Thursday, July 29, 2010

How Not to Buy Furniture

On our drive out here, we went through High Point, North Carolina, which is known as the furniture capitol of the world.

Sounds kind of suspect to me. Really? The whole world? 
But since we're in the market for a new bedroom set, we decided to make a stop there.

We couldn't spend too long shopping, as we had a date to pick up PtB from the airport, but we thought we would check out one of the huge outlet stores and get an idea as to what kind of prices they had and if it would be worth a trip back there once we were settled.

(That was quite the run-on sentence.)

Let me set up the scene for you-- We had a couple of kids with us.
You may have heard of them.

After many days filled with hours and hours in carseats, they thought they had just entered the largest playroom known to mankind.
And what followed was several hours of :

"Come back here!"
"Don't jump on that!"
"Get your shoes off the couch!"
"Would you do that at home?"
"Where's Alex?"
"Where's Derek?"
"I'm going to send you to the zoo!"

And in between all of that, we scoured the store for bedroom furniture, kids room furniture, accent pieces, a hutch, mattresses, and everything in between.

The salesman, Mark*, had a southern twang like you read about, and started off as fairly helpful.

*name not changed, because he is not innocent

But every time we had a question about a piece of furniture, he would tell us that he'd get right back to us, and then disappear for a half an hour.

We had found a bedroom set that we liked and wanted to go ahead and buy it. But in a strange twist from the normal, where you have to peel the salesman off of your back, he was no where to be found.
We had him paged, Josh searched the offices.

Meanwhile, Thing 1 and Thing 2 were jumping up and down on my very last nerve. 

We had to leave the store for both my sanity as well as to get the Bunny, so we left a message that we would call him the next day to place our order.

And then my dear husband, who does all of the calling in our relationship (because I hate calling people. And he loves me), proceeded to call him the next day.
They discussed the price and cost of shipping, and Josh told him he wanted to just confirm with me and then he'd call back to order.

And so he did.
He called later that day.
And the next.
And I think the next as well.

Meanwhile we had received our household goods and went ahead and had the movers put our old bedroom furniture into the guest bedroom, since we would have a new set soon.

Josh continued to call.
At one point, he asked if he could just talk with another salesmen, but apparerntly none of the good 'ol boys wanted to step on Mark's toes and take his sale.

Josh left messages with the receptionist, he left messages on Mark's voicemail.
He jumped in a plane and wrote a message in the sky.

Okay, not really, but let's just say we made it exceedingly clear that we were ready to buy the bedroom set.

Days later, he finally takes our call.

Mark:  "Well, hey there Jawsh." (remember: twang)
Josh: "Hi Mark. I've been trying to get ahold of you.  We would like to go ahead and get that bedroom set we discussed before."
Mark: "Well, Jawsh, did you get my voicemail?"

(the only voicemail we had received was from Mark's assistant, returning one of our bazillion phone calls to Mark)

Josh: "Well, I got a message from your assistant. He said you would call us back."
Mark: "Yes, well. About that furniture. Jawsh, I sowld it."
Josh: "I'm sorry, can you repeat that? Did you just say that you sold it?"
Mark: "Yeah, I sowld it"
Josh: "Mark, I'm hanging up now."

And that, ladies and gentlemen, is how not  to buy bedroom furniture.

Tuesday, July 27, 2010

Eat a Rainbow

Two years ago, Alex taught you that is is possible to sing a rainbow. (Scroll to the bottom of this post for the video clip of the future American Idol at age 3).

Today I shall tell you about how I'm going to eat a rainbow.

Before I left Idaho, a few of my friends were starting this nutrition program called ColorFUEL. And I was intrigued. So I decided that when I got settled, I too would give it a try.

I started on Sunday.
So I'm pretty much an expert.

And I thought I would tell you about it, because Taylor over at The Lumberjack's Wife has started a new get-healthy plan and a group of us will be checking in together each week to talk about our new rockin' bikini bods progress.

The ColorFUEL program gives you simple, healthy recipes that are full of real foods. Lean meats, fruits, veggies, & whole grains. They personalize it for you based on whether you're looking to lose weight or maintain it.
My favorite aspect so far is that they give you a complete grocery list, so when you choose your meals for the day you know that you have everything you need on hand.

Have I mentioned how I despise making grocery lists? Because I do.

