How An Asian Food Market Broke My Car

I think there should be a completely new category for my blog in regards to how I seem to always break my damn car.

Since I’m kind of not working right now and waiting to hear back from the 30+ jobs I’ve applied for, I have figured out that the best way we can survive is by going to the Asian Market over the river to get some of our groceries so I can make delicious, cheap, ramen soup from scratch and miso soup.  Because soup is amazing.  And buying stuff from the Asian market is super duper cheap.  Also, making 8 gallons of miso soup and buying the ramen noodles from the Asian market would cost me about $0.40 per meal.  So why the hell not?

 

Cheap AND Delicious

Cheap AND Delicious

Alex was unaware that there was an Asian market in the area, and when I revealed to him that there were a couple and that their prices were way cheaper than base, he agrees to go with me.

Naturally, because we are young, we make several mistakes for our journey.

Mistake number one: We each forget our phones in the house.

Mistake number two: Alex has a gut feeling against taking our monstrous SUV out instead of our cute little Suzuki Forenza, thinking that maybe we should be taking the itty bitty baby car.  He ignores it.

Mistake number three: I ask the guy at the Asian market to use his phone to get directions to a discount grocery store on the ass end of Shreveport.

 

Murphey’s law states that when something can go wrong, it will always go wrong.  It also dictates that the universe hates me and loves to cause me misery.

Here’s what I’m thinking happened to our car.

The gods above saw that we lacked our phones and decided to punish us by breaking our car.

Alex’s gut feeling was telling him that we have been having some problems with the SUV overheating and that we should take it easy on driving it more than ten feet in the summer.

Or, the guy I asked to help us put an ancient Chinese curse on my car because I decided to go shopping for the rest of my stuff at another store.

Not so lucky in this case

Not so lucky in this case

I’m pretty sure it was a mix of all three instances.

I believe I’ve mentioned that Alex was a chef before he was in the military, and his specialty is Asian cuisine.  He loves everything Asian from home décor to all of the lovely different foods.  While nerdome is his first love, Asian culture is a close second.  I’m pretty sure I’m the third.

So we’re going around this store and I’m gazing at the whole guava I could buy for five dollars when Alex comes up to me holding all of these different spices that you can’t find anywhere but an Asian specialty store, his grin ear to ear, while he’s sounding like a school girl running through the store, trying to figure out everything he wants to buy.

We’re going to be eating a lot of chicken satay for the next few weeks.

We run around the store, trying to decide if we want to buy fifty pounds of rice for $30, as well as getting some new dishes that were made in Vietnam, when we decide to just stick with the basics— everything we need to make Ramen, Miso Soup, and any other random Asian spices that we’re lacking.

We fill the cart and only spend $50, then I was trying to figure out how to get back on the main highway and if that would be the fastest way to the discount grocery store.  I decide to ask the sales clerk where the store was.

Mistake numero dos.  We explained our numero uno problem of forgetting our phones and just wanting to get our grocery shopping done all that night, and he lets me use his phone to map it out.  He barely spoke English, and his (I’m assuming) supervisor was shaking his head in disbelief that two twenty something year olds were walking around town without a phone.

So we drive two miles down the road, in the opposite direction of our house, when Alex suddenly pulls over.  I give him a strange look and he tells me that the engine was overheating.

We lift the hood and Alex removes the coolant cap and it starts to explode everywhere.  Luckily, he didn’t break the radiator.

We have extra coolant in the back for instances such as this, put some more in, and continue down the road to the discount grocery.

Car starts to overheat after two more miles.  So we stop and pull into a park, where a group of moms are doing a work out class.

Now, I know their moms because I know what moms look like.  They have a very distinct look to them.  You know what I’m talking about.

But in my case, no strollers.  They just looked like moms.  In every sense of the word.

But in my case, no strollers. They just looked like moms. In every sense of the word.

There were several other people there staring at us in wonder and delight as we stared at the engine, wishing it would cool off, while we panic a little bit.  We put more coolant in, we waited around 20 minutes, and decided to take the back roads home.

One mile into the residential area of Highland and the car overheats again.  We were out of coolant at this point.  We weren’t too far from a mechanic, but the sign was in Spanish and the person we found there barely spoke English.  They had just closed.

