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They are in the 70s and my grandmother just moved into a nursing home. I have suggested that they all move closer to me but they refuse to sell their home. My mother's solution is to have my Dad stay with me so she can keep his income to support the mortgage of their house. I find this ridiculous. I really am at a loss on what to do.

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I don't see how your parents' arguing is your problem.....it's really a marital issue between the two of THEM, right? You can go ahead and suggest marriage counseling and let them know you're willing to pay for it even, but good luck on that...........being from the older generation, they don't usually 'believe' in 'shrinks' or counseling or therapy or even self-help books!!

I would tell your mother you will absolutely NOT take your father in so she can keep his income to pay for the mortgage..........I agree that such an idea is ridiculous. She either agrees to work things out or she should file for divorce.

Best of luck!
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Reply to lealonnie1
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I'd try to make sure they are both safe. Sometimes, people argue and it gets out of hand. I'd just make sure it's nothing like that going on. My parents squabble too. It's usually about small things, like who left a light on, but, it's a lot more than it used to be. If I suggested marital counseling for them, I think they would laugh very loudly. lol They've been married 61 years. I think it might help, but, I don't think they would go. But, you can always offer.
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Reply to Sunnygirl1
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I have told them multiple times that they need to deal with those issues and not call me to complain about the other one. Sometimes they listen sometimes they don't. So I find myself talking to them less and visiting less. I feel bad but at the same time its not my problem and if they don't want to get help there is nothing I can do.
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lealonnie1 Jan 8, 2020
When they don't listen to what you're saying, tell them you have another call coming in. Or something is burning on the stove. Or there's someone at the door. Buh-bye mom and dad. Since when are children supposed to be working out marital issues for the parents?? UGH. My parents were doing the same thing to me towards the end of dad's life when he'd had about ENOUGH of my mother's 68 yrs of torment.
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When Mom calls and complains about Dad you say..."I am not having this conversation with you and if it continues I will hang up" Then follow through.
When Dad calls to complain about Mom you say..."I am not having this conversation with you and if it continues I will hang up" Then follow through.
You are not responsible for helping them work out "problems" real or perceived.
If they are both safe physically and emotionally from each other then just let them bicker on. This is how some people communicate and oddly they don't know how to do it any other way.
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Katiekate Jan 13, 2020
Exactly. My in-law we’re constantly at each other. For decades! One year I got them dueling pistols. Very pretty...of course never used.

i told them both they need to work it out.

PS. Dueling pistols are deliberately manufactured to be grossly inaccurate... after all the goal is to satisfy honor not kill someone. But, if you ever find yourself as second...RUN...you are in more danger than the intended target.
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Here’s another possibility. Relations in the family were getting upset by elderly W’s increasing nagging of H. Very unexpectedly, W died of a heart attack. The family then found that H had increasing dementia which W had been covering up by ordering him around. Worth a thought?
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Reply to MargaretMcKen
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I feel for you. My parents bickered incessantly, it seemed to me, and I couldn't bear it.

Do you think your grandmother's moving into a nursing home might make a difference on its own once they've all adjusted to the change? Is this your mother's mother or your father's mother, and who was doing the caregiving before the move?

When they call you each to complain about the other, you say - with absolutely no sense of humour about it - "I'm not listening to this. I refuse to hear it. Sort yourselves out."

But just as a guide to what they're feeling, what have their complaints been about, generally?
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my2cents Jan 13, 2020
You could have a point there about g'ma leaving. Her being there gave one or both of them something to do all day long and now that task is removed.
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When I complain about DH, and I know that I do, far too much, my kids shut me down, ASAP. My marital problems are NOT theirs to deal with or handle.

DH is very, very depressed and doesn't like to talk or socialize or do ANYTHING but sleep. I am so very, very, very tired of it, but I try not to say anything to my kids.

