Comments The Locksmith Journals

RememberGoliad

Senior Member
In my job they are called biological burglar alarms.

I've almost always got a dog outside when I'm working on something. Yesterday wife went in and took the dogs. Car door slammed (we were expecting someone but it's still disconcerting) and I realized that DW took the driveway alert when she went in, as I could faintly hear it going off in the living room.
 

day late

money? whats that?
You see a lot in my line. You learn a lot about people. I most often run into people I really feel sorry for, but for two different reasons. The first group I feel sorry for because what is going on, whatever it may be, isn't their fault. It's a case of diminished mental ability. I mentioned the lady who I had to change a lock for recently. When I got the job I was told it was a lockout, meaning possibly drill and replace. But the lady was already inside. I ended up just re-keying a deadbolt on the front door. But from the moment I arrived I could tell this lady didn't have it all together. I mean, she gives me the key that opens two other doors and has me re-key this lock to that key. No big deal, I do it all the time. But as I was finishing up and putting the lock back on the door, she wanted to know if she was now going to have to get the other two locks re-keyed to match this one. I had to explain THREE times, using the BIG PICTURE, small word method to finally get her to understand. Then earlier today I got a call from her asking why she had a statement from the company in her e-mail and did she owe us any money? If so, what did we do to earn the money? I gently explained to her that what she had found was the e-mail receipt and she owed us nothing. This was just a receipt for services already rendered. And I only had to do it twice. This lady is functioning well enough to get along but isn't firing on all cylinders.

The other group, well Robert Heinlein said it well when he stated,

"NEVER underestimate the power of human stupidity."

Countless times I've had people either wailing and moaning about being locked out, or complaining about the cost of getting them in. This complaint level goes through the roof when something happens that makes them look like complete idiots, or the lock is one that is just begging me to breathe on it so it can turn and open. The idiot ones usually include statements like,

"I thought I checked all the windows." This happens after they have just sworn to me that the windows are locked and then, since it is my job, I check the windows, I take out a screen and open one.

Another favorite of mine has happened twice. Two different statements, but the same thought.

"I suppose I still have to pay you." This was after a lady who always waved her fob at the door of the truck to unlock it, had the battery die had found out that most fobs have a key inside that will not only open the door, but it will also start the car.

Another favorite,

"You mean I gotta pay you for that?"

This one was late Friday night or early Sat. morning, depending on how you count time at those hours, in the local student ghetto. An unpickable smart key on the ONLY door into the place. I look over and both windows on the front of the apartment are unlocked. I took out the screen, opened the window and asked,

"Do you want to crawl though or should I?"

I don't know what it is, but I've been running into these people who just don't have two brain cells left to rub together a lot lately. In the past couple of weeks I've actually had to show three people that there really is a key inside the fob. I feel so sorry for people like these. When things go bad, like hurricanes for example, they are the ones who suffer the most damage.
 

day late

money? whats that?
Now things begin to get interesting. The young lady Stephanie told me her last day is the 17th. Yesterday I began training her replacement, Skylar. He seems decent enough. I got him started on cars and he did pick a couple of locks at the office for me, using two different methods. So, either he has done this kind of thing before, or he has a natural talent for it. He seemed to pick up on the things I was telling him and did spot a problem before I did on an install we did together. But I don't know. It just seemed a little too easy for him. Or maybe I'm getting paranoid in my old age. Time will tell and since I'm off until Friday he is riding and working with the boss's son. It'll be interesting to see what he has to say about the new guy. Also, in a sense I'm training my replacement. True, I plan on continuing to work part time but that means this guy is going to have to pick up the hours I drop.

During the install he jumped right in to help me get the old lock off, the new one on and troubleshoot the new one when it didn't want to work right. (The customer asked us to transfer the "new" batteries in the old lock to the new one. The batteries weren't as "new" as he thought.) While I was settling up the bill with the customer, he would begin cleanup of tools and/or parts both new and used. But I was also listening to his customer skills. He either thinks like I do, or he picked up on how I speak to the customers when I go to a job. I always try to be polite to the customers. First of all, it's my nature to do that and secondly it always helps to calm the customer when they are upset, which is about half the time. If you are careful and actually listen to the customer as he/she speaks you can arrive at a job where the customer is ready to chew nails and spit bullets and leave with someone who thinks you are a nice guy and wishes you had met under better circumstances.