I was beginning to pull my hair out.  I was also hating myself for not wearing socks while wearing a pair of danskos.

We walk over to a regular grocery store and buy more coolant and a gallon of water because it’s only in the 90s with full humidity this particular day, so our clothes are soaked through with sweat.  We walk back to the car, put more coolant in, thinking the half hour of resting would be enough.

We drive a mile and a half down the road and it overheats just as we’re pulling into another mechanics.  A firestone.

They were starting to close up for the night, but they said we could pull it in to their garage so that nobody would try to steal our nearly broken car.  That night, I find the warrantee stuff I bought when we got the car, and find out everything is covered.

FINALLY!  Some good luck!

We find out the water pump was broken, as well as the thermostat.

Fixed just in time for us to take two weeks to drive to Minnesota, during the one year anniversary of us living in Louisiana.

So that’s how a young couple screw up everything in order to get the ingredients to make cheapo ramen.

Have you ever had your vehicle broken down without any way to contact the outside world?  Does it seem like no matter what you do, you just seem to have increasingly bad luck?  Let me know in the comments!

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How A Scentsy Warmer Broke My Toilet

Okay, to be fair, it was mostly my fault.

This story happened when I was living in Alaska, shortly after I got married.  Alex and I were still in the honeymoon stage, we were just getting to know each other still, and I thought that absolutely nothing could ever go wrong in my life because I’d already survived shit creek in my teen years.

This particular night, it was a little balmy at -45 degrees, and I was tidying up the house.  I had my scentsy warmer filled to the brim with cubes so my house smelled of lavender goodness.  Since I had hardly any furniture at this time, mostly I was just vacuuming.  This was actually before I had Luna or Sahara, so mostly the vacuuming was just getting the dust off of everything because we had nothing but gravel roads in rural North Pole.

I decided that the cubes had used all of their scents and instead of dumping the hot wax in the garbage like I was supposed to, I decide to be a true idiot and dump the hot wax into the toilet.  It solidified immediately, making a huge chunk of cold wax in the toilet.  Since I don’t want to stick my hands in the toilet, I decide to flush.

Now, for those of you who are not engineers, let me explain what happens next.

  1. The flush starts to act funny because the wax gets really cold in Alaskan piping.
  2. The toilet stops working
  3. The Empress Majestic Dodo (me) decides to keep flushing, which it can’t because the giant ball of wax is stuck in the piping.

So, obviously, the toilet begins to flood the bathroom.

And after a few minutes, it starts to flood the hallway.  Then the bedroom.  Then the living room.

Alex was at work until midnight and it was around 8:30 at night.  I start to full blown panic.  We didn’t have a plunger because we never thought we’d ever clog the toilet, so I just keep flushing, hoping that it will start to work again eventually.  When the water is reaching the living room, I know I have to call Alex.

Me: Hey, honey, do you have to stay at work tonight?  Can you quite possibly come home right fucking now?

Alex: No, it’s Red Flag right now, I’m stuck here until probably one in the morning.  Why?  What did you do?

Me: Did you know that you’re not supposed to flush hot wax down the toilet?

Alex is quiet for a few beats.  I’m pretty sure he was banging his head against the wall, considering I heard a few thumps while I was waiting for him to respond.

Me: The entire apartment is kind of flooding right now.

Alex: Did you put towels down?

Me: I honestly didn’t even think of that.  I’ll do that.

Alex: I’ll see if they’ll let me go home since you’re trying to ensure that we never get our security deposit back.

When we got married, we married our towel collection as well.  He had a bunch of pretty, white towels and all of my towels were either a light tan or a dark burgundy.  Since I’d had them for a couple of years, I figured the color wouldn’t bleed at all so I throw every towel we have on the floor to soak up the toilet water.  The toilet eventually stopped flooding, but it still wouldn’t flush.

Alex was home about twenty minutes later, to which we put the towels in a garbage bag and head to Fairbanks to get a plunger.  After the thirty minute drive to Wal Mart, we stop at the laundry room in our apartment complex to wash all of the towels.

Naturally, I am not my mom who is a wizard at laundry and do not think to separate the colors from the whites.

All of our towels turned pink.

My husband declared me the Majestic Empress Dodo.  Never again, am I allowed to fix the toilet.

 

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I Think My Husband Is Trying To Tell Me Something

So I came home to this today.