Divorce has sat on the table, just sitting there staring at both of us. I know it will totally screw up our retirement plans, we'll both be 'scratching by' instead of living well if we divorce. He honestly doesn't care about anything, so divorcing him b/c he's depressed seems awfully mean, but he can be so mean to me and I am struggling to overcome a year of cancer and chemotherapy. He was not there for me, not one iota and I can't get over this huge hurt.

But--my kids are wise and do not allow me to wallow in self pity.

Truly, not many people married 44 years are super happy and always content. I am hoping that after DH's mother passes away he can get some help for his anger and depression. He knows he needs help---but won't get it. Talking to your kids is pointless. And thoughtless.
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Reply to Midkid58
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If they can care for themselves, they do not need your help right now. Sadly, the bickering is the communication style of your parents. You probably won't be able to change that... and it appears your parents don't want to change. Rather than spend money on counseling for them, talk to a counselor to figure out ways of dealing with it for yourself.
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Invisible Jan 13, 2020
Oh, I like your answer better than mine.
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I would venture to say that this is a case of "too much!".

Retired and spending every waking moment together, yee gads! Who wouldn't be sick of the other person.

Do they do anything separate? I would encourage them to find hobbies, volunteer activities, clubs or anything that would give them a life beyond each other. You could do some research and have information sent to them or give them the contact information. Senior community centers have card clubs, shopping excursions, casino trips and community lunches. That is a place to start.

I adore my husband, but our 1st retirement showed me that I still need to do things that are for me and visa-versa, we quite frankly ran out of things to talk about. We did everything together and we were going bonkers.

I started volunteering and he started a remodel and we continue living our lives and meeting up at the end of our day, happy to be together, with interesting things to share. We do a ton of things together now and they are so pleasurable because it is not the only thing we do. We look forward to trips and outings, before it was feeling like punishment. 😁

We always say "Too much of a good thing is just that, TOO MUCH!"

So I encourage you to encourage them to do things for themselves and their interests, if nothing else it gives them less time to spar.

My paternal grandparents lived their entire relationship, from before marriage to death bickering and sparring and sometimes being physical, they loved it. Tough on everyone else, but it was how they dealt for 70 years.

I hope that they find something that gives them purpose and meaning and allows some peace in their home that extends to you.

(ps: I tell my parents I will not listen to them talking about one another. If they persistent I say, I told you I am not doing this, goodbye and I hang up, every time. They haven't been married for 35+ years but still want to chew on one another to me. They both know that it cuts the contact short, their choice. I think that you can take control of what you listen to from them, they will learn that you are not their dumping ground.)
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Reply to Isthisrealyreal
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OkieGranny Jan 14, 2020
I'll agree with that. My husband is semi-retired and is driving me crazy. He does nothing all day and tries to get me to watch endless hours of TV with him.
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I am an only child and always had a close relationship with my parents. They were really great people. Upon retirement, they moved three houses down from me and I thought that would be a good thing. Boy was I wrong. They did nothing but sit in the house and drink wine, after a while got cabin fever, and then were constantly bickering about everything. As an only child and living three houses away, I got sucked into trying to counsel them, begging, "please, be nice to each other!!" This started around age 70. Dad just died at age 81 and my mom continues to be a pretty nasty person. If I had any idea how this would turn out I would have kept my distance and loudly protested them moving so close to me. It has significantly damaged my life and I am now in therapy. Sadly my happy memories and fond thoughts of my parents have been overshadowed by the events of the last decade. There was nothing I could do to help them. I begged for them to travel - they had ample money and good health at that time, but they chose to sit and stew and became obsessed with dying. They threw away a lot of good years which breaks my heart. But they stole a lot of happiness and time away from me as well and I truly regret getting involved with trying to help. Be so very careful.
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Reply to Upstream
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My parents use to bicker all the time and it got worst after my dad retired. In fact, they would come over to my house and start bickering I would tell them "if you two are going to start bickering then you can leave. I don't want to hear it." And if I was at their house and they strated bicking then I would just leave! I found it to be very stressful, but they must of found comfort in it because they bickered through their whole marriage! Ugh! It drove people crazy!!