Back to the rainbow-- The recipes are color coded: red, green, blue, orange, yellow. You choose one recipe from each color, every day.

My goal is to lose about 7 lbs, and develop healthier eating habits for our whole family. And world peace.

Things that are true so far, in my 3 days of experience. 

- I'm not hungry. The complex carbs and whole grains are filling, and I'm learning more about proper portion sizing. I don't feel stuffed after I eat, but I'm satisfied, and know that I have another snack or meal coming in a couple of hours.

- The recipes are simple & familiar. For example, today I had spaghetti w/ meat sauce. The difference is that the amount of pasta in a serving is way less than I would normally take, and with only a small amount of ground beef (or turkey) in it. But the sauce is bulked up with lots of veggies and I was surprised at how filling it was.

- I'm starting to think that I missed my calling to be in advertising, because I'm really selling this stuff, aren't I?

Anyway, you can check it out for yourself here.

It costs $30 for a 35-recipe packet. If I continue to enjoy the program, my plan is to purchase 3 of those packets, and rotate through them. After a while, I'm hoping to be able to create some of my own recipes along the same lines as theirs.

Questions? Comments? Smart Remarks?

Well keep it to yourself, I'm too busy becoming a hot mama.

Monday, July 26, 2010

Quick Question...

... Is this normal?

I didn't think so.

But then again, neither are they. 

And now that I'm looking closer, I really think somebody ought to start feeding that scrawny thing on the left. I'm fairly certain her ribs are showing.

The Real World

Only without all of the drinking, hot-tubs and fornication.

(If you've never watched MTV you can just ignore that last statement.)

So today I'm feeling like we're back to the real world.
Military moves, while a lot of work and frustration, also have their upside. It typically means that Josh gets a break from work for a bit. He takes some leave while we're on our road trip and then the military often will kindly give him a week to settle in before he has to report to work.

In exchange, he merely offers to go wherever they tell him, when they tell him, for however long they tell him, and lets bad people shoot at him.
Pretty much an even exchange.

Now that he's back to work and PtB has returned home, today starts the first full week of our new normal.

This morning I went by the elementary school to drop off the registration packet for kindergarten.
For my baby girl.
Who's supposed to start school in 4 weeks and 2 days.

I don't want to talk about it.

Except to say that when I dropped off the packet, I was told that I was missing a few items. Turns out that when I went to the school the first time, I wasn't given the entire packet.
Is it just me, or are people becoming less competent at their jobs these days?
Or maybe it's just because the memory of setting up our cable and satellite is so fresh in my mind, and those people were totally incompetent.

So I filled out the rest of the paperwork, drove home, and then drove back to the school again to give them the other forms that they needed.
Alex is officially registered for kindergarten.
Only I might just back out at the last minute.
We'll see.

Then, since the kids behaved like adult monkeys instead of adolescent monkeys while we were running those errands, I rewarded them with lunch at McDonald's with a Playplace.
Am I the coolest mom or what?

Or what?

Now hear this: Derek stopped playing in the play area to tell me that he needed to go to the bathroom. And that, my friends, is a little something called progress.
However, I ask you, why is it really necessary for us to work so hard to potty train our children? Shouldn't sitting in a pile of your own urine and feces be lesson enough?

I'll be waiting for your answer.

Also, while you're answering, can you also tell me why my curser has disappeared? Dang computer.

After lunch we went to The Walmarts on the way home to pick up some pull-ups.
I know lots of people don't like to use them for potty training because they feel a lot like diapers, but I am not anti-pull-ups.
I use them when we leave the house, because I am anti-carseat-cover cleaning and anti-public-floor cleaning. However, Derek and I have an understanding that if he actually allows any bodily functions to happen in those pull-ups, he owes me 35 cents from his college fund.
Or 31 cents if I had a coupon.
Those things aren't cheap.

Then we came home.
Such an exciting day so far, wouldn't you say?

It's not?
Well, that's my real world.
And I kind of like it.
Most of the time.
Except when I don't.


Thursday, July 22, 2010

Some Stuff

1) When we were in the moving process, we entertained the thought of not getting cable or satellite.
We would have quality family time and sit around the living room together singing kum-bay-ah. But then we couldn't get past the fact that we would be missing football games in the fall, so we ditched that idea.
And then we realized that our new DVR has a ridiculous amount of hours of recording available and so we're recording every movie available from our free months of movie channels.
So basically we've done the exact opposite of what we discussed.