Not even exaggerated.

Not even exaggerated.

This is my office desk. Underneath the note, Tupperware, dirty dishes, empty bottles and box of vitamins, is my laptop. Alex knows that the first thing I do when I get home is go on my laptop.

These were all of the dirty dishes in my office.

And my mess from breakfast.

Here’s what the note says.

Naturally, it isn't "Clean your fucking mess." that's far too easy.

Naturally, it isn’t “Clean your fucking mess.” that’s far too easy.

In case you can’t read that, it says “Hi! I’m a subtle clue to a complex riddle. ‘Clean your ____ing mess.’ Take your time, it’s a doozy.”

So, naturally, I put all of the garbage, the entire pile, into the kitchen, as I always do, and got on my laptop to explore the internet. Because that’s what he’s expecting, and I would never disappoint my husband by surprising him.

 

Like what you read?  Follow me on facebook!  I’ll be posting strange news stories and updates!

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How the Hunger Games Saved My Marriage: Part III

So we didn’t find a hotel in Montana.  And every hotel we went into between great falls and Medora, ND, had vacancy signs but the people at the desks were total dicks.  By the time we got to Medora, it was around ten in the morning and we decided to say “Fuck it, we’re just going to Grandma’s from here.”

I decided to drive from Medora to Fargo because I had done that drive before with my family. 

For those of you who are unfamiliar with Medora, if you ever get the chance to visit, I suggest it.  It’s in the bad lands in North Dakota and it’s a very pretty landscape of endless fields and the painted canyons.  The musical there is breathtakingly wonderful, the old fashioned pictures are great, and there’s lots to do if you’re there for a day or two.  I highly recommend it.  I’ve been there a few times and I would love to go again in the near future.

 

Anyway, since Alex isn’t really big on sight seeing, he decided to sleep while I drove.  While I had chosen to drive so he could enjoy the beauty that is North Dakota (I don’t care what anyone says, NoDak is beautiful).

At around one PM, we drive through Bismark, to which I decide it’s time to call Grandma and let her know that we’re halfway across NoDak.

Me: Hey Grandma, we’re in Bismark!

Grandma: Okay.  So when will you be here?

Me: Uh… How far is Bismark from Fargo?

Grandma: I dunno, not too far I don’t think.  I’ll have dinner ready at five.  Get here by five.

Me: Uh… okay.

 

So we keep driving and once we get into Fargo I am totally confused.  Fargo had doubled in size the last time I had gone there.  To which Alex, of course, is teasing me.

Alex: I thought you knew Fargo really well.

Me:  I’ve never known it really well, but nothing is the same.  WHERE THE FUCK AM I?!

So I go onto google maps which has caused Alex to take away my driving privelages, which is when we notice Luna.

Luna is shaking in the backseat.  Her tail is wagging and her ears are up.  We’re confused until we realize that the rolling fields of grass look like a giant dog park to her, since the dog park in Alaska was always in a large grassy field.

We roll our eyes.  She thinks that after four days of straight driving we’re at a giant dog park.  Poor girl.

We get to grandma’s to which we arrived ten to five, where grandma was putting food on the table.

Now, I’m pretty sure my grandma is a Wizard.

You see, she was a farmer’s wife for 47 years, and about nine years ago my grandpa died, but she never lost that farmer’s wife mentality.  On top of that, she’s a full blooded Norwegian and has a really thick Minnesota accent and honestly looks like a grandma.  She has the big glasses, short curly white hair, a few inches shorter than me, pleasantly plump, and has a very distinguishable laugh that I adore.  She fits into the grandma look and persona very well.

The reason I say that she’s a wizard is because the food she makes tastes like she used the tears of angels to season it with, all cream based food, with a pistachio dessert that is to die for.  And we were so full.  And we woke up full the next day, 14 hours after we ate.

Like, not even kidding, I’m pretty sure I was going to die.

Now, my grandma is 80 years old and has lost her filter, giving her quite a bit of spunk that she’s never had before.  She mentions about how she doesn’t like animals in the house.  My dogs are passed out on the floor in the living room.

Me: Do you want me to put them outside?

Grandma: No, they can be in here.  But I really don’t like animals in the house.

Me: So tell me, what was it like growing up in the dirty thirties?

