Archive for the ‘Vermont’ Category

My Digs

So TwoAdults posted a fun tour of her home, and now I’m copying her because I liked seeing where she lived, and thought you might like to see my house. Also: too lazy to come up with my own blog fodder. SO.

This house! We’ve been here almost exactly two years. Xander calls it The Blue House, because, well:


I don’t know if many/any of you were following me when we were in the process of house hunting (other than Jonna, who kindly emailed me with neighborhood help and then virtually head patted me when I could not understand New England culture from thousands of miles away), BUT, this was not our first pick. We had two other houses we wanted and put offers in on. One of those houses had black mold growing in the attic and the owners wouldn’t do anything about it. The other house was owned by an insane person who wouldn’t let us complete our inspection because we were creating a culture of fear. YES, REALLY.

Anyway, we are happy with our home so no one tell it that it was our third choice, OK?

We never use the front door because the  steps tricksy and steep and also we always park in the garage and so we go in via that entrance.


This is the entry right off the garage. It is dank and dark and kinda blah but whatever, we can remove muddy boots and head in. We never painted it because we were so rushed to get in and settled because John’s job had already started. The laundry room is the door on the right, on the left is the entrance to the finished part of the basement.


The laundry area. Don’t look too closely.


This is the view looking directly out of the entry. There is a guest room on the right, and a small corridor to the stairs to the left.


Guest room/storage room. We didn’t repaint it because the blue was a nice enough color that we thought “eh.”  The lighting is poor in the picture, but I really like the quilt i got for the bed. It matches the blue well and brightens up the room in general.


This is the about half of the basement. Behind me are some shelves, an unused wood stove, and John’s studio set up is just to the left of the frame. Just outside of the picture to the right is the door for the guest room.


Looking the other way. John’s computes to the right, the glass doors in the other picture right behind me. We DID paint the main room (where “we” = John). It was garishly yellow. Now it’s a nice sunny orangeish color.


The wood stove. We intend to get it cleaned this year so we can use it. To the right of the stove are the stairs. Let’s go up.


At the top of the stairs is an open hallway and the kitchen. This is the eat-in part of the kitchen. We also didn’t paint in here because, again, the colors were nice enough, even if we would not have picked them out ourselves. Also, we had no interest in taking apart the cabinets to repaint them. The small frames on the right are some Instagram prints.



Some other views of the kitchen, and bonus small person making a mess doing Serious Art Work. If we were to spend money on the house, we would replace the floor and the counters here, because they’re both pretty cheap and blah. But, you know. We’re not.

Continuing through the kitchen (behind me in that last picture) is our Main Room. Xander calls it “The Other Room.” Part of it used to be the dining room, I think, many owners before us, but was since converted to be part of the living room.


This is the view from the kitchen. This is the part that was originally a dining room.


Another (dark) angle.

Turning direction around is this:


(I’m going to stop shrinking the images, OK? You can handle the size; I believe in you). To the right of me are some book shelves, to the left and way in the front of the picture is the front door. To the left of that reddish rug is the fireplace.


The fireplace is a big reason we bought the house. It’s made from river stones and local wood and it’s lovely. To the right is the front door, and to the left is a green hallway that all the bedrooms are off of.  But first, a close up:


John is really good at creating little scenes around the house.

Oh, right, and the bookshelves opposite the fireplace:


The hallway is not very big, and neither are any of the rooms, but I like the cozy feel, honestly.


This is at the far end of the hall, looking towards the living room. The open door on the left is Xander’s room. Luna’s room is on the left behind that, and the Master is just to my right.


Xander’s room, in it’s naturally messy state. We DO pick it up, I swear, but he’s three, so it never lasts.  The green in it is darker that we would have picked, but we opted not to change it.


Luna’s room. It used to be my office before there was a Luna, which is why this room is a bit more done than Xander’s. Here it is looking towards the door:


This is the master, again, the original paint color. And, again, because it was close enough.


To the right and behind me is a a little alcove that holds our dressers and a whole bunch of crap. To the left is a tiny little bathroom. I tend to use the “big” bathroom in the hall, though. I didn’t take any of those pictures because I forgot. Also they tend to be cluttered because neither of them are very big. That is one of my biggest bummers about the house: I want a bigger bathroom with a real, nice tub to soak in.

