The Cross House

Rethinking Mr. Darcy

WARNING: This is a long, intense post. Wine might be required.



In March, I did a post about having to give up on Mr. Darcy, meaning that I had come to the conclusion that my romantic ideals for the Cross House were not realistic. In short, Jane Austin was not coming to my rescue.


To this end, I realized that I needed to transform the whole second floor into five AirB&B suites, and that I would live on the third floor. Thus, the house would generate, it was hoped, enough money to carry itself and not be a financial drain till the end of my life.

Since coming to this perfectly sensible realization though I have been…uncomfortable. The idea of a bunch of strangers in my house makes me nauseous. The idea of being an innkeeper makes me nauseous.

My sole motivation in even thinking about this plan was financial but there is no assurance of how much money would come in. If each room was $100 a night, that means that if all five rooms were rented every Friday and Saturday night for 52 weeks the income would be $48,000. But I suspect this is wildly optimistic. Rather than a 100% occupancy rate every weekend, I suspect that a 50% occupancy rate would be more like it, at best, or $24,000 a year.

Which makes me think: Give away all my privacy and allow strangers into my home for $24,000 a year?

Ahhhhhgh, where is Mr. Darcy to save me?



I am confident that if I spend a huge amount of time and energy I could do better than a 50% occupancy rate. If I devoted myself to promotion I believe that number would increase, and I could, as well, devote myself to booking events and weddings.

However, when I envision a life where I would be spending much of my time promoting and dealing with guests and cleaning toilets I think: I so don’t want such a life.

When I envision a life where I would be spending time dealing with brides I think: RUN!



A recent realization is that my idea of turning the Cross House into a AirB&B and events space is motivated by fear. Simply, I have a fear that I cannot afford my dreams for the house.

This realization has shocked me as it goes against how I have lived my life.

I am unsure if I can explain, but I do not believe that fear…is supported by the Gods. I believe that love is, that hope is, and that dreams are. But not fear. And not hate. And not anger.

I have been through a lot in life. I have experienced poverty and great success. And poverty again. And great success again. All the good things which happened to me came about because of dreams and hopes. And a lot of damn hard work!

So why, I now recognize, am I creating a future based on fear?



My oldest friend is John. He is now living on social security. He has an assisted living apartment: a studio with a tiny kitchen and a tiny bathroom. The apartment is in a gorgeous converted convent in the best part of Providence, Rhode Island.

When John describes his day I am always struck by how…calm his life is. He never worries about money. He gets up whenever he wants and goes about his day with no pressures.

John’s life is the exact opposite of mine. And I am jealous of his life.

This awareness has really shaken me for about six months now. Because, when I think about John’s life I think: If I had his life I could spend every day researching and writing books.

And this awareness has stopped me in my tracks. For, if this is what I really want, why aren’t I doing it?

And this awareness has stopped me in my tracks. For, if this is what I really want, why aren’t I doing it?



I have two books published. And their research and writing was the most enjoyable thing I have ever done. I am also incredibly proud of my books. Occasionally I think: Wow! I am in the Library of Congress! I also had a decades-long relationship with a co-owner of the esteemed publisher WW Norton, Jim. I adored Jim, and was shocked and grieved when he passed away two years ago. I lost a fabulous friend.

While proud of my books, they did not earn me a penny, as I had expected. They did not change my life in any way, as I had also expected. And this shocked me. This stunned me. This depressed me. And for all these reasons I, without realizing it, abandoned my other books which are written but not yet published:


The book is in two parts. Part One details my career in New York City as an architectural designer. Part Two details the lessons I learned. Lessons which might help others earn more money, work less, and have a better time. The overall tone is…friendly and humorous. One person who read the manuscript said: “I never learned so much while laughing so hard.”


A novel. It depicts the future. I wrote it because so many books/movies about the future are either like Minority Report (whereby Western Culture just expands exponentially) or like Mad Max (where civilization has utterly collapsed and people are killing each other for food). I wanted to write about what I sensed: A very different future but one of hope.


A novel. I am prouder of this book than anything I have ever done. The book spans three decades and depicts the life of a gay couple, Mark and David, and their best friend, Max. The book is intense. People who have read the manuscript have been shattered by events. The book though ends on a high, glorious note.


The title explains all. This has the most potential as there is a huge market for cat books.


