All posts by josesphmkockelmans

About josesphmkockelmans

Lots of fascinating things about me to come soon.

From Rebecca: Getting Four’s a Crowd ready for publication

As Joe wrote yesterday, he is using a personal day today, and I am doing the blog post. Regular readers know that my husband Darren adapted Joe’s play Kimberly into a novel, Four’s a Crowd. They have been working on it for over four years now, and it is finally close to being published.

Darren and Joe are going through the second proof now, making the final changes. When they are done, probably in the next week or two, we will submit the updated file to CreateSpace and then the book will be available to the public. It is so exciting to be this close.

We have all three put so much work into this book. Joe created four unique characters in his play, and with his feedback Darren expanded them and their world in a novel. I gave advice and edited as best I could, and, plugged everything into CreateSpace’s formatted template. My main correction for the second proof has been to fix indent markers on two chapters that didn’t get done the first time I tackled that problem. Technology grrr. It looks like I got that problem fixed now.

CreateSpace will automatically put the published book on Amazon for us, and we have high hopes for selling it, but we aren’t sure yet how to reach people other than our friends and family to see and buy the novel. Joe and Darren have worked so hard on it, and written a great story of a family overcoming personality conflicts and challenges from aging to find unity. It would be so disappointing if it didn’t sell. I guess the only way to find out is to go forward, do our best, and hope.

Watch this space for updates, and our big announcement once we do publish Four’s a Crowd. I can hardly wait.

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The Secret House, part 2, a continuation of a short story

Greetings, readers. A number of you suggested that I continue the short story I wrote and posted a couple of weeks ago and I thought that would be a good idea. It’s not exactly my four paragraph blog entry, so be prepared. Here it is and enjoy.

The Secret House – part 2

It was 9:30 in the evening again, and Toby, and his sister, Angela were sent upstairs to bed by their parents. The children pretended to look disappointed, but had secretly been planning to explore the secret house above the attic once more. Toby had shared with his sister his marvelous discovery. It was no surprise that she did not believe him.

After changing into their night clothes in their respective bedrooms, the children quietly convened near Angela’s bedroom door.

“Just wait till you see it,” Toby remarked. “You won’t believe your eyes.”

Nine-year-old Angela loved to play devil’s advocate. If her older brother said one thing, she would believe the exact opposite. When first told of the secret house above the attic, Angela thought Toby was crazy. They were about to find out who was correct.

“Switch on the lamp over there,” Toby commanded.

“Don’t boss me around,” Angela snarled. “You’re not the boss of me.”

Toby shushed his sister, deathly afraid that voices from upstairs would get an inquiry from mom or dad; the last thing Toby wanted. After Angela had switched on the light, Toby quietly slid open the closet door and moved the stepstool underneath the attic hatch door. He clicked on the closet light and told his sister that he would go up first so that he could offer her a lift if she needed it.

Toby hoisted himself up into the attic and to his joy and relief, his secret house was still there. He beamed a great smile down at his sister.

“Okay, now you got me curious,” Angela replied, as she smiled back.

The young girl heaved her way up and found herself on the lush carpeting in that lavish bedroom. “Oh my gosh.”

“See, I told you. It’s all here,” said Toby, pleased with himself that he was right and his sister was wrong. By the look on Angela’s face, her brother concluded that she wasn’t all that upset with being wrong.

“Is it okay if I have a look around?” Angela asked.

“Yeah,” Toby replied. “Just try to be quiet. We don’t want to get caught, do we?”

Angela quietly explored the bedroom for a solid five minutes. She laid on the bed, brushed her brunette hair with a hairbrush while looking into the full-length mirror, quietly opened the empty drawers, and then set back down on the bed. “What is this place?”

The two children explored every room in the house, thoroughly but quietly. Angela was amazed and delighted with everything that greeted her brown eyes. Her favorite room was the living room, where the big screen TV and air hockey table were located. “Toby, I’m dreaming, right?”

“Not unless I am too,” Toby answered. “You should’ve seen my face the first time I saw this place. My chin about hit the floor!”

With a smile, Angela quietly shushed her brother, for now he was getting excited and a bit loud. Who knows, perhaps their parents can’t hear them up here in their secret room. After the children explored every room, Angela was drawn to the front door. It still looked foggy and ominous outside. “You want to go out?” Toby asked, extending his hand.