BUT, I left the best for last. At least, for me. Off the kitchen is our deck, and it is lovely.


I love it. It’s so pretty. And John and I spend a ridiculous amount of money on flowers for it each spring/summer but it’s so worth it. We do have a decent amount of property, but it’s very hilly and steep and forresty, so it’s not really the most kid friendly yard for playing. But this deck is great.


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Them Apples

We went apple picking last week! Let’s see how that went.


There sure are a lot of trees. I can just…pick any ol’ one?

OK, I have an apple. Now what?


I just…eat it? But it’s not sliced. And is this…a peel?
Oh, hey, now! I get it! An APPLE!
Back off, lady, this one’s mine.
Wait. They have tractors??  Gottagoseeyoulatersendapples.


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Weekend Wrap Up

Oh. This weekend, you guys. Not to overstate things, but this past weekend was perhaps the greatest one ever in human history.

The sun came out, the warm weather returned, and our little family spent as many hours outdoors as we possibly could. We went to one of our favorite spots: a local bakery right next to a park, and Xander went down the Big Kid Slide all by himself (and only ate a negligible amount of rocks). We went for long walks with the dog. We put Xander’s high chair on the deck and let him eat lunch while pointing wildly at all the birds (buh! buh!).  We played with our next door neighbors and Xander ate his first ever popsicle. (Verdict? More, more, more moremoremore.)

It was so great.

And needed. I need this crazy long winter/interim period to be over. I need it to be spring. Or summer. Whatever. Just warm and sunny with scattered storms, sure, whatever, but NICE.  The longer the cold and gray held on, the more I found myself wondering what have we done? Now that it’s nice again, I’m remembering the appeal of VT.

And THEN, to make Monday’s return less burtal, JS shared this link with me. A Trader Joe’s in Vermont? Can I even convey how awesome this would be? This is where we did at least 80% of our shopping.

Here are some pictures from the weekend.

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I’m Not A Liar

I’ve just changed what my definition of “regular posting” means.

More than once a week? REGULAR. Back off, Internet!

This week. It…it has been hard.

Xander is going through some pretty tough developmental crap (WonderWeeks for the win!) this week (walking/talking right around the corner) (oh! X is now singing “more” while saying “mo mo mo” all thanks to Baby Signing Time!), and he has teeth (always with the teeth!) coming in, AND he has a rotten cold.  Thus? He has been rotten. But also so pitiful. He’s SO miserable. He wants to sleep, but can’t breathe. When he’s awake he’s constantly crying and clinging and whining and throwing honest to God tantrums (head banging! My 14 month old is a head banger! WTH?!) and I get so effing fed up with him, and then seconds later I’m snatching him up into my arms because oh, he’s just so sad and uncomfortable.

(This morning, though, he woke up way too early (5:30?), and was too whipped up to take a nap in the morning, so I brought him into bed with me and JS around 8 and eventually he fell asleep and Oh, Oh, Oh, it was so sweet. We haven’t co-slept since he quit nursing. I was so exhausted, and wanted to sleep, but I spent the entire 90 minutes just staring at him, and stroking his little back.) (It was all magical and crap until he woke up screaming….as in, he started screaming in his sleep and kept going long after he woke up.)

So, yeah. The week has been a lot of trying to pacify an extraordinarily crabby baby. But we’ve had fun, too. We went apple picking! We went to our town’s pre-preschool play group. I went to a clothing swap and got X some rad sweaters. I’m missing a potluck tonight because Xander was too miserable to go out, which kinda sucks, but you know. It happens.)

We’re still (slowly) working on the house…hanging pictures and putting some of our Special Treasures out. We have a few more major-ish purchases in the way of rugs, shelves, a chair or two. But it’s great, it really is. I love the house, I love our woods. I love the park in our neighborhood.

Sorry for the boring update, but that’s all we got going on over here.

Have a great weekend!

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Moving is a big deal, you know? You change just about everything in your life: geography, stores you frequent, brands you’re used to, climate, friends. So it makes SOME sense that I’d want to use this time of massive change to, well, change some things about myself.