The title, again, explains all. I worked harder on this book than all the others. I have no idea if there is a market for it.


These five books were written between 1998 and 2004.  And I have done nothing about them during all the ensuing years.

In 2006, I accidentally started my business of restoring vintage lighting. The company totally took over my life and I ended up working hours like a crazy person with a massive amount of stress involved.

Then I purchased the Cross House in March, 2014. And my crazy busy life became, somehow, crazier.

In the summer of 2014 I created this blog. And my crazy busy life became, somehow, crazier.

Oddy, I was enjoying my life more after buying the Cross House and starting the blog. For, unlike the lighting business, the latter two nourish me.



In addition to my five books which have lain dormant for fourteen years, I have four other books I am dying to write before I depart Earth in thirty-one years:


The White House seems like a permanent symbol of America. It ain’t. When basically brand new, the Brits burned it. In 1902, Roosevelt rebuilt the interior. Truman then gutted the interior and replaced the whole with steel and concrete. And besides all the architectural and structural changes, the interior decor changes regularly. The extraordinary work by Tiffany in the late 19th-century is lost. Jacqueline Kennedy transformed the interior by bringing in antiques; her work is now lost. And the Obama’s brought in a contemporary approach which had never been seen before in the White House. This, too, will soon be lost. I want to create a huge book lavishly chronicling the many many many iterations of an iconic symbol of permanence which, in reality, is constantly changing.


The book would be, basically, a running stream of consciousness about my views on things. Humor level? High.


An incredible historic house in the UK, Uppark, was almost destroyed by fire in 1989. It was resurrected, and brilliantly. In 1992, Windsor Palace suffered a severe fire. It was resurrected, and brilliantly. In Berlin, the Reichstag was burned out in the 1930s, further ravaged in WWII, rebuilt sorta kinda in the 1970s, and then lavishly resurrected in 1999. These buildings, and others, would each have a chapter.


Of course. The restoration will have to be finished before the book can be written and published.




When 2017 began I made a promise to myself: I would get one of my manuscripts self published. With the loss of my friend Jim at WW Norton, I also lost my connection to the publishing industry. And, I am deeply intrigued about the brave new world of self-publishing.

I am open to brave new worlds. My business is entirely internet-based. This blog could not have existed, what, fifteen years ago? I listen to audible books daily on my iPhone. You know, for an old guy I am pretty with it!

But, in 2017 I did not spend a minute getting one of my manuscripts on a dusty shelf transformed into an actual book.

In 2018, my friend Patricia began really nagging me. “Ross, why aren’t you moving on your books?”

Then, last month, I pulled YOU ARE A DESIGN GOD off the dusty shelf (well, a dusty computer file) and opened it for the first time in likely sixteen years.

And I loved reading through it. I kept laughing! I kept being impressed by the advice in Part II! I kept thinking: I wrote this?

During the following three weeks I made countless revisions, none large, and added some delicious stories about my time working for you-know-who (first name: Donald). I experienced a tremendous surge of joy going through the book. It is now at a printer and in a few days I will have a single copy in my hand, which will be mailed to Patricia, who I hope will create the cover art.

The next step is to have it gone through with a fine-tooth comb by a grammar editor. And Barb thinks she has somebody who can help.

Then I plan to self-publish via Amazon. And I am working to see if I can narrate an audible version.

Currently, I am refining ATLANTIA. But I might put it aside to complete MANY MEOWS.



I have given up the idea of turning the Cross House into an AirB&B.

My plan is now to retain the fabulous round bedroom as my office, something envisioned since day one. The hexagon bedroom will be my messy space filled with packing boxes and bubble-wrap, etc.

The long bedroom will, again, be mine.

I will finish the sewing room and it’s adjacent bath and sleeping porch for a roommate.

I will finish the third floor as a self-contained apartment for a roommate.

I will finish the carriage house and rent it.

With two roommates and the carriage house rented I am estimating annual rents of $38,000. This will more than offset the annual running expenses of both properties. And I will not have strangers in my house and I will not be cleaning many toilers every week and I will never have to deal with brides.

I will keep the lighting business but do not expect it to be anywhere near as consuming as it has been in the past.

I may, may, still pursue having events at the house a half-dozen times a year.

With this plan in place, the Cross House (which nourishes me) will not drain the life out of my financially. This blog (which nourishes me) will continue although I may (cover your eyes) decide to start allowing ads. I know!