What can I say? I was a Boy Scout when I was growing up. They always taught us to try to leave every place we went better than we found it. Yeah, the Scouts were talking about camping and litter, but I think it well to apply it to every day life. Instead of every place, read every situation.
 
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Texican

Live Free & Die Free.... God Freedom Country....
So DL, you are going part time to you retire?

Nay, you will stay busy doing something.

Texican....
 

day late

money? whats that?
I want to stay busy hunting and fishing, but finances aren't going to let that happen. So, I do the best I can and ride this pony 'til it stops.

That didn't take long. Time and again I've made mention of just how stupid and self-centered some people can be. It didn't take the new guy a week to talk himself out of a job. The guy seemed to have a knack for the job, but from what I've heard his people skills need some work. At least when he was with me, he was polite to the customer and to me, he asked the right questions and actually listened to the answers. But here is where things get odd. It isn't just about opening things. It is also about dealing with the customer. You never know what is going to happen and each day is an adventure. One of the things I told him about while he was with me last Monday, was there have been times in the past when young ladies wanted to pay their bills with their bodies rather than debit, credit or cash. I was off Tues.-Thurs. He is riding with Stephanie. I've told him she is new, but she is sharp and he could learn a lot from her. On Friday I was supposed to pick him up so he could spend the day with me. He never called to say where he was. He never called the manager to tell him where he was or to ask why I hadn't picked hm up.

Long story short. Skylar no longer works with us. When the manager did get in touch with him, he claimed he didn't have my number. (We had texted each other several times the Monday before so I could meet up with him at the shop.) He claimed to have tried to call the boss's son but got no answer. (THAT ONE I can believe.) And didn't have anyone else's number. The manager called him on it.

"You called me. I know you have called Stephanie, Juan and other people. You have everybody's phone number."

From there the guy wanted to know why he hadn't been paid on last Friday. If you've ever been paid every two weeks you know how it works. You don't get paid on the last day of the work week, you get paid the following Friday. This was "unsatisfactory" to him. He then began to spin tales about Stephanie and me. he claims I'm some sort of predator and have nothing but the worst kinds of things to say about Stephanie and she is an ungrateful, back biting wench. She has nothing good to say about the boss or his son. The manager has worked with me for about six years. He has worked side by side with Stephanie. He KNOWS us. Now this guy comes in and begins saying all kinds of things that were blatantly untrue and the manager knew it. He also begins to try to throw his weight around about 'benefits' that he should be getting even if nobody else does. (Including the manager.)

The manager wasn't moved at all. In fact, he said it sounded like the guy was trying to get the manager angry and shouting at him. He said he told the guy.

"Look this is about you getting a better job offer. So, you know what? Don't bother coming back."

That leaves the boss with even less time to find help.
 

Texican

Live Free & Die Free.... God Freedom Country....
That leaves the boss with even less time to find help.

dl,

Sometimes, things work out for the better or do they?

Texican....
 

day late

money? whats that?
It will be interesting for sure. I will be limited in the number of hours I can work by SS after about Jan.3. Stephanie is leaving in about a week. He either has to find someone fast or go back out on the road himself. It does give me a bit of job security, and I'm not opposed to a little under the table kind of work. Maybe something like three days on the clock and one day in cash. Works for me.
 

day late

money? whats that?
Just so everyone knows, I bid farewell to Stephanie tonight. Technically tomorrow is her last day but the schedule had her off tomorrow anyway. I wish her the best but won't be disappointed if she comes back. She's a very pleasant young lady and I'm going to miss her. Starting tomorrow the clock is really ticking for the boss. It is now down to his son, me and him to cover Gainesville. We are supposed to have four-day work weeks and three days off. With the boss sitting at home and his son and I doing the work, that leaves us pretty shorthanded unless he gets back into things. And I need to reduce my hours starting 01/01. Time is running out. I wonder what kind of a deal he is going to try to sell me to keep me pulling down a lot of hours without losing any SS bennies. I'm starting to get really interested. Don't get me wrong. I'm always interested in how I'm going to make a living. I've always known I could never really sit back, kick my feet up and retire. I've always known I'm going to have to work as long as I can. I'm O.K. with that. It keeps life interesting and me from getting bored anyway. For me the interesting part is how is the younger guy, my boss, going to deal with something that he knew was coming but really didn't put any effort into solving the problem in the first place. I've been through that 'put it off until you have to deal with it' that kind of situation before. It will be interesting to see how he handles it.