Gramdma: Well we had nothing.  No television, no food, hardly any clothes.  Dust everywhere.  And we never had animals in the house. (these are her exact words)

Me: I told you I can put them in the garage or outside.

Grandma: Oh no, they’re fine.  I just don’t think animals belong in the house.

 

I posted on facebook that Alex and I had made it to Grandmas after four days of driving, to which it seemed a lot of my cousins decided to stop by to say hi.  Alex came out to say hi then retreated to the bedroom to pass out.  My cousins and aunt were confused, until I explained that we drove for over 30 hours from Prince George, British Columbia, all the way to Minnesota.

When they realized that I had been awake for close to 32 hours, they wished me luck on the rest of the trip and left.  But only after mooching some dessert from Grandma.

Next morning at 7:30, grandma had breakfast for us.  And we were still full from the night before.

Seriously, she’s a damn wizard.  We forced ourselves to eat the freakin’ delicious breakfast she made, fed the dogs the leftovers, to which she told us how she doesn’t like animals in the house, we gave her a hug, and off to Minneapolis we went.

I had Alex drive most of the way, but there is one place, in Clearwater, that is possibly the best truckstop ever.  The Nelson Bros. Truck Stop and Bakery.  They serve wild rice sausage, everything smothered in gravy, two breakfast platters of food that’s cheap, and their apple fritters are about a pound from how freaking huge they are.  This is a favorite of Alex’s to stop at when we go to Minnesota, so we stopped in and got some pastries and sausage, immediately regretting the fritters because we were still full from Grandmas.

Now, I understand this is a fairly boring post so far, but it’s about to get entertaining.

Since I’m originally from Minneapolis and I used to steal my moms car at two in the morning to drive around, then fill up the gas tank so mom wouldn’t notice (sorry to break it to you this way mom), I like to think that I know Minneapolis pretty well.

Except I forgot that I haven’t lived in Minneapolis in five years and I hadn’t been to Minnesota in the summer for the past five years. 

And every single fucking highway was closed for construction so I had to take the FUCKING SIDE ROADS.

But I couldn’t tell Alex this.  Because he said if I got lost once, I wasn’t allowed to drive the rest of the trip.

So we were on I-94 from montana and it goes right through Minneapolis, which is perfect.  But in order to get to my home town, which is technically a suburb of Minneapolis, I have to hop onto 694.

I saw a sign for 494 and for 694.  I got excited because I was like OH MY GOD I RECOGNIZE 494 SO THAT MUST BE THE ROAD THAT GETS ME TO MY MOMS HOUSE!

Oh, how wrong I was.

I take 494 and after I’ve gone thirty miles south of my mom’s house and end up in fucking Minnetonka, I decide to tell Alex that we’re horribly lost and I have no idea where we are.  And we need to call my mom.

Alex: Hey, we’re in Minneapolis and we’re lost.

Mom: Haha, Leah’s driving isn’t she?

Alex: Yes, actually.  We’re in… Minnetonka?

Mom: WHAT THE HELL?!  How the hell did you end up in Minnetonka

Step-dad (who was listening to mom): They took 494 instead of 694, didn’t they?

Alex: I heard him say that, yeah we’re on 494.

Step dad (who takes the phone from my mom): Alex, why did you let a woman drive?

Me: (while driving into the town I was born in, Crystal) OH MY GOD I KNOW WHERE WE ARE!

Alex: What?

Me: I’M SIX BLOCKS FROM MY DADS HOUSE!  SCREW YOU GUYS I KNOW HOW TO GET HOME!

 

To which all the roads had changed names and locations because of the construction in the past five years, so we had to look on google maps on how to get to my moms house.  To which my entire family teased me relentlessly for the entire eight day visit in Minneapolis.

 

My defense: They never told me there was insane amounts of construction in Minneapolis.

Their retort: It’s Minnesota in the summer, of course there’s construction.

 

The fourths and final part shall be posted next week.  Give your thoughts on this installment of the trip.  While this part was slow, it’ll pick up for the next piece. 

Comments? Thoughts?  Suggestions?  Cockroaches?  LET ME KNOW IN THE COMMENTS BELOW!

How The Hunger Games Saved my Marriage: Part 1 (the drive from Alaska to Louisiana)

Just to warn you, this is going to be a loooooooong post.  And it’s only part one of probably three or four parts.