And rather than spend much of my time promoting an AirB&B and events space, I will spend that time promoting my books. And, in time, research and writing books I dream about creating.

This future does not make me nauseous.


Oh, and I would love to share the Cross House and my life with a fabulous man.



55 Responses to Rethinking Mr. Darcy

  1. I would be interested in reading ALL of these books. Ross, you have a sort of passion you channel into whatever topic you’re writing on, it’s glorious to read. That passion is hard to find, just about everyone (it seems to me) lives a life of compromises and I think what makes you different is you don’t. You go full on (obviously!) in what you care about, which is good. More should endeavor to follow your example.

  2. Oh Ross, I am excited. That sounds like a perfect future. Ugggh the idea of cleaning bathrooms and dealing with brides horrifies me too.

    And I am (and always have been) a huge book worm. So if you write them I shall most certainly read them. Books have always got me through some of the most difficult patches of my life.

    As for advertising on your blog, I don’t really care, as long as I can still read it. And you spend a lot of time writing it so why shouldn’t you get some financial benefit.

  3. Dear Ross, What I’m about to say has to be said with a little bit about me. On May 13th 2013 I was diagnosed with stage 4 cancer of the esophagus. I was told I had less than 5 years to live. We thought the radiation and chemo alone would kill me. This May marked 5 years! Last Nov. I had a heart attack that also almost took my life. Ross, DO WHAT MAKES YOU HAPPY BEFORE IT’S TO LATE! I would love to read your books! Also if the man your looking for is the one in the photo. I DON’T BLAME YOU! If your that person in the photo darling any man or woman would love to love you!! Life is a gift Ross also before you can be happy with someone you have to be happy with yourself. Giving of yourself is wonderful but not if it takes away who you are. YOU ARE AMAZING!

  4. If your books are anything close to your blog, I will very gladly support you and buy them! And I mean all of them. I intend to own my own old house with it’s own library. I like this idea, though I don’t know you in feels more…Ross. It’s splendid.

  5. I can hear your excitement in your words. So brave. Wishing you great success. Except for Mr Darcy…I want him 🙂

  6. I wish that I was a friend of Colin Firth’s so I could get him to show up at the Cross House looking for an apartment.
    I have been feeling much the same about the contrast between my goals and what I find myself actually getting done. I am at a point when I feel that I may be better off living quietly on my fixed income, than to have hopes and dreams. I have been lying around reading all week because I have given up hope that working toward my goals will result in my accomplishing them. Your introspective post has come at a time when I am feeling hopeless about the future, and it has made me feel better. Thank you.

  7. Because I “feel” like I know you through a few email exchanges and this blog, Ross, I’m going on the record here saying : “YOU ARE THE WISEST MAN I KNOW!”

    Seriously, I’m thrilled you have abandoned the idea of the AirB&B and wedding venue. What a ball and chain that would become thus sucking all of the joy of your home and your life.

    As for marketing the books, This blog has become a rather organic and no doubt already successful marketing plan — as you must realize. I can’t wait to read — especially LISTEN — to any and all of your writings. And please push the Cats book. It’s been almost two years since losing my precious kitties. I live vicariously through the posts about your feline adventures. And of course, every vintage lighting post and Cross House post is my first read the moment they land in my InBox. That, and you and I are on the exact same page politically as well as age. Your musings and decisions about how to spend the remaining years parallel mine and I’m sure many, many of your followers! Thanks for the joy you bring to us all.

  8. I don’t always comment, Ross, but I check the blog every day. You’re a ray of sunshine!

    1) I too can sincerely say I would love to read ALL the books. I love your writing style.

    2) I think you’re making the right choice. But for myself? I was just a smidge disappointed for me because I wanted to be one of your Airbnb guests one day. 🙂

    3) YOU’RE Mr. Darcy!! You are such a catch! Keep rocking it and living your passions. I agree with what everyone else has said – you’re an inspiration and a breath of fresh air.

  9. I had a feeling you were in the middle of a life/thinking/crisis and I am happy that your new plan does not make you nauseous. Roommates may be a good idea, and I am sure you will sort out the good ones (those that like cats and are willing to clean their own toilets). I think your experience with the Donald would attract readers. I hope you will do that before he becomes a BAD memory. This 71 year old gay grandmother is very very fond of you!

