General Question

tinyfaery's avatar

Would you be vexed about this if you were me?

Asked by tinyfaery (40445points) July 7th, 2009

Please don’t mod my question. I’m not sure how to ask this.

This might be a little lengthy; just pretend I’m dalepetrie. :)

My wife’s mother asked my wife (and only my wife) if she wanted to go on vacation with her this summer. She said that my wife could pick anywhere she wanted to go. My wife’s mother also said that she knows that the two of us hate to be apart, so if it was an issue, then they didn’t have to go.

Issues to consider:

My wife and I are skipping a big vacation this year because we are saving for Europe next year, and because I have been at my job for less than a year and I do not want to take a big chunk of time off. (I’m saving that for 2010.)

My wife and her mom and sis used to go on vacation every year together, from the time my wife was age 8 until the age of 20, but since we married, which was 8 years ago, they have not taken any trips together. Mom usually takes vacations with sis, but sis has a new job. So, mom and my wife would be the only two on this trip.

Mom and my wife have been to every state together, except for Alaska, and this trip would complete the 50 states.

My wife is a bit nervous about spending so much time alone with her mom, and she really doesn’t want to leave me, but she wants to please her mother, and hey, free trip to Alaska.

So…I have ambivalent feelings about all this. I want my wife to go, I want her to finish off her tour of America with her mom, and she really deserves a break from all of her hard work (which sometimes includes me) but I feel that the way this whole trip was offered put me in an awkward position. What if there were circumstances in which it would be better for my wife not to go, or if I needed her for some reason or another? What if my wife didn’t want to go? By offering the trip with the disclaimer that it’s okay if you do not want to go because of tinyfaery puts me and my wife in an awkward position. And my wife has weird mom issues. Well, mom or not, she is a people pleaser, and when it comes to mom, pleasing her is very important to my wife.

Vexed is truly the best way to describe what I am feeling. I’m irritated, jealous, speculative, and a bit nervous about the whole thing. And to top it off, I was never invited. And honestly, being away from my wife for such a long period of time is going to be horrible. I can’t function without her.

Help me make sense of this. How would you feel if you were me (using the impression(s) that you might have of me and the bit of info I have provided you)? How would personally react? I just need some one to help explain what I feel, how I feel, and why I feel it.

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75 Answers

The_Compassionate_Heretic's avatar

I’d say, leave the decision to your wife and hope for the best.
It sounds like an uncomfortable situation though.

It would probably bother me honestly. In laws are good at that.

tinyfaery's avatar

No choice left. Trip is booked. She is leaving me for 7 days.

Dog's avatar

While is is a drag you were not invited it sounds like a family style trip and comes from a tradition prior to your marriage.

I know how you are feeling about it but here are the pros and cons as far as I can see:

Con
You will be apart for the trip
You were not invited but could not attend even if invited.

Pro
Your wife will have time with her family
She will appreciate your rising to the occasion and being the better person.
Perhaps the relationship will improve with your wife and her mom and thus life will be better all the way around.

I think that as difficult as it is to be alone during that time you will be the heroine if you are gracious and encourage the trip.

My answer would be different of course if the trip was NOT with family and was with friends.

SeventhSense's avatar

Trip to Alaska: 1500–3000
Not having to deal with your Mother in Law and geting some time to chill without the missus:
Priceless

The_Compassionate_Heretic's avatar

@tinyfaery Hang in there. It’s only a week. Yeah, easy for me to say
This is some prime “you time” coming up at least and think of how great it will be when you see each other again.

tinyfaery's avatar

See, I have a great relationship with my non-mom-in-law (my saying tyvm). We all went to Alcapulco one summer, we’ve gone on road trips together, we all get along great. Which just adds fuel to the fire.

Grisaille's avatar

Separation makes the heart grow fonder, right?

Ride it out. It’s her mother. Let her enjoy herself, is what I say.

Dog's avatar

@tinyfaery You are the spouse. This is a blood trip no? Do not read snub into the mix. It will only make things harder on your wife and strain your marriage.

You can handle this with class!

SeventhSense's avatar

@tinyfaery
You say you get along great but this:
My wife’s mother also said that she knows that the two of us hate to be apart, so if it was an issue, then they didn’t have to go.
puts pressure on your wife and is kind of passive agressive.
But don’t sweat it and just support the wife.

tinyfaery's avatar

@Dog I don’t know what you mean my “blood trip”.