2) Derek has allergies. You might know this. Milk, eggs, peanuts, and seasonal pollens as well. We were expecting things to get worse here on the east coast, because our last trip to Disney World ended with him in the ICU from a seasonal allergy overload.
Turns out that he's just fine here and we actually have taken him off his Zyrtec. Cool, huh?
And wouldn't you say that he's terribly handsome and adorable and should not even consider turning three next month?

I agree.
 (Yes, it's an old picture. But you can't make me stop using it. Because it's my favorite.)

3) Alex, however, is "allergic" (if you can call it that) to only one thing that we know of: mosquito/spider bites. This kid's reactions are crazy. Here is a rather mild reaction (for her) from a mosquito bite:

The shiny skin is not part of the reaction, that's just some cream. The cankel is the reaction.
Oh, and can I get a shoutout for my second house with dark grout?
Love it.

4) We arrived here 2 weeks ago today. How much longer can I get away with leaving the house a mess and using the "we just moved in" excuse?
Inquiring minds want to know.

5) We've been doing a lot of swimming.
A lot.
Wanna know why?
Well first of all, it's hot as hades in these here parts.The next three days are going to be 100 degrees. And then there's the humidity.
Oh the humidity.

The other reason we've been swimming a lot is depicted below:

I took the picture from the lawn in front of the pool house. And the red arrow is pointing to some blue siding. Which happens to be affixed to our house.
So it's kind of convenient, you could say.

We've swam so much that this guy, along with his water wings, is doggy-paddle-ing all around the pool by himself.

Isn't he a prodigy? I mean he's only 2 years old and eleven months.

6) Speaking of my tiny-infant-baby-boy, we've decided to go ahead and do that infant potty training method you may have heard of. 
I know, I know. It's crazy to train a baby so young. I've heard all sides of the debate and I'm just going to go ahead and do it anyway. 
But I'm not sure if I'll be able to find training underwear in such a small size. 

Tuesday, July 20, 2010

Patricia the Rabbit

aka Pat the Bunny.

She's done a lot around here the past week and a half.

She kept the kids out of our way when the movers were here.
She kept the kids alive while we were out of town.
She kept the peace by indulging their every whim.

But let's get to the part you all want to know about.
The part where she unintentionally does all sorts of wacky stuff.

Here we go...
In the last 10 days Pat the Bunny has:
 Fought a battle with the garage doors. And lost.

There are 2 garage doors. They each have their own button. Fairly straightforward. 
I made the mistake of asking her to close the door that was open. Then I went into my bedroom.
5 minutes later, I am still hearing the whir of the garage door motors. Up and down. Down and up.
Confused, I go to check on PtB.
Both doors are now open. She is farther from accomplishing the original purpose than when she first begun.
Technology is not her friend.

Pat the Bunny has:
Set land speed records getting to her cell phone.

Fact-- When PtB hears her cell phone ring, she is sure that there is an urgent matter of national security that needs her immediate attention. Whatever she is doing at the moment is dropped and the racing begins. She fumbles in her purse and occasionally manages to answer the phone before the ringing stops.
She is successful about 12% of the time.
She probably can't figure out how to get the number of rings to increase so she has more time.
Again, technology = not her friend.

Pat the Bunny has:
Angered environmentalists everywhere for her overuse of plasticware.

Anytime we're in the moving process, we tend to use plastic cups and paper plates for the days that we're living out of boxes. It makes clean up easier for when I have yet to locate my real dishes and/or have not bought dishwasher detergent.
However, PtB has continued to use the plastic cups even though we are all unpacked.
Not being a tree-hugger myself, I really don't care.
But she has somehow gotten it into her head that Josh and I are also using those blue plastic cups (we're not), and then she "forgets" which cup is hers and is forced to get a new one. (They are all hers.)
So each evening, I walk around the kitchen throwing away 3-5 blue plastic cups with the same small amount of water in each of them.
It's kind of comical.

Pat the Bunny has:
Kept her reputation as a salt-addict by salting things like Burger King cheeseburgers, and fried shrimp from a Chinese buffet.

Really? They need extra salt??

Several weeks ago, I received an e-mail from CNN news with a link to an article that had been forwarded to me by none other than Patricia the Rabbit.

