Author Topic: SAHM-My wealthy family's gifts/lifestyle make me feel like a "heel".  (Read 8438 times)

Simple Abundant Living

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It's funny how I can follow different blogs and groups with similar habits, but greatly varying attitudes.  For a lot here, living on less is a lifestyle choice that is enjoyed and celebrated.  These posts irked me because I don't see her lifestyle choice (SAHM, pastor husband) as "less fortunate".  I also thought her insistence on others not talking about their trips or home improvement to be sour grapes.  And then in part two, where she instructs how others should give to her?!  What do you think?

http://moneysavingmom.com/2013/12/how-to-bless-the-less-fortunate-without-making-them-feel-like-a-heel-part-1.html

http://moneysavingmom.com/2013/12/how-to-bless-the-less-fortunate-without-making-them-feel-like-a-heel-part-2.html

Capsu78

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Re: SAHM-My wealthy family's gifts/lifestyle make me feel like a "heel".
« Reply #1 on: December 14, 2013, 10:04:41 AM »
I read both and have a soft lean toward cutting her some slack based on starting "the" conversation and putting her own perspective on it.
That being said, I do see what you see Mrs Green'stache.

This conversation is different from the media's "income inequality" talking point that is being foisted on us this week to try to "turn down the volumn" on the complete disruption of the health insurance industry and the real people who are being hurt by it..  There is a "growing inequality" between our family income this year and Beyonce's and George Clooney's too, but no one is talking about that!

This SAHM is at least trying to find some common practices that would make things work when families have different levels of prosperity... at least she's avoids complaining about "unfulfilled outcomes" of the choices she has made unlike some of the other blogs I have read recently. 
« Last Edit: December 14, 2013, 10:56:10 AM by Capsu78 »

MrsPete

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Re: SAHM-My wealthy family's gifts/lifestyle make me feel like a "heel".
« Reply #2 on: December 14, 2013, 12:54:27 PM »
Eh, I'm kind of mid-point on this one. 

I don't hear sour grapes here; rather, I hear, "Here is a bit of insight into my life.  I want you to understand where I'm coming from."  I absolutely can see that her more-wealthy sister might not realize she was "out gifting the parents", and it seems like they worked that out just fine in a way that made both sisters feel good about the situation.  And having been a child of poverty, I am nodding my head to the "Don't buy gifts that turn out to be money-pits".  I can remember several times as a child that I received gifts that required batteries, and once the initial set was used up, I could never use that toy again.  I particularly remember receiving a little sewing machine that held (expensive) glue cartridges instead of a needle and thread.  I LOVED that thing and begged and begged my mom to buy me more cartridges; at the time, I didn't understand why she could not. 

However, if things are really tight enough to be uncomfortable /to say this publically, why is she not working (at least part-time)?  And why does she have three children?  If things are so tight that she genuinely can't afford to a drive to her parents' house, I think it's time for her to find a way to bring some money into the house; I mean, what if there's an emergency and she needed to get there?  I would be very uncomfortable living that close to the financial edge.   
« Last Edit: December 22, 2013, 10:09:37 PM by MrsPete »

Simple Abundant Living

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Re: SAHM-My wealthy family's gifts/lifestyle make me feel like a "heel".
« Reply #3 on: December 14, 2013, 02:04:52 PM »
The "sour grapes" I was referring to was about her comment that she didn't like everyone talking about their trips to Bermuda or their home improvement plans.  My feeling is that this is what's going on in their lives.  Why can't she be part of the conversation, "Wow, Bermuda sounds fabulous!  What was your favorite part?"  Would she rather have everyone hiding what their doing and tip-toe-ing around her to not hurt her feelings?  She should talk about her travel plans "We've got an amazing camping trip planned with the kiddos!" or "We are going to the storytelling festival this year, the kids loved it!"  I know because I chose to be a SAHM, that our purchases and trips are different than if I were a working mom.  But I never felt bad about that.  I felt like I was incredibly fortunate to be able to be home and raise our kids.  I think sour grapes and dissatisfaction come from the comparison, and an inability to be happy for others, or not being truly happy in your choice to be home.