Not drastically. I mean, I’m me and I like who I am and all that. But there are definitely some areas of my life and personality that warrant some improvement.

  1. Getting ready. Since Xander (and also since leaving work to finish grad school) I have gotten out of the habit of actually getting ready for the day. I mean, I bathe…somewhat regularly, at least. And I put a bra on (most days). But I always feel better about myself when I put a bit of effort into my appearence. This doesn’t mean I need to curl my hair or apply full makeup each day. But perhaps SOME makeup and a hair style other than a hasty ponytail. Also: STOP WEARING T-SHIRTS, FTLOG. They are not flattering!
  2. Reading. This is a new problem. I’m usually a GREAT reader. But Xander is much more active and demanding, so I want to be sure and carve out time each day to read.
  3. Same goes for writing. It’s been long enough. I need to write more.
  4. And take REAL pictures. IE: not with my PHONE.
  5. Budget. I’m…..horrible with money. Really and truly. I don’t know why. My father is a financial planner. I just…I don’t know. I suck. I do. I TRY to be frugal. But I always fail. So, I want to be better. In part, I have no choice, because we took a not insignificant pay cut to move here. But also – I hate being wasteful. I do. It’s silly. And I don’t need to buy as much stuff as I do. So. Yes. I need to pay attention to prices. shop for bargains…you know, stuff that EVERYONE ALREADY DOES.
  6. Walking Tonks. She’s feeling neglected and stressed. I need to walk her more and give her more positive attention, rather than, STOP BARKING! THAT’S NOT YOUR TOY! NO! SHUT UP! STOP IT!  (I’m so pleasant to be around!)
  7. Keeping the house tidy. I’m decent at it, but I’m also pretty good and turning on my blinders. I’m not talking freshly mopped floors every day, or anything nutso like that. But I’d like to keep the doggy-tumbleweeds at bay.

But, just for the sake of balance. These are the things I already do well (ish) and want to keep on doing:

  1. Cooking. I love to cook, and I’m pretty good at it (provided I have a recipe). I rarely decide to do take-out because I’m not “in the mood” to cook. On the nights JS works late, I’m not above scrambling myself an egg for dinner, but I do a good job of making real meals twice  day (lunch is up for grabs, sorry). Especially for Xander – I’m pretty proud that I’ve been able to keep up with making the majority of his food myself. (Um, obviously, this is not a judgement of anyone for NOT cooking or NOT making their own baby food. Everyone’s life is different, etc… )
  2. Being outgoing. I do not come by this naturally. I’m about as introverted as they come. Seriously. But I’ve already joined a Mom’s group, and attended two other/unrelated play groups. For Xander, yes, but also for me. To meet other moms. Try to make friends. It’s hard. I also want to try and find a church. Again. (I hate church shopping. I hate it so much.)
  3. Laundry. I love clean clothes. I love to fold them. I love to smell them. I love to not stink.
  4. Maintaining Patience. Again. This is against the grain for me. I get frustrated SO easily. I do. But I’ve been working on it a LOT, and I’m happy to say that even with all the stresses of moving, I’m pleased, overall, with my attitude.

And, since I know you came here to see baby pictures, here you go:

Though, he’s hardly a baby any more. *sniff*

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Catching Up

I keep meaning to post, but I don’t have a whole lot to say to justify an entire post all to itself. So I will give you bullets, because that’s just how my life is right now: short snippets that sometimes relate but often don’t.