And the name of the article she though I should read?

"Love Salt? You might be a supertaster."
Right, PtB. Right.

Pat the Bunny has not:
Paid a visit to the Chick-fil-a at which her famed tumble occurred. It's just a mile down the street.
I think she should go. You know, just to prove that she doesn't have a residual paralyzing fear.

Know what else?
She's leaving on Thursday.
And that means that I'm going to have to actually get up in the mornings with the kids. And take Derek to the potty every hour. And...play...with my children.
Oh the horror.

Stay PtB! Don't go! I will buy you as many blue cups as you want to waste. And a salt lick too.
Pretty please?

Sunday, July 18, 2010

Cars & Coasters

A week and a day ago, we were doing this:

We'd been doing lots of that.
Lots and lots.
Like, 2800 miles worth of that.

But who's counting?

There had been a few battles between Ducky and the Army man.

And a few thousand pictures colored.

Before we finally saw this:

And then there were a lot of these (boxes, not Pat the Bunny's. There is only one Pat the Bunny. And for that we give thanks.)

And a little bit of handiwork by the menfolk.

And since we got all the boxes unloaded, and PtB was in town, Josh and I decided that we would take a break from being grown-ups and go have some fun.
So we went to Busch Gardens in Virgina. 

This is Josh having fun:

 If you look closely, you'll see he's waving.

When Josh goes on roller coasters, he thoroughly enjoys himself.
When I go on roller coasters, I think about whether I will survive. And how I managed to get talked into hurtling my body through the air just for the thrill of it. And whether or not I'll need the plastic bag that I make Josh carry in his pocket just in case.

(I've never needed it, but I like to be prepared.)

This next picture makes me laugh.
I'm too cheap to actually buy the photos they take while you're on the ride, but I did take a picture of a picture.
Here is my 31-year-old husband. He is a fighter pilot. The government has invested somewhere around 20 million dollars in his training. He's the smartest person I know.
And yet, it's the little things that delight him.

Check him out in the bottom part of the picture. He's the guy in the blue shirt, with the huge smile on his face and his arms in the air, as the small children surrounding him cower in fear.
Go ahead and click on it to make it bigger. It's worth it.

I think he was yelling "Faster!"

Then he did this.
And made me do it too.

Ignore that I'm not looking my best in that picture. It was 100 degrees. And I was holding an icky snake.
And don't ask me why my left trapezius muscle seems to be at odds with the right side. I think it was just because I was recoiling in disgust from the snake.

Or it might be that new exercise program I started in which you only work out half of your body. It's much speedier than doing both sides. But it leaves me feeling a bit...uneven.

Let us pause for a moment of silence regarding the best part of a day in a theme park:

Enough said.

Wednesday, July 14, 2010

Reunited and it feels so good

Yes, we've caught up with some friends since we've been here in North Carolina.

But that's not what I'm referring to.
I'm talking about my sweet, sweet reunion with the world wide web.
It's like taking a starving person to a buffet. I almost don't know where to start.
Should I catch up on blogs?
Maybe Facebook?
Should I check the weather? Look for bedroom furniture? Research ways to keep myself from eating all the Oreos I say I'm buying for the kids?

The opportunities are endless.

But in a sad turn of events, I must say goodbye to my good friend just as we're getting to know one another again.
Because tomorrow Josh and I are taking off for a night away.
Without children.

Sorry Internet-- I think it's going to be worth it.
I was trying to remember the last time that I spent a night away from Derek. The answer that I came up with was never.
So thanks to Pat the Bunny, we will be getting away for a little bit and enjoying a sedate and relaxing time alone.
Okay, not really. But we're going to have some fun and I'll be sure to take some pictures to share. Strictly G-rated, I promise.

I made sure to stock up on salt so that PtB will be happy here in the house.
I drafted a list of safe foods for my little walking allergy.
I've come to terms with the fact that every wish of my children will be granted to them the very second they ask for it.
And I've made sure to give Derek constipating foods. Because for some reason, when PtB changes dirty diapers, she either uses white washcloths as wipes or allows turds to go rolling around the floor.

I wish I was joking about that.