@SeventhSense That’s my point. Why throw out that little tid bit if not for a dig?

Dog's avatar

@tinyfaery Blood trip- Mom and daughter.

tinyfaery's avatar

Mom and one daughter, my wife. 2…2…2 women in Alaska…Blahah Blahah

ru2bz46's avatar

I’ve been in a somewhat similar situation, and I let the person go with good wishes. Meanwhile, I sat at home and vexed out. You said they’ve done this kind of thing for most of her life, so I’m sure she’d want to complete the tour and hang with Mom one more time. I know it sucks to be left out, but it is a mother/daughter(s) tradition.

Suck it up and tell your wife that you really want her to go. I’m sure she’s feeling apprehension because she doesn’t want you to feel badly. One thing about missed opportunities…you never know what tomorrow will bring. Wouldn’t you feel bad if “the missus” stayed home, then Mom got sick next year and they’d never be able to go again?

By the way, lurves for the @dalepetrie comment. ;-)

SeventhSense's avatar

@tinyfaery
I could almost hear her innocent voice saying it

tinyfaery's avatar

@SeventhSense Right now, we are seeing eye to eye. :)

Lovey_Howell's avatar

Here’s what I see:
Mom misses going on trips with her daughters (a girls night out x 7—something special they used to do every year). But now her daughters have moved on from their lives at home and are moving away from their mom. Mom probably has a severe case of “empty nest”. Mom knows you are saving for a big trip and won’t have any vacation together this year, and might see this as an opportunity for herself. She wishes things were the way they used to be but at the same time she is happy for her daughters as well and doesn’t want to appear overly demanding. So, she proposes one (possibly last) trip together, but gives her daughter a way out. Tells her that she can use her marriage to you as a way to politely decline the trip.

Possibly, I’m giving mom too much benefit and she is a manipulative old witch who just wants to keep every ounce of control over her daughter and is using this opportunity to reassert herself in a position of power…

But, it appears to me by all that you’ve said, you don’t really seem to have much basis for not trusting your mother-in-law.

I say buck-up young man. Take this time to get back in touch with some friends you may have lost contact with over the years. Miss your wife, call her daily and be waiting for her naked in bed covered with rose petals when she comes home :)

Bobbilynn's avatar

Let her go with good feelings and have fun!
Then when she is gone try growing up!
(sorry if that is harsh but damn)

Likeradar's avatar

I would be annoyed, mostly out of jealousy. But I would work on letting it go. No matter what your relationship is with your MIL, you are not her daughter. There’s nothing wrong with a mother-daughter trip and excluding the spouses on occasion. You’re an adult, surely there’s something you can do to entertain yourself for a week without your wife.

tinyfaery's avatar

To clarify: I am a woman with a wife, 2 women, married, together. Now does that make a difference? Should I still buck up, pardn’r?

@Likeradar On occasion? Nuh huh. First and last time. We all go or no one goes. You cannot fathom my bond to my wife. We are not like other couples. (There will be a related question coming up about this soon.)

Lovey_Howell's avatar

lol , either way and pardon me for not knowing, I’m new here:

But no (just a “wo” to that “man”) Go out and have a good time, see friends don’t sit at home and mope. I don’t see any place where you’ve provided any reason why you should be concerned about your wife going away without you, in fact you pretty much encouraged it. Don’t get cold feet now. Take advantage of the situation and have some “me” time.

PS Waiting in bed covered in rose petals is still a great idea :P

Grisaille's avatar

Wait. I got lost for a second there.

Okay, why is your predicament so different than most couples? If you help us understand, maybe we can help you better.

Because, as it stands not to be rude, honest, we’re all wondering why a week away is such a big deal.

SeventhSense's avatar

Why does everyone insist on confusing gender with their avatar pictures? It’s kind of gender/non specific/hip to be AC/DC/ kind of thing but come on peeps…sometimes a cigar needs to be a cigar..and a bowl needs to be a bowl
@tinyfaery
And…does that figure into the equation? Has she been “avoiding” going on vacation for 8 years as a result of her daughter’s “relationship”?

Grisaille's avatar

…says the man with the chimp avatar

Grisaille's avatar

…or woman.