  10. It is a very good thing that you are able to pick and chose your goals, and then revise them as needed. So many people ruin their dreams because they charge down the wrong road rather than admit to themselves that they are wrong. I admit that I was a little skeptical when you announced your intentions to do the B&B and live on the 3rd floor; you would have, in a sense, become a servant in your own home. It sort of reminded me of Norma Desmond’s first husband, Max, who was willing to help her catch other men as long as he could still be a part of her life. With all of the hard work, money, and love that you are pouring into this house, you need to be able to enjoy it as you please.

  11. I know you found parts of the basement to be worth restoring, but is it feasible to fit in an apartment down there anyway? I feel like the more you can have your space separate from the roommates the better. Especially kitchens but, given my current roommate’s revolving door of gentleman callers, one of whom made off with my boyfriend’s favorite umbrella, also entrances.

  12. The greatest book aside from previous fabulous ideas — would b a book already written in part–

    The Cross House Restoration Saga as told by Ross!!

    The saga as documented by u in the blog– myriad of how-to’s & assorted problem solving solutions!!!

    I think it would a best seller–maybe even documentaries & podcast–“wanna meet my…..?


  13. As someone who works in internet marketing and loves your blog, I’ve long thought you should place ads on it! No one will mind.

  14. I am thrilled that you have decided NOT to have an Airbnb. The house should be for you and Mr. Darcy! You are taking such care and devotion to making it right that the thought of anyone undeserving living there makes me bristle.
    I am not surprised at all to learn that you are a writer! Your posts are so well done! I’m sorry to hear that you lost Jim.
    I look forward to your books and MORE Cross House updates!
    Thank you for sharing yourself with us!

  15. Interestingly, I just found out yesterday (through my own research) that you had written the two published books. Your design/architectural and research work and your writing are all exceptional and I wondered about the person who did all this and I came upon the books.

    You have developed a wonderful, kindred, inspirational and loving community with this blog.

    Many of us are in a similar place to where you are – in our 60s, highly educated, with great successes and failures, and the world is changing exponentially.

    I too spend a lot of time figuring out how to be happier and calmer at the present time in my life. I think the answer is to simplify – like your friend in Rhode Island has done, and what you are doing with your new plans. For me, in Westchester County, NY, this thinking leads me to dream about big old houses outside NY. But it seems reality lives everywhere…

    Ross thank you for this post.

    I totally applaud your plan. I want to own all of your books. We are the designers of our lives.

    No worries about the ads. Do it! Your constituency will understand.

    “Here is the world. Beautiful and terrible things happen. Don’t be afraid.” Frederick Buechner

    Simplicity always is the key. In design too. Even when something appears ornate.

    You go Ross!

  16. That sounds like a better plan! I am sure you would be an excellent Air B&B Host, but it sounds like a great way to hate owning a large old home. I look forward to the books!

  17. I have often wanted to suggest that you create a book of all your blog posts. Many of us would buy it. We read your blog, a book would be a great compilation.

  18. I guess you can tell I never found your home page tell now. You truly are amazing! Also very good looking. I think bald men are sexy! You sure are! Check out all the responses you have! Are you getting a bit overwhelmed yet! Just promise us you won’t lose yourself and turn into a pompous ass when you become rich AND famous. 🙂

  19. Yay, Ross! Why create a beautiful realm only to wind up playing servant to visitors? Every one of these titles intrigues me and i’d Definitely buy and read them!

  20. From a purely marketing perspective, “You ARE a Design God” has the most potential. Not only does it tap into the DIY/HGTV craze, but the Donald Trump story could go viral. It’s timely and scintillating. With the right PR, I can totally see you doing national TV interviews, hawking the book, with Trump as the news peg. Media would eat that up! Plus, of course, you’ve built such a loyal audience here that you’d undoubtedly sell many copies of whatever you publish to your blog readers.

    Anyway, I love this idea. Count me among the many who were never thrilled with the B&B idea. But this just screams “Ross!”

    • Yes, I’m sure there is no lack of Trump Haters who would salivate over any morsel of gossip regarding Trump and would revel in any negative irrelevant tidbit “going viral.” Absolutely no doubt about it. But it could also taint an otherwise wonderful book if that becomes the only thing it’s known for. It is not a smart marketing or promotional idea to emphasize snark unless the entire book is going to be about snarking on Donald Trump. It cheapens the book and the author. JMHO TIFWIW.

