moving (again!)

Squee! We’re moving from the shed into a house this weekend! We just found out today…

This will be the eleventh time Bean and I have moved since we got together just over 5 years ago. We’re kinda moving ninjas after all those moves.

This time we’re moving alone, with the exception of a friend helping to get the fridge and washing machine onto the trailer at the shed end due to the awkward and uneven nature of the terrain here. The friend in question is quite a bit bigger and stronger than I am, so we’ve requested his assistance for the two largest, most awkward items.

I’m so excited to be moving. The house isn’t in Denmark, where I wanted to move to when we first left Perth for the south coast 10 months ago, but it’s another stepping stone and I feel comfortable with the decision to sign a 12 month lease here in Albany. TWELVE MONTH LEASE IN ALBANY! Eeep. Did I really say I was comfortable with that?

Well, yes. Yes I did.

The house we’re moving to is not at all our style. It’s a lego-land house with a big double garage right out the front. It’s new and has four bedrooms and two bathrooms. We would never buy a house like it, not in a million years, but it is simply perfect for us to rent right now.

It’s 1.3km from the hospital construction site that Bean is working at, and will be working at for the next year at the very least so he can ride his bike to work and come home for lunch every day. It’s new and therefore requires no maintenance from us, meaning we can spend our spare time pursuing our passions rather than maintaining someone else’s house. The garden is simply empty beds and parched lawn so we know that they’ll be in better condition when we leave than they are now, no matter what. It has a double garage which means the kombis will finally be parked under cover when we’re home after 10 months of being parked out in the rain which has made them so much rustier than they were when we moved here. The garage and the close proximity to Liam’s work also mean that we can take them off the road one at a time and do some serious restoration work on them which we have been hanging out to do for so, so long now. The four bedrooms mean that Sprout can have her own bedroom, which she has been saying she would like ever since the novelty of first moving in to the shed wore off, about a month into it! It means we’ll have room for family and friends to stay if they want to visit us, which we haven’t been able to offer since moving into the shed. The best bit though (for me)… It also means I can have a studio. My own space to sew, to study, to do art journaling. Oh I am so, so excited about that bit.

We did consider moving to Denmark. We put a lot of thought into it because I really, really wanted it. We decided though that for now, with Bean about to begin doing a couple of hours overtime every day and with the debt that we have to service, the commute from and back to Denmark five days a week is just too much. That’s an extra 10 hours a week that Bean would be away from us while traveling to and from work and it’s 500km per week worth of petrol and wear on Van Halen as well. We have chosen our need to spend more time together as a family and to spend more money on debt repayments over our strong desire to move to Denmark.

We know we’ll get there one day and this move, this job that Bean is doing, it’s all just a stepping stone. We’ve got some loose ends to tie up and this is part of that. For now, we feel confident this is going to be a very good move.

I’ll see you on the other side of it all…

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11 weeks in the shed

We’ve been living in the shed for 11 weeks now, so I’d like to update how it’s going…

In a nut shell, it sucks!

We still don’t have the wash house the outlaws originally said would be completed 9 weeks ago. Work hasn’t even begun on it yet! I’ve given up believing Bean when he tells me they’ve promised it’ll be done in 2-3 weeks since I’ve been hearing that for 12 weeks now!

So, because we don’t have a wash house we’re still having to use their washing machine, and because Bean is the only one of our family who goes down to their house we’re totally reliant on him being available to do the washing. He can’t do laundry as often as I was able to do it when we had our own machine set up because he’s not around as much as I am so our washing is piling up!

Add to that, their washing machine is USELESS, utterly useless. All it does it wet the clothes, add a bit of beach sand and lint that wasn’t already on them, then pull them out of shape. Hurrah, aren’t we glad we’ve wasted our time and the earth’s resources pretending to wash our clothes?! I miss our good washing machine. I miss washing the nappies every day or two, and knowing that I’m not going to run out of clean nappies*. Most of all, I miss knowing toxic laundry detergents haven’t been used in the machine I’m washing my clothes in. I cannot stand the overpowering chemical smell of those detergents and our clothes have been smelling like them for months now.