I get that some gifts are not well thought out.  But it was a gift.  Someone thought of you and did their best.  People have given my kids tons of stuff I would have never picked out- either it was impractical or I knew they could use/would like something else.  Usually kids open and play with it anyway, but if it's a gift to the parents- take it back and get that gift card you were really wanting.  Or donate it to someone who could really use it. 

I guess what irks me boils down to these things:

1)  Considering herself "less fortunate".  If you can be a SAHM with 3 healthy kids and live in the US, you are very fortunate. 

2)  Pouting when other siblings talk about their "wealthy" life.  I just think (back to point 1) that if you're truly happy in your choices, you can be in the conversation with others about their choices.  Even if you don't agree with how they spend their time or money, you can be civil and be part of the conversation.

3)  Not being assertive and asking for what you want.  She complains that her dad promised her gas money to travel to see him, then never gave it.  My thought is that he probably forgot.  But if it's important, she could give him a gentle reminder.

4)  Directing other how to "bless" you with gifts.  If they ask, let them know.  If they don't, accept it graciously.

*A lot of this doesn't apply to the truly less fortunate, those who are going through really hard times because of medical or financial problems out of their control.  I am talking only about someone whose life choices mean that they won't be going to Bermuda any time soon.

mbk

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Re: SAHM-My wealthy family's gifts/lifestyle make me feel like a "heel".
« Reply #4 on: December 14, 2013, 02:43:16 PM »
My 2cents on this topic.
Feeling connected with anonymous people with similar thinking on a blog like MMM is easy. But if you drift away ideologically from your family and childhood friends, it gets very unpleasant during social gatherings or festivities.

I am in a similar situation like the one the author was/is in. Due to my PhD, my entry into jobs is delayed by
7 years. During that time, most of school friends (who are very close to me) were earning very good paychecks and now they are at jobs which pay very handsome salaries. As a postdoc, my salary is very limited. Couple it with the fact that my wife doesn't work and my friends' spouses make more than what I make.

My wife & I don't feel jealousy towards them. But the social meetings get very awkward. They want to drive around, do things that cost money. We want to bike around, be careful with money. When meeting an individual couple, we can plan such that it is not awkward. But when we go to gatherings, we feel out of place. We can't always talk about only how much we can afford.

We don't feel we are poor. My wife & I have a good life. We eat well, bike around, visit places, do things. I guess the better term is feeling relatively poor when around my friends.

These are the same people with whom I spent years (from morning 8AM to evening 8PM every day). These are the same people with whom I spent countless vacations as a teenager. But when my friend asked my wife & me to join their family for a vacation in Las Vegas this weekend, I turned down.

Fuyu

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Re: SAHM-My wealthy family's gifts/lifestyle make me feel like a "heel".
« Reply #5 on: December 14, 2013, 05:02:36 PM »
In the post, she writes that she be happier with an anonymous, generous gift instead of knowing that the present came from a specific family member... what the difference? I would have thought receiving an anonymous gift would feel more like charity than if you knew who gave you the present.

Simple Abundant Living

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Re: SAHM-My wealthy family's gifts/lifestyle make me feel like a "heel".
« Reply #6 on: December 14, 2013, 07:49:53 PM »
My 2cents on this topic.
Feeling connected with anonymous people with similar thinking on a blog like MMM is easy. But if you drift away ideologically from your family and childhood friends, it gets very unpleasant during social gatherings or festivities.

I am in a similar situation like the one the author was/is in. Due to my PhD, my entry into jobs is delayed by
7 years. During that time, most of school friends (who are very close to me) were earning very good paychecks and now they are at jobs which pay very handsome salaries. As a postdoc, my salary is very limited. Couple it with the fact that my wife doesn't work and my friends' spouses make more than what I make.