Likeradar's avatar

@tinyfaery Ok, got it. You have an incredible bond to your wife. Good for you guys. Her mother gave birth to her (unless she was adopted, of course)... that’s an incredible bond too.
Send her off with your blessings, and do things that will give you two something exciting to talk about when she comes home.

And this might sound horribly blunt, but since you asked how we would feel if we were you, knowing what you’ve told us… Quite honestly, I think I would start to question if I had enough outside interests.

SeventhSense's avatar

@Grisaille
Yes but like you said man, which is clear.

YARNLADY's avatar

You and I harely ever agree on anything, and this is no exception. My husband chose to go on a month long tour of Europe, in spite of the fact that I had absolutely zero interest in going. Did I sit home and feel sorry for myself? No, I was very happy for him, to take this opportunity to see Europe as he wanted to see it, and I rented a condo on the beach with my grandsons.

I see no value in being “joined at the hip” with my beloved. He can take whatever trips he feels are valuable to him, and if I wanted to go, I would. We have written a great travel book about his travels, and we have shared it with all our relatives. This sounds like some sort of power struggle between you and her mother, and there can be no winner.

Give it up, and be happy for her. You will win in the long run.

SeventhSense's avatar

@Grisaille
PLEEEEEEEEEEAAAAAAASSSSEEEEE
STOOOOOOOOOOOOPPPPPPPP
BEEEEEEEING POLITICALLY CORRECT!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
AGGGGGGHHHHHHHHHHHH!!!!!!!!!!!!!
is this just a knee jerk reaction by the left coast?

augustlan's avatar

My ex-husband and I used to struggle with this type of situation, so I know where you’re coming from. You want to be mature, and tell your wife “Go! Have fun!”, but at the same time you feel left out, you’ll miss her terribly, and maybe a little jealousy in there, too.

When I say we struggled with it, what I really mean is we struggled through it. We gritted our teeth, and kissed each other goodbye for a few days or a week – at least once a year for 17 years. We did it because we thought it would be good for both of us. And it was! We both felt energized by our time off and oh so happy to see each other when it was over.

FWIW, our trips away from each other were usually with friends, not family (though some were). I would try very hard not to be offended that you weren’t invited. A) MIL knows you’re not taking time off this year; B) It is a mom/daughter thing, not a whole family (ie: everybody but tiny) thing; and C) Based on the relationship you have with her, I wouldn’t suspect her of being malicious.

I think there’s a very good chance that this will be good for you in ways you can’t anticipate at the moment. And, hey, if it’s not… you can agree to never be apart for that length of time again.

PS: Definitely do the rose petals thing!

SeventhSense's avatar

@Grisaille
Yes that was the intent…but this gets so old.
Sex and gender are not controversial topics but often quite germane to a discussion. If one can not address that then therein lies the issue either because
(a.) it’s so sensitive or
(b.)one feels victimized.
But ignoring it or pretending that gender is non specific is not a solution and actually creates an issue where there is none.

tinyfaery's avatar

Woh. I didn’t expect this. My non-mom put me and my wife in weird situations, with her and eachother, just by mentioning it might be a problem for us to be apart.

I want her to go. I’m just irked about the way she went about it.

SeventhSense's avatar

@tinyfaery
Sounds like a typical Mother in Law relationship. You’ll never be her “real” daughter and it’s enough to just support your spouse anyway. Just play nice and be happy you don’t live with her.

Bobbydavid's avatar

I hope your wife has a great time. Somehow you need to deal with this! How did you survive pre wife? Sounds like you need this time to learn who you are again without being so obviously dependant on this woman! Both of you seemto need this one whole week apart. Bloody hell

Jeruba's avatar

@tinyfaery, I think you have a right to be perturbed. The courteous and considerate thing would have been for her to invite you both, knowing very well you could not accept. That would have given you the opportunity to decline graciously, thanking her for her kindness and saying that you of course did not want to stand in the way of your wife’s going with her mother for old time’s sake, even though you could not make it.

The way she handled it put you in the position of either (a) being the uninvited one and the one left behind (which is never very nice) or (b) being the bad guy and denying them the trip together. She could have handled it in such a way that you felt good about the part she left for you to play instead of feeling vaguely crapped on, yet expected to smile and be joyful all the same.

At least, I think this is what it would be about for me if I were in your place.