“I don’t know,” Angela replied, with some trepidation in her voice.

Angela took Toby’s right hand and he opened the front door with his left. The two explorers walked out of the house and instantly a beautiful front yard with a white picket fence replaced the fog and mist. Angela squeezed Toby’s hand, both in fear and delight.

“Toby?” Angela began. “Tell me what you see.”

“I see a front yard with the fence, some other people in their yards, and a few cars passing by,” said Toby. “What do you see?”

“The same thing,” said Angela.

What appeared strange to the children was that the other people in their yards didn’t seem to notice the youngsters in their night clothes. One neighbor was gardening, another was mowing the lawn. There wasn’t much traffic; just the occasional vehicle pulling into a driveway.

“Toby, where in the heck are we?” Angela asked.

“I’m not sure,” Toby began. “But I’m getting freaked out. These people don’t even seem to see or hear us. It’s like we’re not even here.”

Toby clutched his sister’s hand and pulled her toward the front door of the house. Toby, one usually not to be afraid, was having difficulty wrapping his head around why the onlookers didn’t seem to see them. He decided it was time for them to go back inside. Once back inside the secret house, he closed the door. Once again, the fog outside instantly returned. Angela gasped, and took a step backwards

“Oh, that’s so creepy,” she whispered.

Making quite certain that the door was locked, Toby and his sister walked back towards the attic hatch. After sliding down back into the guest room, Toby noticed on the wall clock that again only a few minutes and gone by. “Awesome!”

The children quietly walked back to their bedrooms, gently closed their doors, hopped into bed and went to sleep. Before getting into bed though, Toby wandered should he tell his parents. He knew they would never believe him. That … is for another day.

 

I certainly hope you enjoyed part 2. As you can deduce, there will be at least one more part. Rebecca will do the blog entry tomorrow for I am taking a personal day to get ready for a weekend trip. So until I am back next Wednesday, take care, have a great weekend, and happy reading.

Arg!! Oh what a terrible morning

Greetings, readers. What a morning Rebecca and I are having. If it was not dealing with a serious matter to me, I could have seen Tim Conway doing this in a comedy sketch. It would have been hilarious. Here’s what happened.

I had one simple phone call to make. All I had to do is tell a human being on the other end of the line that I wanted to verify a piece of medical information for my insurance. In 45 minutes, readers, and after calls to three different phone numbers, do you think we actually got a human being? No. I don’t count the person who told me that I did not call the right number. I can see Tim Conway on a speaker phone – push 1 for English, 2 for Portuguese, 3 for Spanish, etc. Fifteen different languages all the way to Scandinavian. Meanwhile, Harvey Korman would be laughing at the faces Tim Conway would make in exasperation. Yes, folks, on TV it is funny. In real life, not so much. Rebecca suggested that we take a break and write the blog entry while my phone charges a bit. I think it was an excellent idea. I feel better already.

I already have in mind the idea for the next short story blog entry. As one of my readers requested, it is going to be a continuation of Toby’s adventures in the attic. I’m going to let my creative juices flow and push the envelope, as people say.

As I may or may not have mentioned in a previous post, my speech recognition program, for lack of another term, got set back to factory specs and I am in the process of re-teaching it my speech patterns. It should not take too long. The more I use it the more it will work. I have two appointments this afternoon, but I am going to write this evening and much of tomorrow. By then I should have the speech recognition program back to the way it was. It had actually learned my voice quite well, I was most pleased, but then it re-set. Sometimes, though, I still want to be that Tom Hanks character on Cast Away, who was all by himself; on an island or in a cabin in the mountains, and just write, write, write. However, this is something called the real world and I do have a plethora of appointments to go to.

Okay, I have sufficiently ranted and raved, and I feel better. When Rebecca and I wrap up this blog entry we will try again to contact the agency I need to talk to.

I bid you all a great weekend and that short story will be ready for Rebecca to cut and paste into the blog on Wednesday. Until then, take care, have a great day, and happy reading.

My summer off is busier than expected so far

Greetings, readers. So far, in this early summer off, about the only thing that has kept to plan is me resting my feet. I wanted to have about 100 pages written by now. Lol, there’s a chuckle for ya. Between appointments and daily errands, my first two weeks off have flown right by with not much getting done.

