Month: April 2009

New Look

Just a quick post to get your thoughts on the new layout. Like? Hate? Like the other one better? Let me know. I’m basing what I keep off your comments so please let know.

How-To: Twitter

twit21So you’ve heard all about this Twitter thing right? What is it? Why use it? How does it work? Well I’m here to give you a brief, but informative how-to for getting an account setup and how to get started using Twitter. Remember that this is just a basic introduction to Twitter and there is a lot more you can do as far as how you can send updates from your cell, how to post pictures in your updates, etc. This how-to guide is just to get you started on your journey into the world of Twitter. Click the images for a full size version of the screen shot.

Creating An Account

Step 1

Head on over to http://www.twitter.com. Once there click the big green button that says “Get Started—-Join!

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Step 2

Fill out the form with the information it’s requesting (Full name, Username (this is whatever you want to show after the www.twitter.com/ when people find you), Password, and Email. You’ll have to type in two randomly generated works and click the green Create my account button.

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Step 3

You’ll be asked to see if any of your friends are already on Twitter by logging into your email accounts. Currently the accounts supported are Gmail, Yahoo, AOL, Hotmail, and MSN. If you don’t want to do this you can click Skip this step at the bottom of the page. If you do not wish to do this step skip down to Step 4. If you choose to find contacts via email just click the service you want to use and it will have you login with your email username and password. Don’t worry though. Twitter doesn’t save this information. Once you log in to your email account click the green Continue button. If any of the people in your address book on your email service have Twitter you’ll be able to select them and start to “follow” them on Twitter.

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Step 4

If you’ve clicked Skip this step when adding contacts from your email address book you’ll be taken to a page listing popular Twitter users. You can follow these people or click Skip this step. If you want to follow them choose the ones you like and click the green Finish button. If you don’t want to follow any of the suggested people click the Skip this step link. If you choose to Skip this step go to Step 5.

Step 5

That’s it. Now keep reading below for a brief introduction to using Twitter.

So How Do I Use This Thing?

Updating Your Status

So now that you’ve made yourself a twitter account how do you use it right? Simple. When you first login you’ll be taken to you Home screen. At the top you’ll see a box that says “What are you doing?” This is where you type in whatever you want your followers to see. You have a 140 character limit so you’ll have to keep the updates or Tweets simple, but that’s the point of Twitter. It’s a tool to allow you to give short little “Tweets” to let your followers know what you’re up to. Once you’ve typed out an update just click the update button and it will post your new update.

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Finding People To Follow

That’s all there is to writing Tweets but how do you follow people? At the top you’ll see a bar that has links. One of those links says “Find People.” When you click that link you’ll be taken to a page with some tabs at the top. Those tabs say Find on Twitter, Find on other networks, Invite by email, and Suggested Users. The first tab is used if you know what username or First or Last name someone has used to sign up with Twitter. The second tab is used to find via your email address book like discussed in Step 3. The Invite by Email tab is where you enter in the email addresses of friends of your and Twitter will send them an email to join on your behalf. The Suggested Users tab is a list of random people on twitter that you can follow. I’m not sure how it bases it’s choices but it’s most likely the most popular users on Twitter.

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Changing Your Settings

And that’s all there is to it. You now know how to post updates or “Tweets” and how to add new people. Once someone is following you you can Direct Message them via the link on the right sidebar. You can also change your account settings via the Settings link on the menu bar at the top. If you want to change the picture that’s next to your name on your page click the Picture tab in the Settings window. You can also change the page’s background and color schemes from the Design tab on the Settings page as well. There are some predefined themes or you can upload your own picture to use as your background as well.

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Conclusion

If you have any questions after signing up feel free to follow me @HaroldMartin and send me a direct message. Or you can type @Haroldmartin – and then your message as an update on your Twitter page to reach me as well. Hopefully this has helped you figure out how to sign up and use Twitter. These are just the basic instructions and there are a lot more things you can do with Twitter once you start exploring around. Enjoy.

Confessions of the Safe Guy: Part 3

loveIn Part 1 and Part 2 you got to find out about my past failed relationships and get my back story. In Part 3 I’m going to try and semi-analyze my past relationships and what went wrong, what could have been done differently, what was the constant. My hopes are that this will somehow help someone out there that may have or is going through similar situations that I’ve gone through in the past.

Let’s start with Terri. Wow. That was a train on a collision course with the side of a big mountain from the get go. To start she lived in Montana. I lived in Illinois. Why the hell was I looking for a girlfriend so far away. Well I wasn’t LOOKING for one that far away it just happened. My second mistake was letting her stay with me for so long. Being around her so much so fast was a mistake. We got on each others nerves fast and grew to despise each other. I loathed anytime I could get away from her towards the end.

Next there was Mary. Mary and I messed up the minute we crossed the friendship territory into relationship girlfriend/boyfriend territory. Now I’m not saying you can’t ever date your best friend. On the contrary. I say that your girlfriend, france, wife, etc. should be your best friend in your life. But the thing is when you cross over from friends to girlfriend/boyfriend you risk losing that friend if the relationship doesn’t work out. Tha’ts what happened with Mary and me. After we split we stopped speaking to each other.