Cash is a bit tight until Bean’s qualified (which should be in the next couple of months, yay!) so we’re not able to use the machines at the laundromat, though I was able to do several loads at the laundromat last week because my Mum generously gave me some cash to do that.

Having piles of dirty laundry is frustrating enough, but when those piles have to share the piddly 30 square metres you’ve got to live in with four people… then it starts to inspire frustration of hair pulling proportions!

This is my desk. As you can see, there’s a whole lot of room for study right here!

 

It’s not just the dirty laundry that’s taking up precious space though. There’s all the cleaning stuff, including the vacuum, which would otherwise be in the wash house.

Then there’s the glorified bucket that would otherwise be (a real toilet) in the wash house.

I don’t know how to turn that picture around.

 

Yes. We’ve been using a camp toilet for 11 weeks. Kindly loaned by our milk providing friends, which is fabulous because we’d not have been able to buy one. Still, the novelty wore of pretty soon. It’d be nice to have a home that doesn’t smell like a camp toilet. It’d be nice to not have to empty the camp toilet. It’d be nice to just have a real toilet, damn it!

The piles of laundry, the cleaning stuff, the camp toilet we’ve got to shift around depending on whether we want to use the shower or the basin, it all adds to the feeling of claustrophobia and chaos.

30 square metres is small, there’s no doubt about that, but we’ve designed the space to be usable and practical. With the wash house, it’d be working, I reckon. With the wash house we’d not have massive piles of washing anyway, because we’d have our own machine to use whenever we want to. With the wash house my desk would be used as a desk, not a washing pile holder. With the wash house we’d have no vacuum in the walk way between the kitchen and the couch. With the wash house we’d have a toilet!

So, 11 weeks in, it sucks. Not all hope it lost, maybe one day the wash house really will be done in 2-3 weeks? Until then, resentment keeps creeping in, no matter which way I try to look at it.

 

 

*Please, no one suggest disposables! Even if I wanted to use disposables, we don’t have the disposable income (haha) to pay for them while Bean’s on an apprenticeship.

 

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reflections of a reformed hoarder

We have been in the shed a couple of weeks now. We’re slowly finishing off things so our little home is well organised. Bean said just tonight, while he was making the new corner desk,

“I can’t wait for the day we realise there’s no more work to be done in here.”

Neither can I! I think when that day comes we’ll spend the whole evening playing board games, watching movies on the laptop &/or staring at the wall… We’ll certainly have earned it by then. You know? We might even have more than one lazy evening!

We’re getting close though, we’re so close I can taste it. There’s such a short list of jobs left, and then this tiny little space will be very comfortably set up for our family.

Today, we worked out where we want the wall shelves to go, we worked out what materials we need for those shelves & we went to the hardware store to buy it all. We’ve reached a point where we’re after cheap solutions over beautiful solutions, so we bought ply wood for our shelves rather than solid wood, it’s just so much cheaper and this isn’t actually our house. We’ll paint it with some left over paint, rather than oiling it like we’d finish solid wood. Even if we could afford the more beautiful materials that we want, it just makes a bit more sense to buy the equally functional, yet less beautiful, materials for less & save the difference for that “one day” when we have our own home again.

We’re so very close to having all the things we want to live with unpacked & put away in this space, everything having its own place, simple & beautiful. We had planned to store some things in one of the FOUR(!) spare rooms in Bean’s parents house, things that wouldn’t fit in the shed & (as yet unbuilt) wash house, but we have since decided to be more ruthless than we’ve ever been before. If we want to keep something, we’ll work out how to fit it in the (house) shed, wash house, or garden/tool shed otherwise it goes! We’ll sell or donate everything we don’t have space for, we’ll store nothing.

We’ve decided to do things this way because we’re planning to set up Van Halen (Bean’s kombi) as a camper van & travel for a little while once he’s qualified & we have saved some money for an adventure. We don’t want to be worrying about stuff we’re not going to use immediately we move from this shed. We don’t want to have things in storage. If we don’t use it often enough that we’re not going to miss it in storage then we’re not going to miss it if we get rid of it altogether!