It’s making me angry. I so wanted to have a schedule in place to write, write, write. It seems though that every time I get ready, I either receive a phone call, text, or am reminded of an upcoming appointment that day. There is a small part of me that wants to hang a sign on the apartment door reading Don’t Bother Me Until September. Of course, I can’t do that; I can’t be that anti-social.

This morning as I was trying to wake up, I checked my Facebook, email, and Twitter and then discovered the computer was running slowly. A page popped up in big red letters claiming I had a virus. It was probably a scam, but I stopped what I was doing and ran my virus checker anyway. There went 20 minutes. Luckily, all seems to be fine.

Today is kind of an odd day. After work hours with Rebecca, my accountant and I have a meeting to go to, which could take the better part of the afternoon. Do you see my problem with productivity, readers?

On to other news, I heard that the Hawaii volcano is erupting again. I don’t know how serious it is but hopefully everyone will be alright. I saw pictures last week of the devastation with homes and cars ablaze. Let’s face it, when you live on an island, you really don’t have anywhere to run. Also this morning I saw a blurb about a minor earthquake during a major league baseball game. It didn’t mention anything about deaths, so it was probably a minor quake. Again, hopefully everyone is okay.

An R.I.P. goes out to a great actress, Margot Kidder, who passed away at age 69. She was far too young, if you ask me. She played Lois Lane in the movies with Christopher Reeve as Superman.

Lastly, Rebecca’s husband Darren’s book, Four’s a Crowd, which is based on my play Kimberly, is almost ready to publish. We will go live for sale in a week or two on CreateSpace.com, and then it will be available on Amazon. Darren has worked hard on it, and I worked hard on the play. We are both very proud of the final outcome and we think it is going to be a winner. Hopefully it puts us on the writing map. Keep your fingers crossed.

There is our entry for today. Rebecca and I will be back tomorrow with a new blog entry, possibly another short story. I won’t say for certain. I’m trying to get out of the habit of promising things I don’t deliver. So until then, take care, have a great day, and happy reading.

From Rebecca: Construction next door

As Joe wrote yesterday, he has an appointment this morning, so once again I get to do the blog post. I decided to talk about the construction project that my husband Darren and I live next to, which has been ongoing for years now and is scheduled to continue for some time now. Sometimes the activity is heavier, sometimes it is less so, but it is constant.

I wouldn’t mind it so much, but it is loud. There are back-up beepers that sometimes go off all day long, amid sounds of banging, scraping, and machinery moving. I grew up on a busy street in town, so the sounds almost become background noise to me, but Darren grew up outside of town where it was a lot quieter. All this noise drives him mad. He gets stressed, then I feel stressed. We play the TV or music up loud to cover the construction sounds, which works for the most part, but not completely. I will say, considering how much he hates back-up beepers and noise, Darren is actually doing well managing his nerves and anger. I’m proud of him. He has had a lot of practice at not flying off the handle with this going on so long.

Half of the construction area we can see is a spot that used to be a rolling green space beside a driveway outside the old building. The structure is being built on and renovated. We watched them cut down the trees, put up a fence, tear up the grass, and move the dirt around from place to place over months. They put a new road in through where the grass was. Then they moved it over a few feet. Months later they moved it again, to where it stayed. The road went back and forth between being one-way or two-way for periods of time, and now it appears to be permanently two-way. They finally stopped moving the dirt around in seemingly random patterns about six months ago, and put in a retaining wall, then a small parking lot.

The rest of the area is still being dug up and moved around. The inside and front of the building is done for the most part, but the back part is still in progress. They also have supplies along the fence, and it looks like a dump, which I find particularly annoying.

Darren and I cannot wait for this ordeal to be over. We deal with it the best way we can and hang on to the knowledge that it will over at some point. It could be worse, and it will get better.

This turned into a real rant, didn’t it? Thanks for letting me get it off my chest.

Joe will be back next Wednesday and Thursday with blog entries. Until then, as he would say, take care, have a great week, and happy reading.

Easing into my summer schedule and other tidbits

Greetings, readers. Hello from central Pennsylvania on a gorgeous spring day. There is nary a cloud in the sky and today’s high temperature is expected to be in the upper 70s F. I’ll take it. I got through my graduation weekend work shifts and now I’m off for summer. My feet are already saying thank you.