Now, I find that I have no tolerance for it--at all!

I don't think counseling is going to be the answer. Don't get me wrong I am for therapy, but they are up there in age and in truth, probably addicted to it. I think your best bet is for them to find hobbies that each of them can do without the other.

Isthisrealyreal is right. To much of a good thing isn't a good thing anymore. We all need time to ourselves!
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Reply to Shell38314
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Doesn’t it seem like there is usually a dominant person and a passive person in some relationships? Not in all cases but certainly in quite a few. Well, my mom was the dominant one. My daddy was the passive one.

My dad would cave. Used to make me sad, sometimes even angry. I desired for him to stand up to my mom but as a kid I had no idea how to articulate those feelings so I would retreat. I couldn’t take it and retreat in my treehouse in my backyard. When I got older, I took off on foot, my bicycle, a bus or the street car.

I still don’t see the point of involving myself in other people’s disputes. It always made me uncomfortable to be placed in the middle of someone else’s situation. I will leave. Not doing it. Never have and never will.

Also, too much togetherness can cause issues in a relationship. Not many people can handle being joined at the hip all of the time.

Best wishes to you and your family.
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Reply to NeedHelpWithMom
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First of all I I would ask the question: “Why is this your problem”? Sometimes people are only together for financial reasons. In other cases, maybe they might have divorced many years prior but did not for a number of reasons. It is not such a far-fetched idea for them to remain married but live separately. This may reduce the stress and unhappiness in each of their lives. It is physically, emotionally, and mentally exhausting living in a contentious relationship, and it can take a tremendous toll on a person. Perhaps you can lovingly detach and let them deal with their issues And of course you can always suggest counseling. Hope this helps.
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Reply to Lulu4jelmp
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Say No!
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Reply to MsRandall
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Lots of time people don't listen to those closest to them (family), but they still involve them, so the idea of family counseling isn't such a bad idea. The therapist can get you out of the situation by telling your parents point blank that this is their problem, not yours. Perhaps that is a way to get them into counseling for themselves so they can make the choice to divorce or work it out. But you will still have to take a stand with your folks that you will not continue to be involved.
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Reply to Invisible
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Well, your mom has a plan (LOL) - a little bit selfish but appears she has figured out how to resolve her own problem. Just kidding.
Have you told your mom that dad's money goes where he goes and there just isn't enough to support mortgage/rent at two houses? Just asking.
Sometimes after work career ends, two people find that having so much time together is not a good thing. Perhaps they really never got along. Pretty much they can figure out a way to work it out or sell the house so they can go their own ways. - Wonder how they would both feel about that?
Is there a way to divide the house so they each have bedroom and sitting area? Even if it means adding a wall somewhere. Common area would be the kitchen and laundry room and maybe bathroom if there is only one. Each one responsible for their own meals, cleaning up what they mess up, etc.
-- Having a professional talk with both of them at same time could be easier for you, however they may have both already drawn lines in the sand as far as taking advice from anyone. It would be interesting to let mom share her plan with a counselor so an outsider can point out how selfish that idea is.
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Reply to my2cents
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My gut says NO. Stay out of it as much as possible.

May I repeat myself? Stay out of it! AND, do not go along with Mom's suggestion as you will never have a life again.

Just say NO.
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Reply to RayLinStephens
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It’s really very generous of you to offer to pay for counseling for them. I think you should tell mom, that dad moving in is out of the question. Hopefully they will see how their behavior is limiting them socially and accept. If they don’t I won’t limit my visits with them.
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Reply to Alonnastorm
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Paid counseling - nice idea, but I wouldn't hold my breath. They refuse to sell and move closer, so they are not likely to accept this either. Many in older generations wouldn't EVER consider counseling - one mustn't air the dirty laundry!

Your mom's solution IS ridiculous. No, no, no, NO, NO!!! every time she suggests this!