Now comes the hard part. I think she did not behave any too well, and maybe it is because she is too self-centered or too lacking in class, or maybe it is simply that she was blinded by her desire to have it turn out a certain way with her daughter and so she manipulated the situation to come out this way instead of trusting you and your wife to handle it with finesse. And if you had accepted instead of declining—a risk she ought to have taken—then she ought to have been every bit as gracious about it as she is expecting you to be now.

But she didn’t. So now it us up to you to behave like a grown-up and a person with class who also loves her daughter and wants her to have this special experience. If you can focus on that and not on how well the mother did or did not behave toward you, I think you will have done a big-hearted thing for each of the three of you, and I think your loving wife will know it.

tinyfaery's avatar

I am not trying to win anything.
I am not judging motives, too much. I am concerned that my non mom threw that little rid bit in their as a tactic so that she might get her way. Non mom is very manipulative.

Flights are booked. Lodging comes next, and in 3 weeks they’ll be gone. But I’ll always wonder why my non mom had to bring me into it.

tinyfaery's avatar

Thank you @Jeruba You validated my feelings and gave me something I can be pro active about. Much lurve.

augustlan's avatar

Tiny, is it at all possible that she truly had your (you and her daughter) best interests at heart and was actually sincere when she said she “knows that the two of us hate to be apart…”? Obviously, not knowing her, I can’t be sure about her motives but I wouldn’t necessarily conclude she did that to make you the bad guy. She may have truly meant that she’d understand if her daughter decided she’d rather stay home with you.

Just something to consider.

Jeruba's avatar

Oh, I didn’t mean she did it to make TF the bad guy. That wasn’t about motives but about effects. I think it was unintentional. Thoughtless, actually.

SeventhSense's avatar

^You mean bad girl^ which is clear from this entire conversation. Any man would be thrilled to be away from his wife and mother in law for a week.

Judi's avatar

I haven’t read the other posts yet , but I will give you my opinion.
When my husband and I first got married, I encouraged him to visit with his father and step mother without me every so often. I had observed that the whole dynamic in a family changes when you add a person into the mix. It’s not better or worse, just different. (I wish my step MIL would have gotten the idea, but that’s another story.) The bottom line is, parents usually don’t out live us and I feel we should make the most of the time we have with them.
My husbands father died a few years ago and he really appreciated those (almost) alone times with him. (He is pretty needy of my time probably like you are of your wife’s time.) He now encourages me to visit with my mom alone several times a year because he knows that even in dysfunctional families (and most have some level of dysfunction) one on one bonding time is never wasted.

PandoraBoxx's avatar

@tinyfaery, it’s really quite touching that you can’t stand to be away from your wife that long. But you really answered your own question—the trip to Alaska completes a tradition of mother-daughter travel that your wife and her mother have. As a mom, I really treasure the time that I have alone with my daughters now that they are adults. There is something special about getting to be “the mom” again. As much as I love the SOs, the time alone is a very special gift. Letting them go off and enjoy themselves without being jealous is a far better act of love than making your wife feel bad about going without you.

Aethelwine's avatar

I am concerned that my non mom threw that little rid bit in their as a tactic so that she might get her way. Non mom is very manipulative.

It sounds like mom is just thinking of herself. She wants one more trip with her daughter and found the opportunity to do it since you and your wife could not vacation this year. I wouldn’t take what she said personal. If I were non mom, I would have included the spouse, but that’s just me.

If I were you I would be upset also, but this gives you an opportunity to show your non mom and wife how much you truly care for wifey. When they return, wife’s mom will have more respect for you and wife will be so happy to see you that she won’t be able to keep her hands off of you. win-win

marinelife's avatar

I went on trips with my mom without my husband quite a bit. While your feelings are understandable (I have been on that side of things too when some family members went on a trip without me), remind yourself of these things:

1. This not about you or about your relationship.

2. Family of origin bonds never quite flex enough to fully allow in in-laws.

3. Yes, you will miss your wife, but a week is not that long of a time. Plan the delicious joys of the reunion. Make it special.

4. Think of things you like to do that your wife does not, and indulge in them during the week. Even though you are working, create a mini-vacation environment for yourself so you don’t feel left out.