Can’t say I didn’t warn you.

 

I think I’ve mentioned how Alex and I drove from Fairbanks, AK, to Shreveport, LA, over the course of two weeks.  My husband is an enlisted man, and we adopted two dogs, as I’ve mentioned on several occasions.  They’re fantastic dogs, and I did not ever have the intention of giving them up once laying eyes on them. In addition to this, military families have a horrible reputation for giving up their pets after leaving a base, and considering my dogs had both been abandoned once before, I knew that they would have broken hearts if we left them.  So because of this, when we found out that we were getting stationed in Louisiana, I had eight months to figure out exactly how we were going to bring the dogs with us.

My husband briefly mentioned how we could find new homes for them considering how expensive it was to ship them, to which I told him he would be divorced and die mysteriously if he ever suggested that again, to which we both looked into the two options of moving our pups.

The little devils

The little devils

The first would be flying them from Fairbanks to Shreveport, to which the military would not help us with, and it would be over $1,000 per dog.  When told this, my first question was “Are they riding in first class?” and when the woman said they’d be in a kennel next to each other in the cargo area.  Apparently they would have a layover in Minneapolis and Houston, then from there in Shreveport.  They would not be flying on the same planes as us, possibly getting there hours before or after us.

This was basically a hell no.

We considred flying to Minneapolis for a few days to visit my family and from Minneapolis, driving down to Louisiana, but flying a dog to Minneapolis from Fairbanks cost about the same as flying a dog to Louisiana.

Once again, this was a hell no.

My husky mix Luna is… special.  She’s way too smart for her own good, and incredibly beautiful for a dog.  As my vet in Alaska put it, “She’s perfect and emotionally damaged.”  She’s afraid of her own shadow, and took six months to be able to approach us in the house for belly rubs. While she’s much better than she was when we first got her, she’s a very skittish dog.

Luna is not amused by your shenanigans.... ever

Luna is not amused by your shenanigans…. ever

So after much fighting and debating, we decided we were going to drive the 4,200 miles across North America.  Luckily, we were driving in early August so we hoped that the roads wouldn’t be too horrible and we thought, for sure, it would only take two days to get through Canada.  We were planning on driving at least 700 miles a day, just trying to get through Canada as fast as we could.  Maybe stopping to take pictures.  We were going to camp out in a tent every night to save money, bring our miniature gas stove so we could cook eggs on that in the morning and we got a small cooler and I spent two days making sandwiches and getting freezer packs so we wouldn’t have to eat out.  Ever.

Of course this didn’t happen, but we will discuss that later.

Luckily, the military will pay you for driving down, so we bought an SUV, hearing of how the mountain roads are a little rough, loaded up the back, got all the doctor appointments out of the way, got seatbelts for the dogs, and bought The Hunger Games Series audiobooks to listen to throughout the drive.  Thank you Suzanne Collins.

Now, if anyone has ever met me or my husband, you would probably wonder why we would ever need audiobooks.  My husband is the chattiest person I have ever met.  He will talk for hours upon hours and never quiet, and while not as chatty as him, I’m pretty chatty.  My mother has commented how there is never a quiet moment when we’re in a room together.

But when you spend ten days in a car together, there’s a chance that you’ll run out of stuff to talk about.  To ensure that we didn’t stab each other on the drive, we bought the audio books, thinking that those books would be more than enough for the drive.  We even got The Hobbit audiobook to ensure that if we did run out of the first choice books, we wouldn’t be totally at a loss.  We had lots of Christopher Titus on our phones, nearly memorized, and we commented that NOBODY can ever get tired of Christopher Titus.

So my last day in Alaska, I went to my work, hugged all of my previous coworkers, cried a little bit, tried to see all of my friends before I went (and failed miserably, I’m sorry Marissa), and cleaned our apartment to within an inch of its life.  Seriously, I mopped the walls so nobody could say I didn’t wash the walls.  Only to find out they were going to paint the walls and I didn’t need to do that.  We got our full deposit back, and our Landlady hugged us and told us that if we ever moved back to Alaska, we could rent from her again.

We got the dogs in their seatbelt harness, told them we were going for a car ride, and we were off.