Funny side note-- while we were in Texas, my friend Heather asked Alex what she calls her Grandma. Since Alex actually calls her "Grandma," she was a little confused. So she answered: "The Bunny." Ha! Little ears catch on. She also saw a picture of a T-Rex in a coloring book and ran to get PtB to show her. "Grandma, I found a picture of you in the coloring book!"
You see, we play a lot of dominoes in this family. And that requires reaching across the table to grab them. Pat the Bunny fails miserably at this because she has short arms. So I've been known to refer to her as a T-Rex from time to time when we're playing. I didn't realize that Alex knew what I was talking about.

That was a long side note.

So we're making progress toward getting settled. We like the house that we're renting and the kids are starting to adjust.
Except for tonight at Target (yes! I live in a town with a Target now!) when Alex was asking if she could have a piece of gum. I told her she could have one on the way home. She said, "Which home? Our Idaho home?" I'm not sure she realizes we're not going back there.
Derek, on the other hand, is kind of oblivious and is just very excited about his penis.

Yes, you read that right.

Pat the Bunny, as advertised, has started to help with Derek's potty training. We've just been encouraging him to go on the big potty, while not yet diving into it full force. But he seems to have rediscovered this hidden gem of a body part and speaks of it often.
Today he ran out of the bathroom celebrating a potty success. He came over to me to get his diaper back on, and said "Look Mommy, it's my penis!" Before I could answer him he was running off to find Grandma, "I'm gonna show Grandma my penis!"
Okay honey.
Whatever floats your boat.
But I think she just saw it, because she was the one helping you on the potty.


I have much more to share, but it will have to wait until I get back from my little getaway. But stay tuned to find out how not to buy bedroom furniture, and to place your guess as to how many years Josh lost off his life while dealing with the cable and satellite companies.
Here's a hint: I've asked him to up his life insurance.

Friday, July 9, 2010

I'd rather be without plumbing...

...than without internet.

We're here!
Sleeping on the floor!
And without Internet!

We arrived safely and more or less sanely yesterday afternoon. Our household goods should be arriving tommorrow, so the next few days will be busy with unpacking and getting settled. We're adjusting to the high temperature and so happy for the community pool that is just a couple of houses down from us!

We are,however kicking ourselves for not calling ahead to have Internet service set up for the day we arrived. We called yesterday and were told that next Wednesday was the soonest they could come out to connect us. So this ole blog will be a little quiet for awhile. But do not fear-- we picked up Pat the Bunny yesterday at the airport on our way through Raleigh, and I will be sure to jot down all of the assinine things she does between now and Wednesday so you won't miss anything.
Just this afternoon, for instance, she was sitting on the side of the pool still wearing her shorts and cover-up when she decided she should get in to play with the kids and neglected to actually remember to remove those items first.
You should fear for the future of our nation, for her job is to educate children.

Sorry I can't share more about our journey with you now, but I am pecking this out on Ptb's iPhone, and I just can't take how brutally slow and painful it is to type on this "keyboard" with what must be fatter than average fingers. Because I've seen people type quickly on these, and I'm not sure how they do it.

Signing off,
out of touch in NC.

Ps tell facebook I said hello. And pioneer woman. And all of my favorite blogs I miss so much. And whatever else it is I do online that takes up all of the hours in my day.
I miss you inter-world.
I miss you.

Tuesday, July 6, 2010

On the Road Again

This edition of blogityness is coming to you from a hotel room in Memphis, Tennessee.
Specifically, from a double bed where Josh and I are laying side by side in a room lit only by the screens of our two laptops. 
God bless traveling with children.
They just make everything an adventure, don't they?

So we are back on the trail heading toward North Carolina. We left our friends' home in Wichita Falls, Texas this morning, and made it about 560 miles before calling it a day.

What was that?
You want to know if my children slept in the van today?

You're funny.

Stinkin' hilarious.

Of course they didn't. That would be too...normal.

But they have done a great job overall with all of the traveling, so I'll try to keep my complaining to a minimum. Which basically means that I will complain at least once every post.
Or more often as I deem it necessary.

Our time in Texas with the Campbells was so much fun, and a much appreciated break from all of the driving. We share a mutual love of laziness, so we spent most of our time together in our pajamas.
We all just relaxed, hung out, and let the kids run wild.

We may have even fostered a future love connection between Derek and Katelyn, so we made sure to take bathtub pictures to use for a wedding day slideshow.
Just in case.

Heather and I snuck away several times to go shopping. For some reason, we turn into 13 year olds when we shop together.