On the personal front it has been VERY interesting at the late homestead. The drainpipe that goes from the kitchen sink to the septic tank was installed at the time the house was built. 1963. It corroded through. The leaking water got into the cabinets and right now the kitchen has just about been gutted. Almost everything is still there, but we can't use it because of water damage, repairs, insurance adjustors and so on. We've had a de-humidifier running almost non-stop for several days now. Sleep is something I'm going to enjoy tonight. The funny part of all of this is the Mrs. late has been complaining for years about how we should sell the house and move to someplace else. Our property backs up to a major hospital and we have a standing offer from a company that develops medical properties any time we want to sell. Now my wife is being faced with the reality of, it's an old house and repairs are just a part of the situation, deal with it. OR it's a matter of "O.K. Honey, where do you want to live?" I'm filing for SS next month, there is nothing keeping us here. We can sell the house, buy another for cash and then I get a part time job and we both get SS. So, Honey, where do you want to live? We can move to Orlando where the home I am to inherit from my mother is available. Which means living for almost nothing while she looks for a place we can afford, and I find a job. We can move to Jacksonville where your nephew lives (with his husband). We can move to Houston so we can be closer to our son. We can sell the house, buy a sailboat and live on that. We go one place and when we want to be someplace else, we pull up the anchor and go there. No property tax, and all of the money we didn't spend on another house is in the mattress while we go where we want, when we want, and SS is there is help us out with the bills after the cash runs out. What is wrong with that? So, where do you want to live?

Wouldn't you know it. She can't think of any place else to live but here. Not this house, just this town. Every place else is too expensive.
 
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Texican

Live Free & Die Free.... God Freedom Country....
I've always known I could never really sit back, kick my feet up and retire.

dl puts it in written form. :rofl:

Texican....
 

day late

money? whats that?
I probably pulled a boo-boo, but it will be worth it, if I did. I was coming back from a job yesterday when I saw the other van pull out of the parking lot I was going to pull in to. I assumed the boss's son was driving and sent him one of those "I see you" texts. He wants to know what I'm talking about. This is his day off. Turns out that Stephanie actually did work on Friday. While chatting he said that sometimes his friends would see one of the vans and assume that was him. I told him that after Friday that problem would be cut in half. BUT....that's for only about two weeks. After I file I am limited as to how much I can earn so that means even more work for you unless Dad goes back out on the road.

It's hard to tell by text, but I don't think he was real, real happy with the idea. I wonder what the two of them have been saying to each other?
 

day late

money? whats that?
It's late and I'm off to bed but I had to mention this job today before I go to sleep. The call said a residential lockout and the address is in a more modern building. The parking is under the building, which I hate. It's always too cramped. I get parked, grab my things and a young lady meets me at the elevator. We go up to the fourth floor and as we go down the hall, I'm looking at the locks on the other apartments and don't like what I see. They are all card key deadbolts, no way to pick them. We get to her apartment, and she walks right in the front door. (Thank The Lord for that!) It turns out she left the key for her bedroom in Tampa. So, get in there and it takes a few minutes to get it open. Mainly for two reasons. Now maybe I'm just getting old and out of it but what she was wearing when she greeted me and as she got close to see what was going on is something that if I got it for Mrs. late it would never be seen outside the bedroom. A very flimsy skirt and what I would describe as a lace corset. It covers but does nothing to conceal. Most distracting.
 

Texican

Live Free & Die Free.... God Freedom Country....
A very flimsy skirt and what I would describe as a lace corset. It covers but does nothing to conceal. Most distracting.

dl,

You didn't look more than twenty or twenty five times, did you?

Was doing a property condition report on an apartment complex with several team members. One told me later in the day that in one apartment that he inspected, two college age young ladies were in see thru short sleep ware. The two young ladies offered him a glass of champagne that they were drinking, but he refused. The buyer's rep confirmed the story. Asked the teammate why he did not call me about a problem that needed to be looked at and he stated that his brain was barely functioning at that time.

Things do happen out there with the public.