Even though I have several errands to do this week, I am weaving in my brand new summer schedule. I have my new wake up time, my time for errands, and time for writing. It just so happens that this particular week all my errands are during writing time hours. Most of these errands must get done, so until tomorrow afternoon after my dentist appointment, I’m going with a revised version of said summer schedule.

The next few weeks are going to be quite busy. On days Rebecca and I work together, I will be making plans and preparations for this year’s voyage to Maine. I always try to call ahead early to make my reservations at hotels for the trip up and back. One year I could not stay in Waterville, Maine because there was a big conference in Augusta. All the hotel rooms were taken. I think the closest I could get was just outside Augusta. I remember last year the hotel I stayed at would not accept cash. How odd, I thought. This world is really truly going plastic. I had to drive to a Wal-Mart, put my money on a Wal-Mart gift card, and use it at the hotel, which accepted it as payment. The joys of travel.

Besides making the hotel reservations, quite soon I have to procure the rental car. There is some doubt as to whether I’ll be able to get one this year, so right after this blog entry is posted, I’m going to call and find out exactly what is needed.

On to other news. Princess Josie is adjusting to her new home and has really taken over the place. She is a rambunctious little thing and full of energy. She is learning to jump. This morning I came out of the bathroom and startled her so badly she jumped halfway up the door jamb and grabbed on with all fours. I’ve never seen a cat do that, ever. She’s a strong kitten.

Before closing, I wish to offer prayers and condolences to all those in Hawaii who had their lives altered so badly by the lava flow. I always feel terrible when tragic events like this take place in the world. This planet is not stable by any stretch of the imagination and catastrophes are bound to happen from time to time.

Tomorrow I have a morning appointment with the dentist, so Rebecca will be putting up the blog entry. The two of us will be back hard at it next Wednesday. Until then, have a great weekend, take care, and happy reading.

The Secret House, a short story

Greetings, readers. As promised, here is the short story for today’s blog entry. I hope you enjoy it. Let me know what you think in the comments section or on Facebook.

It was 9:30 in the evening, time for Toby to go to bed. The eleven-year-old still had lots of energy and going to sleep was the last thing on his mind. He wanted to explore the secret trap door he had found in the guest room closet. Toby decided to change into his more comfortable pajamas and much lighter bedroom slippers. That way Mom and Dad might not hear him sneaking around.

After changing, Toby, with flashlight in hand, quietly snuck down the hallway of the second floor. They had moved in three weeks ago and he had still not explored all the nooks and crannies. The day before, right as his mother called him for dinner, Toby discovered the hatch door in the cupboard of the guest room closet. This is where he was headed tonight.

Toby switched on the lamp which was sitting on the chest of drawers and gently closed the guest room door. He opened the closet door quietly, grasped a pull chain, and clicked on the lightbulb. He grabbed the step stool which was sitting by his right foot and gently placed it right underneath the hatch door. What surprises would he find when he opened that hatch? He might not find anything but a dusty old attic. But Toby had to know. He pushed up on the panel and moved it over to where he could hoist himself up and get his first glimpse of the surroundings. He was amazed at what he saw.

It was a lavishly decorated bedroom. Toby’s jaw dropped. He climbed up into the room and switched his flashlight off. There was a full mirror over the dresser, a huge queen-sized bed with a maroon comforter on top and many fluffy pillows. Toby very quietly called out, “Hello?” He wasn’t expecting an answer and didn’t get one. An alarm clock, lamp, and hairbrush were on one nightstand and the other nightstand just contained a small lamp which was filling the room with light. Toby wanted desperately to open up one of the dressers, but somehow thought alarms would go off so he didn’t. As he was about to head for the hatch, he noticed that there was a doorway seeming to lead to another room. He walked through.

A large living room met Toby and this room had every conceivable piece of electronic equipment you could possibly want for entertainment. There was a 60-inch big screen TV on the wall, an expensive stereo with top brand speakers, a Foosball table, and an air hockey machine. Toby whispered to himself, “I would never have to leave here.” Toby noticed another doorway.

Stepping through, he came to the kitchen and dining room area and quickly came to the realization that he had stumbled on to an entire house. Was it really all his own? Wouldn’t that be amazing. Toby searched the refrigerator and it was well stocked with good food and snacks. He panicked. Does someone really live here? Did Toby step through a door to another dimension? Did he step into the Twilight Zone? He called out hello again and got no answer.