My wife & I don't feel jealousy towards them. But the social meetings get very awkward. They want to drive around, do things that cost money. We want to bike around, be careful with money. When meeting an individual couple, we can plan such that it is not awkward. But when we go to gatherings, we feel out of place. We can't always talk about only how much we can afford.

We don't feel we are poor. My wife & I have a good life. We eat well, bike around, visit places, do things. I guess the better term is feeling relatively poor when around my friends.

These are the same people with whom I spent years (from morning 8AM to evening 8PM every day). These are the same people with whom I spent countless vacations as a teenager. But when my friend asked my wife & me to join their family for a vacation in Las Vegas this weekend, I turned down.

I understand what you mean about relative poverty.  But I think that it's something people have to come to peace with and be honest about rather than expect others to tip-toe around you.  I have changed some of my family traditions of holiday and birthday gift giving.  It was too much stress and expense.  As far as friends, I can see that's harder to admit that you can't do everything they do.  I would invite them to do things you can afford.

Simple Abundant Living

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Re: SAHM-My wealthy family's gifts/lifestyle make me feel like a "heel".
« Reply #7 on: December 14, 2013, 08:23:49 PM »
In the post, she writes that she be happier with an anonymous, generous gift instead of knowing that the present came from a specific family member... what the difference? I would have thought receiving an anonymous gift would feel more like charity than if you knew who gave you the present.

Yeah, I felt like getting anonymous gifts so she can boast to everyone how great it is while the whole time she knows its from you (wink wink) is just bizarre.  The people I know who post  to facebook "thanks so much to the anonymous friend who dropped off the gift card to Walmart!  How did you know we had no milk for the kiddos?!" seem to be fishing for more anonymous gifts.

annaraven

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Re: SAHM-My wealthy family's gifts/lifestyle make me feel like a "heel".
« Reply #8 on: December 15, 2013, 01:38:09 AM »
"The people I know who post  to facebook "thanks so much to the anonymous friend who dropped off the gift card to Walmart!  How did you know we had no milk for the kiddos?!" seem to be fishing for more anonymous gifts."

I disagree on this. I recently was able to pay the electric bill as a Yule gift for a friend. She just went through brain surgery, with husband currently unemployed, and the insurance company or whoever was supposed to be covering things didn't come through when they were supposed to, so they couldn't come up with the money for the electric bill. (This isn't a normal situation for them. They're low-income but very frugal.) I paid it with cash and sent it to her in a card, anonymously, so she could stop stressing about the electric bill and enjoy christmas with her family. She posted about it on Facebook thanking whoever did it. It did NOT feel like fishing for more anonymous gifts - it felt like she was letting the giver know it was appreciated. She also promised to "pay it forward". Given that I know her from her wonderful community work, I have no doubt she will. 

mbk

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Re: SAHM-My wealthy family's gifts/lifestyle make me feel like a "heel".
« Reply #9 on: December 15, 2013, 12:45:21 PM »

I understand what you mean about relative poverty.  But I think that it's something people have to come to peace with and be honest about rather than expect others to tip-toe around you.  I have changed some of my family traditions of holiday and birthday gift giving.  It was too much stress and expense.  As far as friends, I can see that's harder to admit that you can't do everything they do.  I would invite them to do things you can afford.

I agree. I don't want others to tip-toe around my situation. Also, we are very comfortable with our friends. I am just mentioning that we feel out of place when we don't have anything to contribute to the discussion/activities when we meet as a group. Most of it stems from lack of mutually interesting experiences I guess. 

CommonCents

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Re: SAHM-My wealthy family's gifts/lifestyle make me feel like a "heel".
« Reply #10 on: December 15, 2013, 01:03:09 PM »

I understand what you mean about relative poverty.  But I think that it's something people have to come to peace with and be honest about rather than expect others to tip-toe around you.  I have changed some of my family traditions of holiday and birthday gift giving.  It was too much stress and expense.  As far as friends, I can see that's harder to admit that you can't do everything they do.  I would invite them to do things you can afford.