Texican....
 

day late

money? whats that?
Indeed they do. And we aren't even talking about the propositions for payment on services already rendered. That's one of the reasons I don't enter the apartment when dealing with single ladies, unless I absolutely have to go inside.

Now for today's funny. This is a case of technology meets (I hate to say it, she was a nice lady) human stupidity. This morning I get a call to get a lady into her truck. No big deal, it was a Chevy. I've done hundreds of them. Matter of fact, a Chevy pickup was the last call of the day. Now, from things I've been saying all along you may get the idea that customers like to talk when I get there. Usually excusing themselves for what has happened or explaining HOW it happened. This lady was the second sort. She assumed responsibility but had to tell me how she had gotten distracted and done this. As she was talking, she told me how she had called her husband to come help her, but he was too far away. So she called us. Simple enough. I get to the door of the truck to look in and see where the lock is located. This one had that button on the door you push down to lock, only to notice that the truck is unlocked. I pointed this out to her and she said,

"Oh. He must have finally gotten 'On Star' to unlock it. I've been pulling on that handle for two hours."

She did agree to pay for the service call, which oddly enough is the same price as opening a car.
 

day late

money? whats that?
Oh boy, oh boy. Things continue to be interesting. Almost a month ago I told my boss and the manager that I was getting e-mails telling me that my password for the app that we use to run credit cards needed to be changed. Knowing that this is how a lot of scam artists work, I notified the boss and manager. As usual I was ignored. Three weeks later during our weekly meeting I told the manager I needed an answer. Is this ligit, or is it a scam? At the latest meeting, which the boss did not attend, the manager said call the boss. I did. He tried to correct the problem and managed to make it so that I can't even log into the system to change my password. In short, according to the e-mail I got today, I have three days to change my password, which I can't because the boss screwed things up. So now the boss has three days, two and a half by now, to get things right otherwise the only jobs I can handle are cash jobs. It's either that or call the ladies who run the phones to run the card for me every time I have a job. Figure how happy they are going to be with that. I cannot imagine how the ladies running the phones are going to feel about them having to take time out between phone calls to run cards for me. And remember the phones are on until 10 P.M. If we get a call at 9:59 P.M. someone is going to be heading out to save the day. If the job is out of town that means whoever is running the phones doesn't get off until the smith who is working tells her the last job is done. In the past, considering how far we have to go, that could take as much as two hours. I don't think the ladies will be happy with that.

Now I admit it has been a while, but on my busiest day since I started doing this, I had 14 jobs. Ya know, I always felt it is better to face a problem head on rather than waiting for it to turn around and bite you in the butt. Well, the boss has two and 1/2 days to get it right, or I get paid to sit at home and do nothing while he loses money.

On the other hand, knowing that some people don't have a big enough pair to bring things to the forefront, I had an interesting conversation the boss's son the other day. With Stephanie gone, the latest candidate failing and my retirement looming, I got a call from the boss's son the other day. He was having dinner at a restaurant and locked himself out of the work van. I rescued him and we talked about things. He "nonchalantly" mentioned that "maybe you can do some work for cash and not on the books". Yeah, O.K. I can do that. But understand, this puts a whole new look on things. Serious conversation needs to happen before that kind of thing does.
 

Texican

Live Free & Die Free.... God Freedom Country....
He (the bosses son) "nonchalantly" mentioned that "maybe you can do some work for cash and not on the books". Yeah, O.K. I can do that. But understand, this puts a whole new look on things. Serious conversation needs to happen before that kind of thing does.

Things may be looking up or are they?

Only the boss knows.

Texican....
 

day late

money? whats that?
Things may be looking up or are they?

Only the boss knows.

Texican....

Could be, but sometimes my boss waits for things to bite him in the butt before he does anything. Case in point, the credit card app. I told him today that I got another e-mail telling me my password expires in days. His answer?

"Oh, thanks for reminding me. I'll call them."

Right now, I don't know if I'm going to be able to run cards when we go back on the clock on Sunday. Just have to wait and see.
 

day late

money? whats that?
Just as an update. The boss let this one bite him in the backside. I got an e-mail this A.M. that informs me my password will no longer work. I haven't had a call yet, so I haven't had a chance to find out if this is for real or just a scam. Not surprising considering it's the day after Christmas. BUT, sooner or later there will be a call and I will have to run a card. Only then will I find out what is what. I'm not surprised by this. I was told that at one point my boss hired a business advisor. That guy was charging $2,000 a month to tell my boss how to run the business and make money. One of the things he said to the boss that the manager didn't care for was,

"Treat your employees like they are disposable."