5. Remember that your wife chose you and loves you. Her Mom is someone she was stuck with.

janbb's avatar

Here’s my two cents as a mother of an adult married son and a person who used to have trouble when her spouse went away. It’s very precious to have time alone with your adult children and while there may have been a dig in her saying her daughter could pass because the two of you were so close, she may have just wanted to give her out (and save some face herself.) It doesn’t seem unreasonable for her to want to finish a tradition they had going for many years. Although I would probably not invite my son to go on a trip without his wife, I might be happy if such an occasion came up.

Now, part two. Given that you have an incredible bond, it can surely survive a week apart. How did you manage before you got married? Yes, you depend on her a lot; now is the time to spend some time alone and relearn some independent abilities. I used to dread it when my husband went off alone, now I relish the time; eating what I want, watching DVDs that I want to watch, going to bed at 8:30 if I want. (I’m such a party animal! :-) Plan some treats for yourself and the time will go fast. Also, you will grow. I recently travelled to Paris and stayed in a hotel alone to see my grandson, wouldn’t have been able to do it years ago.

Hope this helps. The less conflicted you are, the easier what may be a difficult trip will be for your wife.

And I don’t see gender as any part of the issue here.

syz's avatar

From the point of view of devil’s advocate:

Is there any possibility that your wife’s mother is trying to mend a rift that may have occurred between the two of them? Or perhaps regain some sort of closer relationship that has slipped away, trying to recapture a younger age when they attempted the 50 states? Or perhaps she has a serious health issue and she’s looking for the perfect time and place to tell her?

ubersiren's avatar

I can’t relate to this at all. If my husband wanted to go on a trip with his fam for a week, I’d have no problem at all sending him away with my blessing, even if I wasn’t invited. If it was family tradition, then it wouldn’t even cross my mind to be upset. Sure, I’d miss him like crazy, but if it was a rare opportunity, I’d want him to take it.

It’s a once in a lifetime opportunity to realize a dream with her mother – visiting all 50 states. Her mom isn’t going to be around forever. If she’s an adult capable of making her own decisions, then it’s up to her. If she really doesn’t want to go she should speak up. As long as you support your wife in whatever decision she makes, all will be well. And the welcome home party can be way fun. ;)

PandoraBoxx's avatar

Another thought, is your MIL single or married to someone that will not travel with her? My husband and I are estranged, and if I go on vacation, I must go on my own or with one of my children. If I were to travel with my daughter, we could share a room. If we were to take a SO, I would be paying for two hotel rooms. If I had to do that, I would not be able to afford to take the trip.

If MILs been traveling with sis for the last 8 years, then it would be the good SIL thing to do to lend her your wife as a traveling companion for this year’s trip. Let’s face it, a vacation with her mother is not going to be as much fun as vacation with you. You will make your MIL happy. It will not be something you will regret later.

Never, ever, ever pass up an opportunity to make any of the women in your life happy.

Supacase's avatar

MIL didn’t go about it in a very sensitive way. To an outsider it sounds like she at least tried; however, I know I tend to think the worst when my MIL suggests something because she is passive-aggressive and I always think she has a motive.

I would say your wife should go. It is one trip and they haven’t been in 8 years after having gone virtually every year of your wife’s life. It will probably never happen again. Accept it and don’t waste time dwelling on it or bring yourself down by holding onto the anger and irritation. Just deal with it for what it is and look forward to celebrating her return.

A week apart when you are so close is incredibly difficult. I dealt with that with my husband, but it was for work so there was no option. He had to go. Would you feel the same way if your wife was going to be gone for a week due to work?

filmfann's avatar

I am glad your wife is doing this, and that you are kind enough to urge her to go. Her not going would be a hurtful point for years, and she will always remember the trips with her mom.

drClaw's avatar

7 days of bachelor-dom will be good for you. I smell a trip to the strip club, maybe a cigar or six, watch a few fights, maybe even call Vegas and throw down a little cash on the underdog, but what ever you do, don’t waste your alone time sitting on the couch counting the minutes until your wife comes home.

filmfann's avatar

@drClaw My wife recently went to Oregon for 10 days, and I don’t remember going to any strip clubs, having any cigars, watching any fights, or doing anything related to Vegas. I also didn’t count the minutes on the couch.
It was a nice, quiet time at home, and it was nice having my wife back when her vacation was over.
Not everything is a television show.

ubersiren's avatar

Also, she’s a woman.

drClaw's avatar

@filmfann good for you, I was joking.