  • ONE WEEK UNTIL CLOSING. Just sayin’. In one week we will have a house of our very own. And in one week I will see it for the first time. YAY! Ha ha. I don’t know when our furniture is coming, because it’s being stored in California (we so got played with our moving company this time, y’all, so played) and they’re driving it here. But, still. House!
  • Along with the house, we have picked out a new (King Sized!) bed that we want, and the coolest lounger chair EVER. It’s lime green. We just have to measure to make sure, you know, that the bed will fit in our room.
  • I completed the first part of the NYCMidnight Flash Fiction contest. We had 48 hours to write a 1000 word (or less) story about a specific genre, location, and object. I was pretty lucky. I got open genre, 13th floor of an office building, and toy soldier. In a month I’ll get a new assignment and then they’ll add up all of our points and blah blah blah, it’ll be a few months until I know if I’ve moved to the next level or not.
  • I had a bummer of a play date today. I won’t go into it too much except to say: I felt like I did at the 6th grade dance, when no one would dance with me and Leslie and Melissa and all of their friends laughed at me for wearing a brown skirt. (NOT THAT I’M BITTER, LESLIE.)
  • So! Other than that, Vermont is so incredibly beautiful that it’s hard to describe. It’s so….green! (But, um, some of the leaves? Are CHANGING COLORS. Not, like, all of them, or enough to say that the season is changing yet, but still. RED AND YELLOW LEAVES IN AUGUST, WTF). The roads are tree lined, passing by and over streams. It’s like being in a car commercial! Only without the creepy voice over.
  • Oh! So soft serve ice-cream way up here is called Creemees, and every where has them. EVERY WHERE. Gas stations, farmers markets, whatever. Creemees. It’s rad. Not so rad on the culinary front: Mac-and-Cheese Loaf. Like. Sliced. With… stuff in it. Like meat and crap. Scary. ALSO? Not food related, but related in that these are both things that I read on Jonniker‘s blog when I went through each and every one of her Vermont archives, there is a motel called the Ho Hum Motel. I mean, HO HUM. Who would stay there?! On purpose. Also? ALSO? A subdivision called Bittersweet. Would you want to live on Bittersweet Street? No? Me, either.
  • You know, in San Diego I lived very close to many, many stores. Many. And we are not completely storeless here. There are options. A few. But not, like, tons of them. And some of my favorites are every so far away. The closest Ikea is in Canada. The closest Target is a ferry ride to New York away. TARGET. I mean, come on. I miss me my Up & UP generic products, and Converse brand shirts.

And now I shall leave you with some baby in a park pictures:


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The Sleep Thing

Because I know all you care Oh So Deeply about Xander’s sleep habits, I am dedicated a WHOLE post to them! (As a totally unrelated aside, can I just mention how great it is that I can actually log into my blog like a real live blogger type person again, and that I don’t have to type things out on my iPhone to email in?)

Night sleeping is getting back to decent, mostly, teething aside (he has four whole chompers! That he grinds together and sends me clawing up the walls to escape the sound). All of the moving around has been tough on him, so pretty much since JS left San Diego….erm….a million years ago (5 weeks?), his sleep has been pretty crappy. Up a lot, crabby in the morning, needing a bottle (or two!) at his night wakings to finally calm down. It was so hard. He only “slept through the night” for a short while, but we did get pretty used to easy night wakings: a pacifier, a pat on the back, and out the door. Getting up up, feeding him, and often changing him, MULTIPLE times a night (and often on my own since see above: JS gone) left me a total wreck. Now it’s mostly teething related, so if I’m up on it and give him a dose of ibuprofen at bedtime (IF he needs it, only), sleep is much improved.

Naps. Oh, naps. Those have not been going well.  He is still in between one and two naps, all depending on when he wakes up for the day and how well he slept at night. Late wake ups (7 AM) and only brief night wakings: he can take a single nap around 11 or 12. Otherwise, he really needs two. NEEDS two, not “will take two.”  When we first got to Vermont, he refused all naps for a while. Those days sucked, because he was miserably exhausted, and crabby, and JS and I only have so much patience and energy ourselves. So I put some feelers out to some of my mom friends and FB groups and came up with a few things that SEEM to be helping. Thing the One: a return of a routine. Before we moved, he was getting SO good about napping that I would just plop him down and leave. The end. HA HA HA HA. No longer. So now he gets a story and a cuddle, and, yes, a bottle. I know, I know. I wanted to get rid of them, he’s a year now, etc…But with all the changes he’s gone through, it’s really helping him transition to sleepy-time. (I am moving him away form formula and onto (lactose free) milk, though. So that’s something, right?). The second thing is: don’t freak if he doesn’t sleep. I’d get so worked up about it, and he’d pick up on my tension, and we’d both be unhappy campers. Now I go through the routine of bottle, book, snuggle, bed, but I leave some plush toys and board books in there with him. If he plays quietly, I leave him be. I do not try and “force” him to sleep by lying him back down (oh, yeah, he loves standing in his crib now; best game ever!) or rocking him or anything. After a bit (an hour or so), I’ll go get him if he cries. If he cries right away, I go in, set him down, rub his back or belly and blow him a kiss as I leave, saying “sleepy time, night night.”