The manager pointed out that locksmiths have certain skills that are not just the everyday kind of things. We are highly skilled professionals. It takes MONTHS to get someone trained just to do the basic stuff. NOW you want the boss to treat everyone like they don't matter? You want to tell them they are easily replaced? What is the color of the sky on the planet you come from? Funny thing is that since I was self-employed for about 30 years I could (and have) offer an idea or two on how to run a business. I have actually done that, but I'm the old man and the young studs want to believe what they want to believe. I could have advised him and would have done so for free, as long as I remained employed.

Ah well, I'm still working and retirement isn't that far away. I can wait. This isn't going to hurt me. The worst that can happen is I get some part time job washing dishes or something to supplement the SS and I'm good. After a lifetime of working, talking SERIOUSLY about retirement is just blowing my mind.
 

day late

money? whats that?
So, here we are. It's Tuesday and at 8 tonight we have our weekly phone meeting. I have spoken to the boss and manager many times about filing for SS next week in the past few months. Saturday is 01/01/22. Starting THAT DAY I am restricted in how much I can earn without losing bennies. Long story short, as of this weekend I cannot work more than 2 1/2 days a week at my current pay scale. And NO I will not take a pay cut just to keep on working. I got my first job at the age of 12. I was stuffing flyers into mailboxes for a self-employed neighbor. I got paid a whole $5 for two hours of work. And in 1968 that bought a lot of comic books and Coke's. I was happy with that. After 53 years of working, I'm tired and WANT to retire.

I've warned them. Maybe they plan on getting rid of me, I don't know. I wouldn't think so since that means the boss has to go back out on the road. But they have put this off and put this off until now it is going to bite them in the backside. Tonight's meeting should prove to be very interesting. I will say that at the last minute, (yesterday) I spoke with my nephew about taking my place. He's the one who flies motorcycles for a living. But he is now in his 40's and suffered a really bad crash a few years back. So bad that he seriously considered having his foot amputated to end the pain. He didn't, but he thought about it long and hard. Having a P/T job that he work around his show schedule might be something he would be interested in. Especially since you don't work hard, don't work a lot and get paid fairly well. He said he wants to discuss it with his wife, which I think is a very good idea. But I can train him and have him to my skill level within about a week. So, I'm trying even though I really don't have too. I'll say this. The next installment of these journals should be quite telling.
 

day late

money? whats that?
Some people just won't acknowledge the elephant in the room until they step in its pile, and this elephant's starting to fart.

LOUDLY but at least the boss seems to have one less thing to worry about. On my one and only job so far today, the credit card app worked just fine. On a job yesterday it told me that it couldn't read the chip in the card. Today, no problems. (As my Dad used to say, to err is human but to really foul it up you have to have a computer.) Funny thing about this job. I sit at home almost all day. But once it hits 4 P.M. things start to get nuts. You wouldn't believe how many times I've had to leave supper sitting on the table while I went to bail someone out. I guess when someone locks their keys in the car in the morning, they just blow it off until it's time to go home. THEN they start to get concerned.

Right now, I've got three hours until the meeting. What will they say, what will they say? I know this much. Electronic communications are not the most secure in the world. So, if the boss or manager have anything they want to propose, it is going to be in person, face to face.
 

day late

money? whats that?
So even now they don't seem to be taking this seriously. During the meeting it seemed like The Lord was telling me to speak up and say something because the manager kept talking about the schedule. So I brought it up in front of everybody. The manager's suggestion was to reduce my pay and increase my hours. I know he was joking, but it shows how little they value me. That's O.K. On 01/01/22 I will work my usual shift. I will do the same on 01/02/22. AFTER THAT I will work from 8 A.M. until 3 P.M. and then park the van until the following Saturday. Ignore that you morons.
 

summerthyme

Administrator
_______________
Boy, talk about ostrich syndrome! This is world class DeNile, and we ain't in Egypt! It sounds to me like your boss is about to get a reality check, via clue-by-four to the head!