      • Yes Karen,
        I am expressing an opinion about your post.
        -There ARE “no lack of Trump Haters who would salivate over any morsel of gossip regarding Trump and would revel in any negative irrelevant tidbit “going viral.” I find your disparaging, uninformed comment to be distasteful, although I doubt that that was your intention unless you are not a woman named Karen, but one of those phony sources that misuses our right to freedom of speech and is intent upon disrupting our democracy.
        -The urban dictionary’s definition of snark: “Use of sarcasm or malice in speech. Commonly found in the LiveJournal community.” does not apply to Ross’s political posts. He takes the time to do the research. He cites his sources, and states the facts that he has found based on that research. In the case of the “ivory” panels in one of Trump’s homes, he is a primary source himself, having witnessed what happened. It is clear that he has the greatest antipathy for Trump, but his reports demonstrate what really responsible journalism should be.
        -I don’t think that he does it through malice, but because he is shocked at Trump’s casual disregard for the well being of those who are not in a position to defend themselves. It is my belief that his integrity is intact, in spite of any personal feelings that he may have about the man who is our President via the Electoral College.
        -Please stop either, using words that you don’t understand, or misusing those you do. If everyone were to stop this abuse of the language, the world would be a better place. If you want to promote honesty, which I think you may be trying to do, knowing what the words you are using mean and using them appropriately is the best way, particularly when posting your opinions on the web. It is cowardly not to give your full name when posting an opinion and stating what is an opinion and what is a fact with quotes and sources to back it up.

        • My goodness, Stewart, please calm yourself. You take great liberties in misrepresenting my comments and launching into such a disjointed diatribe of insult and innuendo that I am shocked if there would be anything left in your kitchen sink to toss in. I think it was the “…disrupting our democracy…” that did it in.

          My only other comments to your post are: 1) re-read my post as it was intended; as a response to the previous post’s suggestions on how to promote the book; 2) I can’t control anyone’s responses, however unreasonable and baseless they may be. The fact that you find them distasteful or so personally offensive is of little consequence to me; and 3) I sign my posts as I please regardless of what you may feel is socially acceptable behavior when “posting on the web”. I wasn’t aware that you were the sole creator and enforcer of Posting Rules and Regulations. I suppose that disrupts your sense of democracy, too.

          • Hi, Karen!

            I took your comment as a cautionary warning, and it’s a warning I have already considered.

            In the book, the Trump comments are in context where they make sense. Moreover, the comments about Trump offer a unique view into how his brain operates, rather than just simply nasty stuff.

            The comments are also really funny!

  21. What a wonderful and exciting post!!! Love, love, love the new direction (the air bnb idea seemed practical but distressed me for your sake too)

    I can’t wait to see the books and hold them in my hands, your writing is delightfully engaging.

    Bless you and YEAH!
    (PS, monetizing the blog has often struck me as a logical next step as well… No pressire though!)

  22. Oh, this decision make me happy. When you had said you were doing the B&B, I was deeply saddened. All I could think of was the beautiful castle in Wichita, and how it was modified,(in my opinion,terribly). Thank you for rethinking your earlier decision!

    • Penny: was that the Kirby Castle you are referring to? My mother was Dr. Kirby’s nurse when he practiced medicine. I remember her talking about it and Dr. Kirby when I was growing up. It’s been decades since I’ve been back to Wichita, but I always had a feeling that they probably tore it down or did something equally horrible with it.

  23. This decision feels so right. When describing your blog to my mother-in-law I described you as “like a construction worker with a poet’s soul”. Me clumsily trying to describe the amazing dichotomy that is you. You have so many talents and writing is definitely one of them. Only change i would urge is to publish the book about Cross house in a 3 or 4 part Series. First book due next year; CROSS HOUSE – NEW BEGINNINGS. I am sure this blog has plenty of material to edit and publish as this first Cross House book!! History, advice, context, where to begin, grant application, gas and electrics….both a coffee table book and a renovators guide so you can dial into different markets.

      • I like this too! I feel like there could be a good market for a step-by-step how to restore a house book. I can’t really think of anything like that out there. The philosophy of the “why”, the steps to take – I like it!

      • I am excited to hear you are running with this idea. It will be wonderful to have this book on my coffee table some time next year! I will be one of the first to preorder!!!