IF they are only arguing, let it be. You implied they always have argued, but it has gotten worse. So long as there is nothing physical in the arguments, let them argue and be miserable. They sound capable - if they don't like what the other is doing, go out and do something else! Being cooped up in the same home, now that they are retired, can contribute to more abrasive interactions, but that is something THEY need to work out.

If they are putting you in the middle, such as calling you and bad-mouthing the other, you can politely tell them not to do this/you don't want to hear this. If they continue, hang up. If this doesn't stop them, don't answer. Eventually, so long as there are no cognitive issues, they should get the hint. Children, young or adult, should NEVER be put on the spot! It's like they want you to take sides and belittle the other. No.

My mother was VERY critical of our spouses. I heard so much crap over the years about my brothers' wives and my ex. The one that REALLY got my goat was regarding OB's first wife. They divorced and YEARS later she was still going on about her. Even after she passed away following surgery! The last time it came up, I decided if she does this one more time I am going to light into her! This was before dementia BTW. Good lord, the woman was dead mom, LET IT GO! She even would go on about her own MIL, gone MANY years before. Gripe gripe gripe... some people are like that - no purpose or hobby in life other than being critical of others. Fortunately (or not) dementia did kick in and the topics never came up again. I had so much negative crap stored in my head from all these gripes! I kept it to myself, no point in angering someone else, but it is not nice!

So, provided you don't think either would get physical (do they own guns?), let them argue. You could suggest to each that they find a hobby or something to get them out of the house, follow their own interests. Less time spent together would at the least reduce the amount of arguing. Probably won't eliminate it, but they need to get OUT and do something else! You can only suggest this (or the counseling) - if no interest, so be it. There really isn't anything else you can do except remove yourself from their behavior!
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Reply to disgustedtoo
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My real Father was a country preacher and as mild & quiet as they come. But, in his early 80’s, he started saying mean things to Mom, who was in her late 80’s. She would call crying. Of course, it turned out to be Alzheimer’s. So you never know.
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Reply to BeckyT
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Your mother's solution of having Dad move in with you is a non-solution. That just places you in the center of their dysfunction. Don't fall for it. As for paying for their counseling, don't do it. If your parents lack the commitment to seek and pay for their own counselling, then they lack the drive to follow through with the actual counselling, which requires practical commitments of time and "doing the work" which makes all the difference between success or failure.

It's painful and frustrating to witness stalemates in our parents' marriage. But they are the ones who must fix it. No matter how good your intentions, stay out of it. To move your dad in with you or pay for counseling will only backfire.
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Reply to CantDance
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I know I weighed in on this and I guess it was well received--you never know if what you post is going to resonate with people.

Instead of all you thinking my DH is a jerk--I need to qualify something: his parents had probably the worst marriage in history. I never saw or heard them say or do a kind thing for/to each other in the 42 years they were married. In fact, on our first date, DH told me how miserable his parents were and that he would never marry. (So I asked him why he was dropping money on a movie with me!)

They truly has problems that only divorce could 'mend'. But it didn't. Dad left, she 'let' him have an old recliner, a card table and 2 (not all 4) of the folding chairs, his clothes and one small TV. The rest she had Goodwill come and get before he had a chance to get anything else.

Dad never said ONE WORD against MIL. She on, the other hand, is still alive and kicking at 90 and will talk about him incessantly. In fact, he and his shortcomings as a human is all she really does talk about. He's been gone 16 years and they were divorced 14 years prior to his death. Wouldn't you think 30 years of 'aloneness' would have calmed her some? Nope--she's still absolutely as mad at him as she ever was.

So DH GREW UP seeing a non-functioning, hateful marriage. He has protected himself by distancing himself from me, so he can't get hurt.

Funny thing, he'll tell basically strangers how much he loves me, and how stressed out and worried he was during my chemo last year. Never said a word to me. I heard this from a woman he works with.

It is going to take his mother's death and some serious soul searching to get him to trust me. I've stayed with him through goodness knows what, and I don't WANT to leave him.