From the kitchen he walked to a den and noticed a door that seemed to lead outside. There was a small window by the door but Toby couldn’t see out of it. All he saw was a thick white fog. Toby unlocked the door and opened it. He was almost afraid to step out. There was absolute nothingness, white fog, as far as the eye could see. Toby very quietly closed the door and made sure to re-lock it. What might be lurking on the other side scared him. Figuring he had done enough exploring for one night, he quietly walked back through the set of rooms the way he came. He lowered himself down and found the stool with his feet. He closed the hatch door, hoping his house would be there the next time he wanted to explore it. But what was outside?

Toby used the bathroom before returning to his bedroom, just in case his parents heard footsteps. As he jumped into bed, he was surprised that only a few minutes had passed since he had changed into his pajamas. Maybe I will call this the Toby Dimension, he thought to himself as he closed his eyes and drifted off to sleep.

There is the first of a least a few short stories that the blog will showcase. I just thought I’d try my hand at it, to limber up the creative muscles. I hope you enjoy it, and as always, Rebecca and I will see you next week, so do take care, have a great weekend, and happy reading.

Oops, what a mistake I made

Greetings, readers. Between back spasms, trying to clear out a few things on the computer, and getting ready to run to the bus yesterday, I goofed. I accidentally erased the short story we had ready to go for today’s blog entry. Rebecca reminded me what the subject was, and I quickly remembered that it is one of my recurring dreams, and it won’t be that difficult to recreate. I guess that is what you would call the silver lining. The dark cloud was that story was a page and a half long, which was one of my better accomplishments of late. Grrr.

I’m quite certain I will be able to reconstruct it very soon and I promise you that it will be up at some point as a blog entry, most likely tomorrow. This is my final week at my fast food job before I am taking the summer off, when I’ll have a lot more time to write. Last Thursday’s trial run of my summer daily routine worked beautifully. I’m really looking forward to getting a lot done creatively. Something I must overcome, however, is my morning back spasms while sitting at my chair. I told Rebecca that this could turn into something psychosomatic quickly. I can’t live on pain reliever and I won’t have time to crawl back into my chair and go back to sleep every morning. I must get work done this summer.

The last few days have been beautiful and warm. I love it. It seems like yet again we went from late winter right to early summer. I remember as a child at my parents’ house that the crocuses would come up every early April. That was one of my favorite signs of Spring. Whether it is climate change or what have you, I don’t think central Pennsylvania has a spring anymore. I learned many moon ago that Mother Nature and Old Man Winter can do whatever they want whenever they want, and we have no control. I’m looking out my window to a perfect blue sky and a forecasted high of 82 F, and although I haven’t looked at the forecast, tomorrow might very well be windy and 60.

Well, here’s an update on Princess Josie. She is learning her world quite nicely. When she misbehaves, such as getting on the work table with the computer, I pick her up and say no. I give her three chances to stop and if she doesn’t then I gently put her in her crate for a time-out. After several minutes I let her out and wouldn’t you know, she doesn’t do said behavior again. She is a very smart kitten. She was very much preoccupied with a bumble bee a few minutes ago, sitting on the window sill and looking outside. She was so preoccupied with said bumble bee, she lost track of where she was and slid off the sill. Fear not readers, she landed on her feet. Now she is looking for birdies. She was running around earlier playing with an empty pill bottle. She loves to play hockey. This morning, however, I caught her looking into my pill bag, with the bottles that actually have medication in them. I made certain that the two bottles I let her play with were empty before I let her have them. Now I need to be leery about her being alone with my med bag. I have solved that problem by putting my med bag in my bedroom with the door shut, but if I let her have free roam of the entire place, I will put my med bad in a cupboard.

My JMK Gaming Channel on YouTube is hanging on by a thread. I enjoy making the videos but never seem to have enough time to do them. Hopefully that will be another thing that changes this summer. I have one ready to upload, I just have to put butt in chair and do it.

Rebecca and I will be working here tomorrow. Either I will have recreated the dream house short story with the help of the voice recognition program, or Rebecca and I will type it up and post it. So until then, take care, have a great day, we’ll see you tomorrow, and happy reading.