Darwin's avatar

@tinyfaery – As someone else said, perhaps the mom has some issue she needs to share with your wife, or perhaps she just wants to finish out the 50 states. In any case, make sure your wife has her cell phone, plenty of paper, envelopes and stamps, and a camera so she can tell you all about it.

Then consider doing something that for one reason or another you never get to do when she is home, such as watching movies you know she doesn’t enjoy, cooking food you like but she doesn’t, and maybe rearranging or redecorating a room.

Since you can’t go anyway, what difference does it make? Your MIL did offer you both an out (she knows you hate to be apart) but this is her daughter and she may really want to bond with her one last time. In any case, your wife chose to go and trusts you to understand her own dilemma.

I say wish the two of them well, and hope your wife has a good time. If you are lucky she will bring you a nice souvenir. And then there is reunion sex, which can be a good thing.

filmfann's avatar

@drClaw Sorry, didn’t get that.

tinyfaery's avatar

I actually pushed my wife to go. She initially didn’t want to. It’s not just me, but being alone with her mom; they are very different.

I have considered all of your suggestions, but I have to say @Jeruba has explained my position well. If it were me, I would have asked both of us and waited for the decline. (She knew she’d get one.) That way no one would have had to feel guilty or left out. At this point my wife keeps asking me if I’m really ok with her going. I think this is affecting her worse than me.

Jeruba's avatar

@tinyfaery, are you feeling better able to handle this now and assure your sweetie that it’s really okay? She may keep asking because she detects some dissonance between your words and your manner. She’ll feel better if you can really, sincerely tell her that you’re fine with it, and just quietly let old “mom” be the one who could have behaved better. After all, you have no reason to feel threatened, even if mom thinks she has.

@SeventhSense, no, I didn’t. TF has written about her relationship numerous times before, so this wasn’t news. I’m confident that she understood what I meant by using the expression “bad guy.” “Bad girl” has a different connotation altogether.

Glow's avatar

Im not sure if this has been brought up yet, but why cant YOU go too?

Bri_L's avatar

It’s done.

It wont be easy for you. You have already shown heart in thinking through it like this. Maybe it would help you to focus on being supportive for your wife, who you stated hates being apart from you as well.

Also, you could choose a week long project that you could finish that would surprise her. Something she has wanted done. That would sort of keep you busy and connect you to her mentally as well as give you something to look forward to when she comes home.

Hang in there bud.

Oh, and Fluther like you can’t FLUTHER enough!

Blondesjon's avatar

If you just want to know why this vexes you , it’s because you are you and this is not behavior that you would normally tolerate.

PandoraBoxx's avatar

So does this mean you’re taking your MIL to Europe next year?

jca's avatar

your feelings are justified and you’re entitled to them, even if they are confusing to you (your feelings, that is).

try to enjoy your time by yourself, or use it to meet up with friends you don’t see too often. the time will go faster than you expect and before you know it she’ll be home.

Clair's avatar

@Grisaille I am your total bitch from this day forward. Best ever. No shit.

Grisaille's avatar

I has a bitch?

Clair's avatar

me! me!
jumps up and down

Supacase's avatar

I have thought about this a little more and think maybe a different perspective might help. You are smack dab in the middle of this right now, but will it matter in a year, 5 years, 10 years? When your MIL is on her deathbed, will this trip to Alaska be something she and your wife would have regretted never having the chance to do? I know this isn’t easy, but I think you are doing the right thing.

poofandmook's avatar

@tinyfaery: You mentioned that your non-mom is manipulative… would you also consider her tactful? If not, maybe she just couldn’t put together the right string of words to convey what she was thinking when she offered your wife the out?

If she is tactful, then I would say it’s really no different from any other passive-aggressive behavior between in-laws and the spouses of their children, suck as it may.

tinyfaery's avatar

Hey poof! Thanx for answering.

Jeruba's avatar

@poofandmook! Welcome back! Haven’t you been away for a long while?

poofandmook's avatar

@Jeruba: Thanks… yeah I was. Didn’t really like the atmosphere around here… but I gave it a rest and I’m testing the waters again :)

augustlan's avatar

@poofandmook I’m glad you’re back. :D

Dog's avatar

@poofandmook You are back! :)

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