      • ….and while I am contemplating your list of books, I am wondering about the one about the great lighting companies of the USA and the various eras of lighting styles. Noone could write this as beautifully, knowledgeably and well illustrated as you. It is also the perfect marketing tool for your business!

  24. I am so happy that you are wise enough to realize why you are doing what you are doing and what you love to do. You are the only one that can create the life you want to live.
    So proud of your courage.

  25. After making my way through a truly horrendous May, I am finally catching up on your blog posts. I am so excited about all your book ideas! I would love to read all the finished versions! Except for books that would make me cry. I’m at quota for crying right now. And if I am correct — that I am the Barb that might connect you with an editor — we should chat.

  26. When I first started reading Rethinking Mr. Darcy, it sounded like you might or had to sell the Cross House. I am so relieved that is not the case. Air B&B would take so much of your time and you being relegated to the third floor would not be enjoyable. Good for you, realizing your dream of researching, writing and publishing your books. Renting out these spaces sounds like an excellent plan. Allowing ads on the blog is understandable, whatever it takes to keep the Cross House going. Good Luck Ross.

  27. WOW! (To the post and all the comments!) For a minute I thought I needed to come over and set you straight about the Airbnb host idea. It’s definitely a lifestyle that is NOT for everyone and sometimes challenges me. I agree with many of these great comments, your books need to be published. AND bring on the ads now! You can control and limit the space and way ads are displayed with selections for companies you approve that will help other restoration enthusiasts find the resources they need. (Or stuff for cat lovers!)

  28. I think ads are a perfectly-acceptable way to offset some of your costs, and could even add value for your readers. I agree that focused ads on home restoration products, hardware, decor, etc would be the most useful to readers, and probably the most value to the advertisers as well.

    I expect that your basic ads would be rotating automatic ads, with some content filters, but if you haven’t already looked into it, perhaps you could work with some businesses directly for featured ads or sponsored sections. Those could be even more targeted (like your stained glass shop, maybe your millwork and tin suppliers, etc). Some of us have trouble finding these specialty suppliers, so some better publicity for them is nice.

    And for the AirBnB, it sounds like you are evolving to the best solution for your situation, as you typically do. You make two very good points about AirBnB (or any BnB business) being much more of a lifestyle, as well as less stable and predictable income. Longer-term renters sound like a good plan, especially if you can find people you get along with. I rented a room in someone’s house in St. John’s Newfoundland for several months once when I was on a short-term work assignment there, and it was a pleasant experience. I shared their kitchen and bathroom, but we got along well, and it was nice to meet some of the locals better that way.

  29. I don’t usually comment, but I am an avid reader of this blog. For what it’s worth, my opinion that you should put ads on as soon as possible! You work so hard on this blog, and you absolutely deserve to be compensated for your time,even though financial gain isn’t the end goal here. You could also become an Amazon affiliate partner so that you can receive a little compensation for any of the renovation products that you recommend to this community. I’m so happy for you that you’re pursing life-giving means of making a living! I can’t wait to see where this path leads you.

    • I agree with Ella 100%. So many times you have mentioned some product or process, and I have scribbled “Ross did this..” or “Ross used that….”, then lost the note. If you had ads for the products you use, you would be helping everyone as well as yourself. I’ve said this before, you have a large group of old-house-lovers running along behind you like Forrest Gump, and we listen to everything you say, LOL…

  30. I really hope you find your Mr Darcy.

    I think your plan is very sensible and in fact, I am thinking about instituting something similar here. I have the entire third floor completely unused at this point and my neighborhood is becoming very hot with sky rocketing rents. It seems insane not to take advantage and have the house help ay for its own restoration… 😀

  31. Go for the ads. We all gotta eat (and do our re-modeling and all the up keep after the re-modeling). I would love to read all of the books. I felt ill when I read you were thinking of an AirB&B for this wonderful house and God forbid you have to deal with a continual flow of brides, lol. Please publish the books, and oh, you would be the one to narrate your books! I found your blog from a telephone interview you did on the Cross House on YouTube. You have a wonderful voice and hey, Mike Rowe has certainly been successful with narrating throughout his career. You would be awesome. Beautiful voice. Love your blog. I’ve been lurking for over a year now, but really had to tell you to go for it with this post!

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