It all seems to be helping…if nothing else, for my sanity. It gives me a break, even if he doesn’t officially sleep, to clean up a bit, or read, or email. More often than not, he WILL sleep, at least once a day, for a bit. And as it goes, the better he sleeps during the day, the better he sleeps at night.

I just hope that we don’t have to start all over again with the No Sleeping Nightmare when we move into the house at the end of the month.

In other news: my computer is still dead, so I’m using an “extra” of JS’s, that I thought I’d broken (the screen went all wonky), but seems to be working OK. But I did lose lots of pictures, videos, and music. I have a lot of images backed up, but until I really go through them all, I don’t know what I’ve lost. The music I’m sad about (if only for the cost of replacing it), but the baby pictures really crush me. I hope I did a good enough job of backing up.

I’m trying to get out and do a few activities with the local MOMS group each week, too. It certainly helps make the days go by faster. And poor Xander really needs to play with someone other than me every once and a while. Tomorrow we’re going to a farm! We’ll see them make cheese! Fun times.

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You guys, I could not make this shit up if I tried. (I warned you about the language. My filter is broken, as is my will to live…or, close to, anyway.)

We are moving, yes? Soon. Very soon. John leaves July 1. Xander and I leave less than a week after that. We have new renters coming in before the locks finish turning.

We had a house, our first house, the cute yellow one with the playset in the backyard. We made an offer, they (eventually) accepted. Inspection did not go well; they refused to fix a dangerous roof, and we walked. Sad face.

House the second: we made an offer, it was (eventually) accepted. Inspection was not perfect, seller went BATSHIT INSANE and refused to do anything (including, I kid you not, paying to have black mold removed from the attic; or fixing an electrical problem that involved, wait for it, water dripping over exposed wires over an oil boiler).  Quotes from the seller include: “I reject the inspection because it is meant to instill fear, and I reject fear.” I REJECT FEAR.  He then THREW OUT the samples from a water and radon test that we had already paid for.

So, um. No house, then.

House the Third: this is actually pre-house number one. We made an offer, they said no without a counter, we said BYE JERKS. Anyway, we made a NEW offer (hopefully they don’t know it’s us again) (we are offering the asking price because COME ON ENOUGH IS ENOUGH). They are considering, CONSIDERING, our offer because they’re just not sure when they want to move out, ya’ know?

So I ask you: WHAT THE HELL, VERMONT? I want to love you. I’ve heard wonderful things about you. You’re supposedly beautiful. You’re full of liberals. You have lots of cheese. And maple syrup. People CLAIM that your citizens are nice. But you are making it very difficult for me not to dislike you, strongly, without ever having stepped foot in your boundaries.

Off topic: standing baby likes to stand.

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Drawn Out

We have a house!! Well, almost. We still have to have it inspected, but offers have been accepted, pre-approvals have been granted, and we are on our way. The house we got is one we hadn’t seen before. No wonder, as it was on the market for less than 12 hours when JS’s realtor told him about it. But it was (literally) around the corner from one we tried to buy but didn’t, in a neighborhood we liked…with actual neighbors (something to consider when buying in Vermont…that and stores. Jonna oh so kindly emailed me about Vermont and reminded me that if I ever needed to buy something, that the town we picked had better have someplace selling it).

For a few hours, we weren’t sure, because, well, there is this Thing we’ve encountered with Vermont home sellers. They don’t like to negotiate on price. They are asking a certain price and if you want their home, you should just pay that price. That’s…not how we do it. But, in the end, whatever. A house! We have one! With a YARD! And a playground they are leaving (along with their washer and dryer because JS knows me well and put that into the contract, God love him) (is that the actual phrase? “God love him”? It looks odd typed out, but that’s how I say it….).