A good old fashioned cull, it just feels so very good. We’ve already culled most of our sentimental stuff, childhood letters, trophies (all Bean’s, I never won at sport!), toys… Being a reformed hoarder, I’ve done the heartless chuck out already! It was hard, it was something I thought about & put off for so long, then when I finally got rid of it all I wondered why it had taken me so long?! Now, it’s just useful stuff left. Some stuff that we use every day, stuff that makes life easier, stuff that makes life more fun, stuff we wear… Then there’s the stuff we don’t use daily but that we use often enough to keep in our little house.

The useless stuff, the stuff we’d planned to put in boxes & leave in a room for who knows how long, just in case we want it again some day, that’s the stuff we’ll get rid of, one way or another. Then, then I’ll feel even more free. Less to pack when we leave. Less to worry about now. Just less. Beautiful, simple “less”.

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moving in to the shed

We’re in! Finally, finally, finally we have our own little space.

We’re not quite finished with the conversion. We still have some shelves to put up & the bathroom to finish off (nearly there!) but Tuesday night I put the last coat of paint on the floor so Wednesday night it was done enough & we’d had enough of living in the spare room in the outlaws place so we moved in.

As I always do when we move I set up the play space/Sprout’s bedroom first.

Moe’s clothes are in the left cupboard above the toy baskets & Sprout’s clothes are in the right cupboard. The ladder to the left takes us up to the loft, where the family bed is. Sprout’s bed was my bed when I was a child. It’s been used by me, my neice & now Sprout. It’s looking a bit rough these days, but I do like it so.

Here’s a little more of the toy shelves…

This is the family bed.

This is Sprout’s bedroom at night, complete with sleeping Sprout & faery light night lights turned on.

We spent today unpacking kitchen boxes. Mugs, plates, bowls, pantry food… We found spots for all of it. Ironially, in this tiny shed, we have more kitchen cupboard & pantry space than we have had in any of our other homes. We have “enough” bench space, even with the bench top oven & two burner gas stove too (different to the temporary fix that is in the pictures below). We’re quite proud of how we’ve planned this space to be so useful.

I am so pleased to have a tea shelf again…

I’ll share the bathroom with you when it’s finished. Hopefully in the next few days.

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the evolution of the shed project

If you’ve been following wildecrafted lately you’ll know we’ve been converting a backyard shed at Bean’s parents place into a grany flat for our family to live in for a while as Bean finishes his electrical apprenticeship and as we recover from some poor financial decisions.

Well, it has taken a lot longer than I had anticipated. It’s become a bigger project than any of us imagined at first. We started off with the plan to put insulation & plasterboard on the bare shed walls & ceiling with a camp stove on a table for the kitchen. We’d head down to the main house to use the toilet & for showers.

That then became including plumbing at the shed for a kitchen sink so doing dishes wasn’t a hassle… Which led us to ask, if we’re putting the energy into getting water up there & waste water back out of there then why not plumb in a shower & a tap for the washing machine too? That would make living there much easier wouldn’t it? We’d not have to share a bathroom or laundry, only a toilet…

I know, you can just see what’s coming next can’t you?! Yes. Then mother-in-law said we should have a toilet up there too.

We don’t have the room. It’s already a squeeze getting the shower, washing machine, kitchen, lounge & beds in… it’s only 28 square metres! It’d only work if we built an outhouse & that’s too much work, let’s shelve that idea. Reluctantly she agrees, until….

The plumber says it’s not that hard. The plumbing will all be there, it’s easy to connected, building a stud frame outhouse will be easy.

Ok. We’ll do that then.

Then mother-in-law decides we can’t possibly have a toilet without a basin in it so we plan to make the outhouse bigger.

Then I ponder… If the outhouse is going to have a toilet & a basin in it, why don’t we swap the washing machine that’s planned to go in the shed with the basin that’s planned to go in the outhouse, turn the outhouse into a wash house? It makes more sense to have a basin next to the shower so we can brush our teeth, we can just come back inside after using the toilet & wash our hands, much better than going outside to brush our teeth, and so much better than keeping our toothbrushes in the toilet (ick! That’s a thing of mine). I suggest it to Liam. He says they won’t go with it. I ask him to suggest it anyway. Not only do they go with it, they’re very enthusiastic about it. Yes, yes, much better to have the washing machine outside, it’s too big & noisy to have in such a small space as the shed.