From Rebecca: Time alone in the apartment

Joe is writing alone today while I write this post from home, and my husband Darren had an appointment this morning, so I had a few hours by myself in the apartment. Because of our schedules, this is an unusual luxury for me. The whole place is mine!

I got up, took a shower, made coffee, and ate cereal as normal. Then I spent the rest of the time watching shows that Darren doesn’t like. First I enjoyed Father Brown on Netflix streaming and then I watched The View on ABC. I haven’t been able to watch The View much in a decade or so, though I have watched it off and on since it began in 1997. Where we live, it is broadcast opposite The Price is Right, which both Daren and I love, so that is what we usually watch together – with the exception of a segment or so when he is in the shower.

It is a little embarrassing that my ideal plan for time alone is watching television, but there you go. Darren and I have shows that we both like and watch together, but we also have shows that one of us likes and the other one doesn’t. I go to bed a couple of hours after Darren, and that is when I usually watch stuff that he absolutely doesn’t like. Darren gets up a couple of hours before me and he can watch stuff I really don’t like, though he has time alone in the apartment when I am at work or on Sunday afternoons. It is a system that works for us, for the most part.

On another subject, I met Joe’s new cat Princess Josie yesterday. She is bigger than I thought she’d be for some reason, though obviously still a kitten. She took a great interest in my shoes, and in my armpit – in a way that reminded me of Keekee because she did the same thing. PJ also tried to get on the work table we set up with the laptop on it, but we had to stop her; that is a habit we don’t want her to get into, in case she accidently erases a day’s work with one paw on the keyboard.

Joe left me a voicemail message earlier, saying that he has written a lot today with the voice recognition program. He also remembered that he might have promised a short story for his blog readers as yesterday’s entry, did I remember that too? I looked up last Thursday’s post, and sure enough he did promise that. Joe does like to finish a post with a promise for next week’s content, and then by the time the next week is here he has another topic in mind. Oh, well. The short story, based on a dream Joe once had, is written and might need one edit, so it will be posted here one day soon. Stay tuned.

Next Wednesday Joe will be back with a blog post. Until then, as he would say, take care, have a great weekend, and happy reading.

New kitten finally came out to play

Greetings, readers. Last Friday my new kitten arrived and for the first three days and nights all I did was hear her. She would come out in the cover of darkness, use her cat box, and eat a little something. This is the only way I knew she was okay and hadn’t died of shock from moving into her new home. On Monday, my friend Tasha from work, who gave me the kitten, came over to my place and bridged the gap between scared kitten and new owner. Once Princess Josie was placed on me, and I pet her and gave her the first little kiss on the head, all has been right with the world since.

Princess Josie has been very active, exploring her new world. Yes, she gets into a little mischief now and then, but the pink crate, which was also given to me by Tasha and her mother, is a perfect time-out penalty box. It has been most effective. (While I was taking a phone call just now, Rebecca was wrestling with P.J., trying to keep her off the work table and computer. P.J. in now sitting in said penalty box. Don’t worry, readers, I will not give the cat a complex.)

Here is a picture that Tasha took on her phone of me and the new kitten. I must say, she is very photogenic.

Joe and his new cat Princess Josie

Notice her pretty brown eyes. I believe she is Bengal or a Bengal mix. At only nine months old, I’m sure to have many great years with her, filled with love, affection, and cuteness.

On to other topics, I’ll be taking a personal day tomorrow, to try out my new summer writing schedule which goes into effect in about two weeks. I’ll be working my fast food job through the Penn State graduation weekend and I will go back right before the students return in mid to late August. Also … finally the warmer weather has arrived. Though not hot by any means, it is at least warm. I can dig it. When I can go to work in my hoodie and leave the down coat behind, I’m a happy camper.

Lastly, this is my therapy week, I’ll see my therapist later today as a matter of fact. I’m going to make certain to bring my computer with me to show off the picture of her royal highness, Princess Josie.

Before closing, I just have to end with a funny for the day. I was watching YouTube videos of funny fails and I saw a little two-year-old girl happy and smiling while her daddy was flipping the channels behind her. All of the sudden he stopped on the news channel with President Trump talking. The little girl turns around, looks at the President, starts to cry and says, “No, no, no.” I laughed so much.

Tomorrow Rebecca will either have a new entry or a re-post for you, and we will be back together next Wednesday. I hope you all have a great day, take care, and as always, happy reading.