(Side note: I was reintroduce to my old friend, Humidity. He's a mean old friend who makes my hair look like crap. Note to Humidity: I don't need any help with that. It mostly happens on it's own.
PS- I need a haircut.)

But it turns out that we are, indeed, not thirteen years old.
We now know that because when we get into laughing fits in the dressing rooms we almost pee our pants.
Mom bladders. You know.

Also, the reason we laugh?
Mom bodies.
Not actually that funny.

Especially when you're trying on a bathing suit that looks really cute on the hangar, but when donned makes you closely resemble a hippopotamous.
Wearing a tutu.

It wasn't pretty.

But really, we know how to live it up. We may be in our thirties, but we live on the edge.
Our last night in town?
Oh yes we did:

We stayed up til 10:30 at night sipping maragritas and playing Trivial Persuit: Disney Edition.
Rebels I tell you.

We got to catch up with many of our friends while we were there.
Here you have the McDaniel-Thomas-Schore spawn reunited:

We gave up on taking a good group photo of children.
 If you can see most of their faces, it's a success.

Oh! And one last note before we head off to fight over space in the double bed.
Derek slept in a a toddler bed the whole time.
He's used to being in a crib or pack-n-pay, but he's really too big for that now. So we used our friends' toddler-sized aero bed and he did a great job. So that should make his transistion to a big-boy bed in North Carolina easy.

Here is (most) of Derek sleeping in the toddler bed.

He just needs a little more practice in not trying to kill himself in his sleep.
Who needs to breathe anyway?

Goodnight to Texas, Arkansas, and Tennessee. Tomorrow we'll be in North Carolina!

Sunday, July 4, 2010

For your viewing pleasure

Josh was laughing out loud at the computer this morning, again.
So I had to look over his shoulder and see what was so funny.
Check out these "vintage" advertisements (courtesy of Foxnews.com)

It's summertime! Time for beaches, popsicles, and "extra smoking."
The words are a little hard to make out, but my favorite line from this Volkswagon commercial is:
"Women are soft and gentle, but they hit things."

I have no words for this one--

Other than, pass the beer. I need the nourishing malt.

Maybe if they still labeled clothes as being specifically for "chubbies," I would ease up on the banana pudding.

You don't want to know what Josh does to me when I buy twizzlers instead of red vines. But it's something like what this woman got for forgetting to fresh test the coffee.

My husband got the raw end of the deal if cooking is what I'm for...

Happy 4th of July Ladies! Now go slip into a nice dress and heels and make your man some dinner!

Thursday, July 1, 2010

Octo Meme

I was tagged to participate in a meme from this here Mississippi gal.
Truth: I don't actually know what the word "meme" means, but you just answer the same questions that they do, and you get to learn a little more about people.
And since I find myself too busy hanging out with friends and playing the Wii and eating to actually formulate some blog posts, I thought I should give it a try.

8 Things I'm Looking Forward To:
- Getting settled in our new house in North Carolina
- Our Disney World trip planned for September
- Lunch
- Dinner
- Evening snack time
- Breakfast tomorrow
- Lunch tomorrow
- Dinner tomorrow

I pretty much live meal to meal.

8 Things I Did Yesterday:
- Shaved my legs (this is noteworthy)
- Ate half of a 9x13 dish of banana pudding. It was good.
- Broke my bra. Not my fault. (The girls are not that big.)
- Got Victoria's Secret to send me a coupon to replace it.
- Found a nail in our van tire, which, if you can believe it, was looking a little flat.
- Watched my husband play at least 4 hours of Wii sports.
- Debated whether to teach Alex that her nipples are actually not called "nibbles"
- Opted not to.

8 Things I Wish I Could Do:
- Lose 10lbs while still eating half of a 9x13 dish of banana pudding
- Hire someone to potty train my son
- Take away Derek's food allergies so that we can all eat at Chik-Fil-A
- Have smaller feet
- Have smaller lower legs
- Have smaller upper legs
- Have smaller arms
- Have a smaller midsection

I find that these wishes live in stark contrast to most of the things I look forward to.

8 Shows I Enjoy:

Oh. I don't watch TV. It's so...so mind numbing and juvenile. So beneath me.

ha. heehee.chortle. snort. chuckle. hah.

(there's more than eight.)