Summerthyme
 
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day late

money? whats that?
I don't know. I mean the ticking of the clock MUST be quite loud to the boss and manager by now. During the last meeting the manager said he wants everyone to 'clock-in' on the group chat when we start the day. That was Tuesday, today is Friday and I had Wednesday and Thursday off. So I clocked in this morning stating I have just begun my last day of full-time employment and would be on until close. No answer from either of them.
 

day late

money? whats that?
I love you and your tales. Please keep us informed on what goes down.

It figures. My last day of full time employment. My first call I have to go to a parking garage near a local hospital. He put the keys in the backpack and put the backpack in the trunk. I don't know what happened but as I'm about to pull in the garage, the guy calls me back and tells me somehow the driver's door has become unlocked, and he doesn't need us. OK. Wasted trip. It happens. The second call the customer is out of town and wants to know if a certain bag is in the apartment. She sends a friend over to find it after I unlock the door. Well, the front door has a Smart Key and the customer doesn't want the extra expense of having it drilled and replaced. But there is a back door I can try. Did I mention this is a second story apartment? We barrow a ladder from some nearby construction guys and I climb up onto the balcony. I know after climbing over the rail around it I'm singing soprano for the next week or so. So, he and I get up there and the door isn't even locked. I just open it, he goes in to find the bag, he comes out and I lock the door. Yeah, it was a quick $119, but two oddball jobs in a row on my last day of full time employment makes me wonder what else is going to happen today.

EDIT TO ADD: I forgot. It's New Years Eve. Things are likely to get very strange tonight. Makes me glad I get off at 10.
 
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day late

money? whats that?
Here we are, just before 5:30 on Sunday. Still no call back on what hours I'm going to work. I truly think that when I park the van at 3 tomorrow the boss is going to call and threaten me with my job. THAT would be interesting. Wouldn't you like to be a fly on the wall for that conversation? But as further proof that they really don't listen to me that much I offer the following. About a month ago the dashcam that was mounted on the windshield fell off. It's held up by a two-sided sticky pad so I put it back and told the boss. I kept telling the boss every time it happened when I had the van. Two days ago it fell again and I've just left it hanging. He and the manager were told. Three or four hours after I told the boss he asks if he had given me the replacement sticky pad. No. STILL no word from him.
 

day late

money? whats that?
Just now saw the sinkhole that opened up in Nov. Send your boss's son to replace a lock at that address.

No need. The boss's son is young, reckless, and unintentionally self-destructive. He's busy having a good time since he is young, single and making good money. Kinda like I was at that age. The difference being that if I worked for my father and did some of the things he's done, I would have been unemployed a long time ago. It's just that the fun making gets him into trouble. Like getting caught by GPD wandering around in the parking lot of his apartment complex at about 2 A.M. naked and stoned out of his mind. They used the Baker Act and he now pees in a bottle once a week and has to go to certain meetings for the next few years.
 

Sportsman

Veteran Member
No need. The boss's son is young, reckless, and unintentionally self-destructive. He's busy having a good time since he is young, single and making good money. Kinda like I was at that age. The difference being that if I worked for my father and did some of the things he's done, I would have been unemployed a long time ago. It's just that the fun making gets him into trouble. Like getting caught by GPD wandering around in the parking lot of his apartment complex at about 2 A.M. naked and stoned out of his mind. They used the Baker Act and he now pees in a bottle once a week and has to go to certain meetings for the next few years.
Doesn't your state license locksmiths? "Back in the day", that would have gotten your license pulled and you wouldn't be able to work as a locksmith, even under someone else's license.
 

day late

money? whats that?
What do you know? The weekly meeting was earlier this evening. The boss wasn't there but the manager was. It seems at least he has been listening. I have been informed that I will be working the whole day on Sunday, and then a few hours every day for most of the week after that. That's fine. Keeps me busy, makes me money and gets me out of the house. Well, I'm off for the rest of this week. I'm going to the range tomorrow and unload some bullets. Today I got the roof blown off as well as the driveway. The people fixing the house aren't going to be here again this week so Mrs. late doesn't have a reason to complain. (That doesn't mean she won't, just that she doesn't have a reason.) All in all, this new phase of my life is getting off to a fairly good start. Now if I can just keep things going that way.
 
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