:56 am
Posted by Julia Bendis
Seeing an older lady at the grocery store today reminded me of my own Grandmother. She came to the U.S. a few years after we did. At 70 years old, she was eager to learn the culture, to try everything new, and to live the American dream. My Grandmother had lived through the Holocaust, moving from town to town by horse and carriage to avoid getting caught by the Nazis, survived Communism, had all kinds of health issues, and yet she was the most positive person I have ever known!
She lived with us for a while, but always wanted a place of her own. Being an incredibly social person, and always living in a metropolitan city, she was very depressed living in the Orange County’s suburbia. So, when we found her a place in a big apartment building that was known to house quite a bit of Orange County’s Russian population, she was ecstatic. Those were her requirements: big apartment building, Russians, if they are Russian Jews even better, but she was ready to tolerate any Russians.
As we were busy moving her in, she was busy making new friends. By the end of moving day, she had already made friends with – her words exactly: “the nosy red-head upstairs, the deaf one down the hall, the one in the wheelchair who has a nice looking husband, and the psychic professor who would like to tell me my future.” My Grandma had a thing against people’s names, she only referred to them by their attributes, mishaps, or hair color. As we found out later, apparently Grandma was using the wheelchair’s husband for rides to the Russian store, since she didn’t drive a car. I don’t even want to know what she gave him in return. As she liked to say quite frequently, “his wife doesn’t do anything, but complain and bitch, she won’t even have sex with him”, which was more than enough information that I needed to know.
When my Grandma passed away years later, going through her belongings we found a box that contained only what I can describe as: a lifetime supply of Condoms! They were also Russian, Communist-issued Condoms that I spoke about in my earlier posts. I believe that she was smuggling them from my parents! Not only was she smuggling condoms every time we had her over, but somehow other things would go missing after she’d leave as well. For example, rolls of toilet paper would be gone, and you know how big all Russians are on toilet paper! After the sand paper we used back in the USSR, American toilet paper is like heaven to us… I am not sure if she was re-distributing it between all the Russians in her building, or saving it for a rainy day, but a roll here and there was always missing. We never understood why she wouldn’t just ask us for it, or have us buy it at the store, we never said no to her, always took her shopping. Go figure…
Even though she didn’t have a car, somehow my Grandma got around to many places on her own. We did take her grocery shopping at least once a week, and there was nothing more hysterical than watching her shop. There were many times when I wanted to run out of the store out of sheer embarrassment, but held it together long enough to get her out of there. My Grandma didn’t speak English, but she did speak Russian, Yiddish and knew sign language. And when I say “sign language”, I mean literally using her hands to show, point, and demonstrate what she was talking about. Even though I was always right next to her in the supermarket, she would go up to people in the store and start asking them where the certain items were! And not just store employees either! If she couldn’t find anyone that worked there, she would just walk up to random strangers. Imagine a tiny, four-foot-ten-inches old lady coming up to you, waving her arms and hands violently in the air, pointing to random objects, meanwhile speaking Russian, Yiddish and her version of English! Most of the people had a look that only said one thing: Terror. The first time she did it, I explained to her that she shouldn’t do that, it scared people because they can’t understand her. “Nonsense, she looks Jewish, she must speak Yiddish!”, was her usual response. Or: “They understand my English when its accompanied by me pointing to items in the store.” How can anyone argue with that?
Grandma always reminded us that she could read, write and speak fluent English. You know why? Because she was a Dentist back in the Soviet Union, which meant that she learned how to write prescriptions in Latin, which was basically English! As much as we argued, and tried explaining to her that just because she learned some very basic Latin names for medications, did not mean that she could speak the English language, all to no avail… It was useless, she was a very strong and independent woman and insisted on doing everything herself. After a while, we just let her do her thing and just stood in the corner of the grocery store, waiting until the Manager announced: “Did anyone lose a Grandma that seems to be speaking a few foreign languages at once?”
January 21, 2011 | 6:05 pm
Posted by Julia Bendis
As I was visiting my kids’ Pediatrician the other day, again, I thought about how often I am in there. Is it strange that I am on a first name basis with the front desk staff, or that I know more about what’s going on in their life than I need to know? Speaking of knowing too much about people’s lives, why is it that I always have to start a conversation with random strangers? It’s almost a disease with me, I cannot sit across from someone in a waiting room and NOT start a conversation! At the same Pediatrician’s office I start talking with a mom after hearing her kids’ horrible cough. After five minutes, I know way too much information! I know where this woman lives, how many kids she has, the schools they attend, how annoying her husband is, etc…
Most people are happy and content to sit quietly, enjoying their magazine or playing on their phone. Not me, I am neither content nor happy until I have made at least one friend with the people in the waiting room, or as my friends would say: “annoy the hell out of at least one person in the waiting room”. My brother calls it “the gift of gab”. The rest of my family calls it being annoying and nosy. I like my brother’s version better.
This Pediatrician I speak of is the same one that I gave my blog’s website to, so she could check out my shtick. Why would I want my kids’ Doctor reading about useless information, random vents and my kids adventures in the bathroom, you ask? Beats me. I probably shouldn’t be telling her that there are days when I lock myself in the bathroom with a bottle of Jack either, but I do. Yes, I agree most sane and rational Mothers wouldn’t share that kind of information, but I’d like to think that my Pediatrician and I have developed a good rapport by now. I tell her the bad and the ugly, and she tells me that they all grow up normal eventually. I tell her about the drinking at four in the afternoon, and she laughs her head off. I ask her if my family’s mental instability has possibly transferred into my children, and she tells me to wash those thoughts away with a good bottle of Merlot. I am more of a vodka straight up kind of a gal, but that will do.
See, she is a great Doctor, every Mother should have one like her. She doesn’t judge, or threaten to call Child Protective Services. Well, not yet. I am sure after reading some of my material, it might change…