Barring worst case scenarios, we close on July 15/Harry Potter Day. That is so obscenely soon! John and Tonks will drive out, and Xander and I will fly, probably staying a while in Alabama during the overlap of having no home in either CA or VT.  My mom will come to VT with me and help us get settled in and watch Xander while we do stuff like paint (these guys sure did love their dark paint colors).

I’m excited, very excited. We went from trying desperately to find a not too horrible rental place to finding a house that we love for…um, not much (if anything) more per month. So, yeah.

I’m also starting to feel a little sad about leaving. It’s complicated, though. There’s a lot of baggage, for me, associated with SoCal. Bad experiences that crop up out of the blue. Broken relationships that still hurt. Old traumas, old wounds.  BUT, it’s also where I met JS, where we got married, where I got Tonks, where Xander was born. And in the almost year (!!!) since having Xander, I have made some wonderful friends. And Xander loves them and their kids and, oh, he has one little boy friend who is a month younger and they just LOVE each other. They grope at each other’s faces and share snacks of tofu and blueberries and steal each other’s teething toys and…it’s his first friend. Not one he’ll even remember, but I will. And I am sad to leave these wonderful relationships behind. Although, after feeling for so long that I’d never have ANY friends in California, I have faith that I can find good friends elsewhere, too. Babies open up a lot of doors.

Anyway, it’s weird to be preparing to say good-bye, but not yet. It’s a long good-bye, a gradual one. Sometimes while walking the dog I’ll look around and think about how I won’t see the purple flowers on a Jacaranda Tree. Or be able to drive to the beach at Del Mar in 13 minutes. But I’ll gain a lot of things, too. More space. More trees. Seasons.

And we’ll be together, our little family. And, sappy as that sounds, that’s the important part. The three of us (plus Tonks!), going out into the world together.

(Not completely relevant, sure, but I wanted to show off my Mother’s Day necklace.)

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Movin’ On Up

It’s crazy how different a move with a home purchase is than a move with a home rental.

JS’s new university gave us a particular realty company they use; they list rentals on their site, but, like many places, most of the properties are “no pets.” But also? Trying to call or email about a rental, from San Diego, got us no where. Everytime. I don’t know if it’s because there are so few rentals in this part of Vermont, or if they hear San Diego and it triggers a Spam Response Initiative, or something.

But yesterday JS called the same company about BUYING a house, and we had replies and paper work and MLS listings and whatever the hell else one needs to purchase a home within an hour. He leaves tomorrow for a house hunting trip that was originally going to be just four days (back in the rental plan), but with the new plan may be longer. Who knows. He is scheduled for at least seven viewings. And what’s really crazy, for this SoCal girl, is that these are HOUSES. Like, you know, HOUSES. With yards! And no neighbors sharing walls. And YARDS! And for the price range we are considering, in San Diego we could not buy the condo we are currently living in. No joke.

One of the biggest thing we’re having to wrap our minds around is that we were sort of considering the first year to be a trial year, so to speak. I…went to school in Chicago, yes, but that was just three years. And it was, oh my God, almost ten years ago (when did THAT happen?). So the whole Winter Thing is sort of…a mystery to me. A terrifyingly cold mystery, wrapped in clouds. With buying a house, our trial run may not actually be a trial run. Then again, nothing is really permanent as far as geography goes any more, is it?

So our days are a frantic whirlwind of Xander, packing, cleaning our condo for viewings, looking at MLS listings, and making lists of crap that has to get done in the next six weeks or so (GAH). It’s. Crazy.

I’m trying to think ahead about what we’ll need in the winter, coats and boots and, I don’t know, a bubble with a space heater for venturing outside in. But I honestly have NO idea what I’ll need. Or what Xander will need. All I know is – I’m cheap and would rather buy it now in the off season than when it starts to get cold.

Any cold weather readers out there? What do I need to buy? HELP.

I’m excited about the move, and this is something we both want, but that doesn’t stop me from getting nervous butterfly stomach and tingly fingers and fluttering heartbeats (not REAL ones) every time I think about this whole moving thing.


Totally unrelated: I have my Big Shot Sports Chiropractor appointment today and I’m hoping, hoping, hoping that my leg injury is well on its way to mending and I can start running again very soon. Or, hell, even walking down the stairs without groaning.

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