I agree. I don't want others to tip-toe around my situation. Also, we are very comfortable with our friends. I am just mentioning that we feel out of place when we don't have anything to contribute to the discussion/activities when we meet as a group. Most of it stems from lack of mutually interesting experiences I guess.

I read both blogs.  And I take a more charitable approach to that particular guest post. 

I think the "please don't discuss your great trip" wasn't meant as sour grapes, but more that she has been hearing about them raving about their trips etc and doesn't feel part of the conversation and community.  That the great trips are all they want to talk about.  There are two very different conversations you could have.  One where the kitchen remodel and glueing down the formica counter are both open to be discussed, and one where the wealthy folks make the less wealthy folks feel bad about their life.  (I understand only *you* can make yourself feel bad, but it's hard to ignore constant comments that are putting you down.)

btw, it may interest you that the author wrote in the comments that she wrote "less fortunate" focusing on the monetary aspect of "fortunate" in other words, she did not mean to imply less lucky/happy etc.

abhe8

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Re: SAHM-My wealthy family's gifts/lifestyle make me feel like a "heel".
« Reply #11 on: December 15, 2013, 01:09:19 PM »
some of the suggestions in the blog posts seem appropriate (ie. no gifts with batteries) but the whole "don't give me earrings or a scarf, as I might not have anything to match" seems a little off. A gift is just that...a gift. you accept graciously and if you dont' want it, give it on to somoene else (or the thrift store). how silly to expect everyone to come and examine the contents of your closet before picking out a gift. sheesh.

i felt the tone of the posts was a little "poor me, i'm poor and you are making my life miserable." I agree with some of the pps, that either you are content with what you have or you make changes to suit your desires. I think the example of gifts from her sister to her children was a good example of compromise.

annaraven

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Re: SAHM-My wealthy family's gifts/lifestyle make me feel like a "heel".
« Reply #12 on: December 15, 2013, 08:28:14 PM »
the whole "don't give me earrings or a scarf, as I might not have anything to match" seems a little off. A gift is just that...a gift. you accept graciously and if you dont' want it, give it on to somoene else (or the thrift store). how silly to expect everyone to come and examine the contents of your closet before picking out a gift. sheesh.
As long as the giftors don't expect the giftee to wear the inappropriate gift (and have to find the appropriate outfit to go with) in order to show "proper" appreciation, which some folks do.


Simple Abundant Living

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Re: SAHM-My wealthy family's gifts/lifestyle make me feel like a "heel".
« Reply #13 on: December 15, 2013, 09:52:23 PM »
"The people I know who post  to facebook "thanks so much to the anonymous friend who dropped off the gift card to Walmart!  How did you know we had no milk for the kiddos?!" seem to be fishing for more anonymous gifts."

I disagree on this. I recently was able to pay the electric bill as a Yule gift for a friend. She just went through brain surgery, with husband currently unemployed, and the insurance company or whoever was supposed to be covering things didn't come through when they were supposed to, so they couldn't come up with the money for the electric bill. (This isn't a normal situation for them. They're low-income but very frugal.) I paid it with cash and sent it to her in a card, anonymously, so she could stop stressing about the electric bill and enjoy christmas with her family. She posted about it on Facebook thanking whoever did it. It did NOT feel like fishing for more anonymous gifts - it felt like she was letting the giver know it was appreciated. She also promised to "pay it forward". Given that I know her from her wonderful community work, I have no doubt she will.

That's a great thing you did for your friend.  The scenario I put in quotation marks was actually done by my sister's SIL (and she was/is fishing for more charity), so I may have seen the situation through that light.  Maybe there are times when people can say it sincerely and not be trying to hint they would like more charity. 

Simple Abundant Living

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Re: SAHM-My wealthy family's gifts/lifestyle make me feel like a "heel".
« Reply #14 on: December 15, 2013, 10:14:56 PM »

I read both blogs.  And I take a more charitable approach to that particular guest post. 