We had sedatives for them, but we wanted to see if we could go without.  For you see, they are usually excellent car dogs.

The first two hundred miles in Alaska went very smoothly.  The roads were uncongested, our cooler was fully packed, the windshield didn’t have any chips in it, the tires weren’t flat.  Really, you couldn’t ask for more.

But the dogs were a little miserable.   You see, whenever we took them on a car ride, they expected the dog park for an hour and a twenty minute drive home, followed by a giant rawhide and belly rubs for the rest of the evening.  After two hours in the car, seeing terrain that was unfamiliar to them, Luna looked like life had totally and completely defeated her.  Sahara was in a full blown panic.  She was whining and shaking and trying to crawl into my husband’s lap.  She hated her harness to the point that she twisted herself in her seatbelt so badly that she was stuck and howling.

Oh, no dog was more miserable than Sahara.  Hell hath no fury like a Sahara who is tangled in her seatbelt and homesick.

 

Don't let her misery fool you, she's just looking for attention

Don’t let her misery fool you, she’s just looking for attention

So we decide it’s time to give them the sedatives.  Luna reacts very well to the sedative, being asleep for 12 hours from it, or waking up with hazy eyes and curling on my lap, her face similar to “I love you so much mom.  You’re so awesome.  I love belly rubs. And ears.  My ears are awesome.”  Basically, Luna was stoned out of her mind.  She even had the munchies.  While Luna didn’t really need the sedatives, we knew she was scared and wanted her to feel relaxed and realize that it was just a very long car ride through Canada.

Sahara was not so lucky.  The sedative worked on her for a half hour.  Then she was whining even more.  Being even more miserable than before.  Her expressions were more like “I took a nap, TIME TO GO INTO BATSHIT CRAZY MODE!  WHERE ARE THE BEARS?!  THEY SHALL BE MURDERED BY MY RAZOR SHARP PAWS!”

When we got into Canada, the roads went from smooth and pristine to pothole city.  We went over one pothole, causing the service light to go on in our car.

How we looked and felt considering we were only three hours into the two week drive

How we looked and felt considering we were only three hours into the two week drive

We stopped the car, looked around the car and saw nothing wrong, but the words “Perform Service” kept popping up.  The road was bumpy, we were terrified that we’d get a flat tire, and we were slowed down to a crawl because of all of the potholes.  But not to worry, the potholes turned into GRAVEL ROADS WITH BIGGER POT HOLES with around 80 miles between towns.  Yukon Territory really believes in spacing out their towns.  Occasionally we would see signs for Pie and Coffee, to which we never turned down.
We stopped driving around midnight in Whitehorse, Yukon Territory.  A beautiful little town, we stopped at Takhini Hot Springs, and spent ten dollars on a tent site, tied the dogs up outside, blew up the air mattress, and curled up.

To which the dogs began to bark and cry, freaking out that they were being forced to sleep outdoors.  Sahara was a rescue who spent, likely, several months in the Alaskan wilderness with her puppies, so she always liked to sleep inside, on the bed, head on the pillow, between my husband and I.  She’s very particular like that.  Luna tends to sleep on the couch with one leg straight up in the air, tongue hanging out of her mouth, sometimes with a blanket on the lower half of her body.

No spoiled dogs of mine were going to be forced to sleep outside!

Afraid of waking up other campers, we brought them into the tent with us.

Now, please keep in mind, my husband is close to 6’7” and he’s pretty solid.  I’m round, and it was a “4” person tent. The queen size air mattress took up most of the floor space in the tent.  The dogs, of course, had to be in the bed with us.  So a blow up queen mattress, which is actually a full size, a very tall, solid man, two german shepherd mixes, and myself on this TINY air mattress.

Then there was thunder.

There is no such thing as thunder in Alaska.  At least not in Fairbanks.  My dogs had NEVER heard thunder in their short lives.  So they go into a full panic.   Not only did they puncture the air mattress, they almost destroyed the tent, attacking the side while howling and snarling, trying to scare the thunder away.

We were awake at 7 AM, having only gotten a couple hours of sleep, smelling awful from not being able to take a shower.  We decided to not go to the hotspring to soak, and we found a truck stop to have some breakfast.

The story will continue in part 2 of this epic tale of traveling through Canada.

What are your thoughts so far?