So the shed plan has become the pre-existing room that we’ll add a loft bed to (our friend the carpenter comes tomorrow morning to begin that job) for our family bedroom, a bathroom with basin/cabinet/mirror & shower, a kitchen with not only a camp stove but a bench top oven & a brand new electric kettle (courtesy of shop-a-holic MIL!) plus the out house which will include a toilet & laundry.

With all of these luxuries we’ll have no need to use any part of the main house & we’ll live quite comfortably in 28 square metres, I think.

Please forgive the lack of regular posting at wildecrafted lately, we’ve obviously had a large project occupying our minds & time! The shed is nearly ready for us to move in to now, as soon as it’s finished & we’re happily settled in I’ll blog a pic-heavy post about the whole process.

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putting up walls

The plasterers have finished putting up the interior walls in The Shed.

We ordered paint from ecolour tonight.

The outlaws are heading to Perth this weekend so they’ll pick up our pine cupboards from ikea (Bleh! Blek! Ack! Yuck! Ikea)

The plumber will be working up there this week.

The outlaws have put road base down next to the shed to park the kombis.

It’s all happening. We should be ready to move in just 2 (at a stretch, 3) weeks from now… squee!

kitchen area

lounge area

bedroom door

"Hello Dave!"

new parking area outside

 

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moving day

It’s here! We’re leaving Wonderland today (and probably tomorrow too, in reality). We’ll set up camp in the spare room at the outlaws place for the first week or so while we prepare the shed for moving. The plasterboard is all done now so it’s well on the way to being a home, not a shed anymore!

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a renovator’s delight

We spent last weekend at the shed. We’re at the very begining of the renovation so there was lots of banging & bashing with hammers, which was SO MUCH FUN!

Looking in from the front door.

Looking left from the front door.

Inside the bedroom.

 

We pulled nails out of the beams & pulled shelves down, then when all the bashing & banging was done Bean pre-wired it all ready for the plasterers to come in with insulation & plasterboard this week.

I was Bean’s labourer for some of the time, I drilled massive holes in a couple of the jarrah beams with a very expensive drill. I can count on one hand the number of times I’ve used a drill before so it was a bit exciting to find myself drilling holes the size of a 10 cent piece through thick, hardwood.

Giving myself a shower of jarrah shavings!

I also got down with some nasty, nasty paint stripper & scraped a few layers of paint off the weather boards in the bedroom. It was a bit full on… actually it was a lot full on, the fumes were intense, but I wore a gas mask (most of the time) & had the window wide open for fresh air & the door closed so the sproggets weren’t exposed. It was satisfying to see the paint come away & give an idea of how it’ll look when it’s done.

We’re going to sand it back a bit more then seal it with ecolour polyclear (no VOC) to go with the distressed look. We’ll finish the door, ceiling & skirtings in that room with ecolour high gloss interior paint (also no VOC), so the distressed looking weather boards are framed with fresh, clean paint.

We’ve chosen our paint colours. Inspired by this post from SouleMama, we’re going with light green walls & a creamy white for the skirtings, shelves, window frames, door frames etc. The jarrah floors will be sanded back & oiled. The kitchen cabinets & bench top will be varnished (polyclear-ed) pine & the walls in the wet area will be covered with zincalume mini orb.

The plumber came Monday afternoon to tell us all the plumbing we have in mind could be done, & with more ease than we had initially thought. He’s also told us it’ll be a cinch to add a toilet there too. There’s not the room in the shed for a toilet (& we’re not keen on having a toilet right next to our pantry!) so we’ll build a little outhouse next to the shed. That will make us completely self sufficient, having no need to go to the bottom house at all, which means more privacy for the outlaws & more privacy for us :)

We probably won’t get much more done on the shed this coming weekend, since we’re moving our things from Wonderland to the outlaws place. We’ll be staying with the outlaws from this weekend until the shed is finished. Our timeline is a couple of weeks. We’ll be able to get a lot more done from here on in because we’ll be staying so close to the shed. Bean & I are planning night time renovations while the sproggets are asleep.