I think the "please don't discuss your great trip" wasn't meant as sour grapes, but more that she has been hearing about them raving about their trips etc and doesn't feel part of the conversation and community.  That the great trips are all they want to talk about.  There are two very different conversations you could have.  One where the kitchen remodel and glueing down the formica counter are both open to be discussed, and one where the wealthy folks make the less wealthy folks feel bad about their life.  (I understand only *you* can make yourself feel bad, but it's hard to ignore constant comments that are putting you down.)

btw, it may interest you that the author wrote in the comments that she wrote "less fortunate" focusing on the monetary aspect of "fortunate" in other words, she did not mean to imply less lucky/happy etc.

Yes, I can see situations where truly snobbish people are discussing their fancy-pants vacations and suggesting you should get carrara marble if your formica is having problems.   I would suggest not spending so much time with such people.  You can still be part of the conversation, be polite, then leave them with a giggle and think about how frivolous their lives are.  My husband and my families have all kinds of financial situations.  DH has a brother who bought a $6 million ski home.  He has a sister whose husband's furniture business went under during the recession. 

I was imagining maybe a tad less snobbery in the OP's family.  Maybe professional people who take a winter ski trip or Europe in the summer.  I wouldn't mind talking to them about it.  For example, we recently had a dinner with my DH's boss.  It was at his multi-million dollar house he just built.  There were pictures of their many vacations on the walls.  Trips to every tropical island, many countries, and Everest base camp.  I talked to the bosses DW about the trips, experiences, and the choices they made in building the house.  I learned a lot that night.  I found it interesting even though I won't be going on trips or building a house like that anytime soon.  Other coworkers of my DH were there including other managers.  Every car parked there was new and flashy.  Me and hubby drove our 8 year old minivan.  ;)

And I went home feeling happy I had no car payments and that my house was nice enough for us.
« Last Edit: December 15, 2013, 10:16:37 PM by Mrs. Green'stache »

ShortInSeattle

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Re: SAHM-My wealthy family's gifts/lifestyle make me feel like a "heel".
« Reply #15 on: December 15, 2013, 11:55:21 PM »
Sometimes she gets scarves or necklaces that don't match her current wardrobe. How inconsiderate of her friends.

I'm an Autumn, not a Summer, bitches. Get it right. Silver earrings totally wash me out. :)

OK, she seems like a nice lady but that one example seemed silly. :)

I thought the rule of thumb was that one should accept gifts graciously. If kids compare their haul to the kids next door, that is a good conversation about values and choices, right?

I wonder if the emotion hidden behind the "feeling of being a heel" is actually the feeling of shame-something self imposed. I have recently turned down two requests to join people on vacations, and a couple other expensive outings. I didn't feel like a heel, I simply said "Thanks for thinking of us but we are going to pass." It was no big deal.

Certainly I think it was written with good intentions, and I wish her well.












greenmimama

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Re: SAHM-My wealthy family's gifts/lifestyle make me feel like a "heel".
« Reply #16 on: December 16, 2013, 07:28:18 AM »
It says it was written by Crystal but at the end it said the author wishes to remain anonymous, is it anonymous in the fact that they don't say where they live or what church they go to??

That being said, I used to be on a mommy board with Crystal, and she is a seriously sweet lady, I have to imagine that she is only trying to help.

I would say that a lot of our gift giving could be greatly improved to the less fortunate, and bragging about trips and huge money spending habits is pretty rude to  talk about all the great details right on front of her, I am assuming it is the attitude in which it is talked about.

Why shouldn't we have empathy and restraint from how we interact with people, she never said she wasn't happy for them.

It would be pretty rude of me to talk about all I have saved and everything I have done with money with our friends that don't have any, that is why I feel free to talk about it here with you all, it's the appropriate time and place. Just my 2 cents.