He left on a n 8 day business trip this am. Know how I know he felt awful about what a jerk he's been the last few weeks? He made his own bed.

And again--it is NOT my kids' business as to what goes on in my marriage, short of abuse. We don't even squabble. We just are 2 entirely different people with NOTHING in common who got married. We're not that unusual.

Plus which, I am super, super awesome and forgive him daily. :)
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Reply to Midkid58
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Shell38314 Jan 13, 2020
Midkid

You totally are super super awesome:)

Hope you are feeling somewhat better and getting your strength back little-by-little each day!😊

Hugs!!
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Just say no!!! No is a complete sentence!! Don’t let him move in with you. Stay out of it. It’s their marriage. Not yours to fix.
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Reply to elaine1962
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No counseling will help them. Why not send them away on vacation? If this arguing is a way of life for them, counseling will not change it. That’s the way they communicate! They’re both miserable so they like to take their anger out on each other!
Hugs 🤗
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Reply to CaregiverL
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If you really want to try counseling, I suspect that you will only get them there by saying to each of them separately that it’s about the problems caused by the other one.
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Reply to MargaretMcKen
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What do they argue about? Is it petty issues or life altering decisions? Do these arguments include you? I think you could suggest counseling and offer to pay but realize that they may refuse because they don't see anything amiss. In terms of your Dad staying with you as a solution, I'm not certain that it wouldn't create another set of issues especially for you. Since the arguing is disturbing to you, I would suggest that you tell them that in your presence, you would like an argue free atmosphere.
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Reply to Peanuts56
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I suggest that you find counseling for yourself.

If your parents have Original Medicare insurance it will pay for therapy for them.

Its inappropriate on many levels for you to be involved in their marital issues. It’s inappropriate for them to discuss each other with you because you are powerless to do anything about it. You don’t want to take sides. It just causes you stress.
And to me, it actually makes it less likely they will get help. They release the stress (to a degree) by venting to you instead of trying to resolve their issues.

Set firm boundaries with your parents. Your modeling appropriate behavior (therapy for yourself being one such behavior) and setting boundaries will help them and you.
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Reply to 97yroldmom
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Your parents inherited the "bicker gene." Luckily it skips a generation.

If they seek counseling and they recover from having taken care of grandmother, they just might be able to work out new ways of interacting with one another. They are not beyond hope.

However, you should not get in the middle of this. Stand your ground. Do not take sides. Look up reflective listening skills and use these when one or the other of them talks to you so that you can through reflectively listening place their problem squarely back into their laps where it belongs. They do need counseling, if they are open to it. If money were the obstacle, I might help by offering some financial assistance if I were in your shoes. I would also look into counseling for myself to learn coping skills to best handle this situation with my parents.
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Reply to lynina2
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Your parents seem to need to argue, it is their way of life. As we become older, we see our lives we worked so hard to build crumble around us. Changes come with the territory, however, being able to cope is another story. Pride usually is a factor that older people have which prevents them from feeling like a failure. This leads to arguments, crying spells, and other emotional issues. Regrettably, the best thing family can do is to listen, not take sides, keep the distance when it seems that one person is trying to manipulate the situation and pull the favors in their direction. If violence is part of the situation, maybe you're going to have to get involved by calling on those who are in a position to take matters into their hands and advise. Otherwise, just seek counseling for yourself, and learn to say NO. If you pick sides by agreeing to either parents outbursts, the situation will become worse.
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Reply to thingsarecrazy8
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I agree that this is not her problem, but why is it OK for a son or daughter to complain to his or her parents, but parents are just supposed to suck it up? What if mom has nobody else to talk to? Perhaps the answer is to find some social activity for mom so she has people to talk to and perhaps a mutual venting society. Another possibility is that mom is looking back over her life and wondering how she got to this point. She could be depressed, and it comes out as bickering with her spouse. Many people arrive at old age and see mostly regrets for what could have been.
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