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Planning

At the weekend we went to visit the outlaws & measure the shed so we could begin planning the shed-to-granny-flat conversion.

In previous jobs, and a little in his current job, Bean used AutoCAD a lot so we decided to draw a floor plan using AutoCAD. After Bean drew the basic plan we then worked out what furniture we’d be using in the shed & what would be put in storage (in a spare room in the main house). We measured the furniture we’d be using in the shed & Bean drew all of that in AutoCAD too. Once we had everything measured & drawn it was time to shift stuff around (virtually!). We played with all kinds of layouts, then 2 or 3 hours later we had a plan we’re happy with.

Bean has run it by his parents & they’re happy with it too. Awesome!

The total floor area of the shed is around 28m2 (just over 5m x just over 5.5m). The existing separate room in the shed is 7.8m2 (2.65m x 2.95m).¬† We’ve decided to increase our usable space by building a loft bed in the separate room. Under the loft bed will be The Bubble’s single bed & a space for the sproggets – a wardrobe for their clothes & shelves for their toys. By doing this, we’ve managed to create enough extra space for the washing machine & a shower(!) in the shed. Originally we thought we’d have to get a little garden tool shed for the washing machine to be outside, which won’t be necessary after all. Having a shower will be a total bonus. We were expecting to use the bathroom in the main house, which could increase stress because it’s not a child-friendly house & having a shower while wondering what dangerous things the sproggets are getting into is not terribly relaxing, nor is having a shower with the sproggets every time I want a wash!

As much as I’m proud of the loft idea & all that is made possible by having a loft bed, the kitchen is my very favourite part of the shed plan. We’ll be able to prepare most things we can prepare in any house kitchen with the exception of a massive roast (which we can probably cook in the hooded BBQ anyway…). We’ll have a sink with running water, our large fridge, 2 pantries, just over 3m of bench space with cupboards underneath plus a small island bench on casters, 3 or 4 roughly 2m long shelves along the wall, a pot rack hanging from the ceiling, the thermomix (which will actually be of use to us when we replace the broken blade), a gas camping stove, a bench top electric oven/grill, slow cooker & kettle. For the kitchen cupboards, since we lack the cabinet making skill & time to build them ourselves, we’re actually going to break my ikea-free ideals & buy ikea products. Not their kitchen products though, not only are they too expensive, I’m unsure of what chemicals they could be offgassing & would like to avoid VOCs. We’ll be using “ivar” cupboards, they’re solid pine – untreated & unfinished. They’re 80cm wide by 50cm deep & 83cm high. We’ll put them on blocks of timber from the salvage yard to raise them to a better kitchen bench height & we’ll screw a wooden bench top to the top of them. We’re hoping to get some milled, raw edge pine that we saw at the salvage yard for the bench tops, provided they’re not too expensive, our plan B is to use salvaged floor boards, plan C is to use pre-fab wooden bench tops from ikea or Bunnings (or other hardware store).

We won’t have a traditional dining table. Instead we’ll have the same set up for meals that we have already, the coffee table (which was once¬† a dining table anyway) next to the couch with the children’s little cane chairs. We still sit down & eat together, just not at a traditional dining table. That will work extra well in the shed, since we’re after furniture that can serve more than one function. The coffee table is a perfect height & size for children’s craft.

We’ll paint the interior of the shed with ecolour no-VOC paint in an as yet unchosen colour. Suggestions of funky wall colours most welcome :)

That’s just about all I can think to explain of the plan for now, so I’ll finish with a copy of the floor plan…

Click on the image to enlarge

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A (very) left field solution

We’re going to break the lease here at Wonderland.

It is a beautiful house, and it is a very impractical house.