Fireman

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Re: SAHM-My wealthy family's gifts/lifestyle make me feel like a "heel".
« Reply #17 on: December 16, 2013, 08:35:05 AM »
Two (mostly) well intentioned blogs by a slightly complainypants blogger.  My thoughts:

1) Most of the points are good PSAs that provoke the reader to see things from a different point of view.
2) In some scenarios, the blogger had a frank conversation and corrected a problem.  In others, she bit her tongue and nothing changed.
  If you don't let someone know there's a problem then they don't know there's a problem.
  Stand up for yourself.
  Don't complain about something if you aren't going to take steps to correct it.
3) The second of the following paragraphs kind of irked me. 

"Like many people with limited finances, if you ask me if I need help, Ill usually say no. We can almost always make ends meet. Accepting help can be humbling, and I just dont want to be that kind of person that has to always be on the receiving end; Id much rather give.

However, if you dont actually ask or offer  but simply help us out with a gas card or whatever, it can be a huge blessing!"

I understand the first paragraph but the second just seems like a contradiction.  I don't want your help but if you give it to me it would be really awesome.  How would I give you something without asking or offering (other than the aforementioned anonymous gift)?

I do think it's important for folks to understand that not everyone lives the same way or has the same values and for that reason, I agree with most of the content of the two blogs. 

CommonCents

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Re: SAHM-My wealthy family's gifts/lifestyle make me feel like a "heel".
« Reply #18 on: December 16, 2013, 09:12:39 AM »
It says it was written by Crystal but at the end it said the author wishes to remain anonymous, is it anonymous in the fact that they don't say where they live or what church they go to??

That being said, I used to be on a mommy board with Crystal, and she is a seriously sweet lady, I have to imagine that she is only trying to help.

Crystal posted, but did not write the article.  If you read the comments, the author is the person writing under the name (or close to, as I recall): "Mama of 3 - anonymous author"

Btw, I do agree re contradictions of wanting anon gifts, and not want accessories that don't match.  (I'm not sure how an accessory can be so off that it couldn't be worn with a neutral black/white/tan shirt either.)

Ayanka

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Re: SAHM-My wealthy family's gifts/lifestyle make me feel like a "heel".
« Reply #19 on: December 30, 2013, 09:43:01 AM »
My main thought is that if she wants help, not people talking around them about big vacations, maybe clarifying that it really isn't affordable might be important. I have the feeling that she doesn't want people to know that she is 'poor'. That is ok, but accept than that swallowing some unpleasant situations rich people stories are part of the deal. If people know that you can't afford something or that it might cause budget problems after worths, they will anticipate differently.

An example is a friend of mine who is house poor. It was a decision she took after considering it and it is that important to her. I wouldn't have made the decision myself, but I can understand it. However when I will invite her to do something, I will watch the costs. I don't know if that pizza would break the bank for her, but I do know she can use the money somewhere else better. However if I didn't know about her situation I would invite her for pizza at the restaurant or the like because it is what we used to do.

amyable

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Re: SAHM-My wealthy family's gifts/lifestyle make me feel like a "heel".
« Reply #20 on: December 30, 2013, 09:54:16 AM »
Sometimes she gets scarves or necklaces that don't match her current wardrobe. How inconsiderate of her friends.

I'm an Autumn, not a Summer, bitches. Get it right. Silver earrings totally wash me out.

LOL.  I agree--just accept the gift graciously. 

Growing up, I got gifts from a variety of family members, some didn't have much, so they gave me simple things, others had more than my family and gave me things my parents could not have afforded.  My parents talked to me about why I got socks from my youngish uncle and expensive clothing from my great aunt, and I totally understood.

Rollin

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Re: SAHM-My wealthy family's gifts/lifestyle make me feel like a "heel".
« Reply #21 on: December 31, 2013, 06:40:43 AM »
In the post, she writes that she be happier with an anonymous, generous gift instead of knowing that the present came from a specific family member... what the difference? I would have thought receiving an anonymous gift would feel more like charity than if you knew who gave you the present.

Because she adds judgement?  Or she has some big issues with receiving?
« Last Edit: December 31, 2013, 06:49:50 AM by Rollin »