The issue of safety is a huge one for us. We feel it’s just not safe enough for the sproggets here with the large, unfenced pond/lake so close to our doorstep. I’m having to be hyper aware of their every move in case they go outside without me noticing & it feels like I’m stifling them. The sproggets are frustrated by being trapped inside so much of the time & I feel frustrated with having become such a “No! Mumma”. I’m afraid to even use the toilet without inviting them in to be my audience in case they slake off again while I’m on the toilet. That’s how I know it takes Babyman just 30 seconds to get from our deck to the edge of the pond, it’s how long he was gone from my side while I used the toilet that day…

We’re also concerned for Dave’s safety, since he ate a rat bait at another house on this same property, a house he visits several times a day. He comes back from that house with various bits of compost & food scraps all the time & we’re concerned that if he eats another bait we may not realise it until serious damage has been done. There’s no fenced area we can keep him contained in, & it’s difficult not knowing where he is when he’s not in the area immediately surrounding our house. His training has slipped a bit since we’ve been here too, he’s forgotten that he’s not allowed inside because he’s being allowed into the other houses. He’s only 6 months old & consistency with training is crucial in this early stage particularly, since being here we’ve begun to lose status with him.

There are other things that make Wonderland unsuitable for our family at this time in our lives, which I’ll not go into now simply because that’d make this a lengthy & boring post, so I’ll just jump straight into explaining our (very) left field solution…

We’re going to move in to a shed.

Bean’s parents (the outlaws) have a reasonable sized shed at the top of their block, which will be easily insulated & gyprocked to convert it into a comfortable space to live. Their block is on a hill, & their backyard is in 3 levels.

At the very back there is a rear access gate, & space to park the kombis next to the shed. There is also a retired chook house which will take very little work to return to habitable condition for us to have some feathered friends again (BIG YAY!). Between the shed & the chook house are 6(?) empty garden beds just perfect to plant out with annual vegetables.

Stepping down from the top level takes you to a grassed area which is bordered with gardens. At one end of the grassed area is a mature Granny Smith apple tree & a mature pear tree.

Both of these garden areas will be easily fenced with inexpensive dog fencing, creating a secure yard for Dave & the sproggets. We can separate the top & second levels also, so Dave can be kept separate from the sproggets if I don’t want to directly supervise their play (I don’t leave the sproggets alone with dogs because I think they’re still too young for that).

The bottom level of the backyard is about 6ft below the second level, there is a large retaining wall between a courtyard & the second level which in effect separates the rear yard from the house.

We will have our fridge, pantry & gas camping stove in the shed plus the hooded BBQ outside meaning we can store & prepare food without using the kitchen in the outlaws’ house. When we are able to buy a new thermomix blade the thermomix will be back in action also & we’ll be even better equipped to prepare food in the shed. We’ll have water plumbed to the shed for handwashing & dishes, but we’ll have to use the bathroom in the main house for showers & baths. We’ll likely sort out some kind of composting toilet solution also, in time. Our washing machine only requires that cold water be plumbed to it so we’ll set up a smaller temporary garden shed to be our laundry. The water outlet can be directed to the base of the fruit trees & to the ornamental plants already in the gardens around the lawn using a grey water hose.

The shed is large enough to have a kitchen (there’s already internal walls separating a small room from the rest of the shed), our beds & a small lounge/dining area with our couch & coffee/dining table. We sit on cushions around a low table to eat dinner so that won’t change. It is a small space, but as long as it is a warm & dry space we will be fine living in it. With such a fantastic blank canvas for a productive garden I imagine we’ll be spending a lot of time in the garden anyway. We’re all happier out of doors.

The outlaws’ place is in town, easy walking distance to the beach & even easier walking distance to the town centre. It’s also a 5 minute walk to Bean’s workplace. We’ll be a lot less reliant on cars there, which is good from an environmenatl & an economical point of view. We’ll be more able to afford to drive across to Denmark (where we really want to be) once or twice a week also, since we won’t need to use our cars just to get in to Albany to go to the library, museum or shop.

The best part about it though is that we won’t be paying rent! If we are able to put the amount of rent we pay each week into our credit card & personal loan repayments we’ll be able to knock a huge chunk of debt off by the time Bean finishes his apprenticeship.

Finances have been worrying us a lot, so the motivation for our moving in to a shed is definitely financial.

It certainly won’t be perfect, there will likely be times I’ll resent it, but it is still a good solution to the problems we have with our current living & financial situation.

Besides, we’ve both lived for extended periods of time on forest blockade camps & I’ve also lived for months at a time in a kombi van so a shed with running water, insulation, electricity & even heating is luxury compared!

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