After Mary I decided to date Jessie. What was wrong there? Well she was the an ex-girlfriend’s best friend. Biggest mistake you can ever make is dating the best friend of an ex. There’s just no logical reasoning to confirm doing this. Of course I didn’t see that. Why would I? I’d been on a roll of bad relationships so far so making a sound decision was a moot point for me by this time. See one thing I failed to mention is that when Jessie called me to tell me she was sorry about the split between Mary and me she said the words “whatever you need Harold just ask me” and that was a mistake. That turned into sex and then dating. Hey come on now. She said “anything” and I clarified that sex fell into the anything category so don’t be giving me the stink eye sitting there reading this. I was following the rules….I think. So yeah Jessie and I were doomed from the get go. Sex THEN dating. Doesn’t usually work out when its that way. Plus she had a kid with a total psycho (just never to me) that couldn’t seem to let her go. I should have run away but I was stupid and hell I won’t lie the sex was good. I didn’t want to give it up that easily. Ultimately it was what I knew would happen all along that ended things. Her going back to her ex. But I was just stupid and hoped it wouldn’t happen.

I moved to Iowa and took time off from “dating” anyone seriously. I had girls that I hung out with and other “stuff” but nothing serious that I’d call a girlfriend. That was fun for a while but I started to miss having someone steady around. I don’t remember how Mary and I got in touch after I moved to Iowa but we did and as you know started dating again. It too was doomed from the get go. I still held a buried resentment for her leaving me for another guy, but as usual I was stupid and ignored my gut feelings. I mean I asked her to marry me. DUH! And as my gut had told me things went back to the way they were towards the end of our first relationship with her constantly complaining and blaming everything on me. That’s why I ended it.

After Mary 2.0 I took yet another break and then I met Cathy. She was great. Sweet. Caring. Nice. I thought this was it. I found someone who is perfect for me. Yeah she had a kid but her daughter liked me. We all got along. Well except for her neurotic and mentally disturbed cat HAHA! But the whole psycho ex thing popped it’s head up and this time it was directed towards me. Now I think I can proudly say I wasn’t stupid this time and I knew when to get out. I wasn’t going to risk injury to myself with this guy. Wasn’t worth the possible risk.

So that moves us my most recent relationship that failed. Angie. Wow. Where do I begin. Well as with Jessie we started off with the sex and THEN dating. But unlike Jessie she wasn’t the best friend of an ex so my brain said it was ok and not to worry. I’ll be honest, and she knows this herself, I never intended to have more with her than a sexual relationship when I came over to meet her the very first time. Don’t ask me how but it just felt comfortable and I stayed the night and then the next night and so on. I just felt close to her. I’d never done this with any of the other girls I’d “hung out” with in the past that I wasn’t dating. It was a new thing for me, but it felt right. This was my mistake and trust me I’ve learned from it. I don’t regret anything I’ve ever done in my life though and this relationship I don’t regret. We shouldn’t have gotten married though that’s for sure. And I should have ended the marriage back in February 2008 when I was sitting in the car in the driveway with a bag packed, but like I fool I let her crying and pleading to stay draw me back in. I know her “true” reason now for wanting me to stay at that time. She’ll never admit it, but I’m not a fool and I know why.love4

So after realizing what all I’ve done wrong in everyone of my failed relationships I have to ask the question “What is the constant in every failed relationship?” Well to answer that I refer to something a fellow blogger told me. He told me that I was the constant. In every single failed relationship the one common denominator is ME. Now what does that mean? It means I was causing these relationships to fail. That’s not saying I was doing anything wrong, at least not on purpose. What it means is I kept getting too close too fast or giving too much of myself too much and too fast. WHen that happens you open yourself up for a broken heart or getting used and/or trampled on. That’s happened to me every time. I’ve gotten my heart broken more than once. I’ve gotten used and trampled on almost every time as well. Now I won’t get all psychological on ya, but I think a another reason that I’ve had so many problems with relationships was due to my mother leaving when I was only 9 years old. Now she didn’t just up and disappear. Her and my dad got divorced and she decided the best thing was for me to stay with my dad as she had no idea where she’d be living, etc. He had a steady job, a place to live, etc. I can’t say I wouldn’t do the same thing if I were in her shoes. She now regrets that decision though and thinks that her leaving had a lot to do with me always needing someone around that was a female. Granted I had a step-mom (who is a GREAT GREAT woman) around most of my life after my mom left, but sub-consciously I think I am always looking for that “motherly” aspect in women. Someone to take care of me and treat me good and love me unconditionally. Hopefully all of this makes sense. It does to me so I guess that’s what matters most right? It’s no different than when a girl has what they call “daddy complex” where she’s dating or sleeping with lots of different guys. She’s trying to fill a void her mind had created when her dad left her life.

So there you go. This ends the Confessions of the Safe Guy series. Hopefully it has helped you get a better look at my life on a personal level. I originally started this series in the hopes of writing it to help others but it just turned out differently. I still feel that it can help some guys and even girls possibly realize what NOT to do at least when it comes to a relationship. Let me just end by saying don’t give your all in a relationship and not get anything in return. It MUST be an equal partnership for it to work and you both need to know each other. Know each others dislikes, similarities, etc. It’s good and perfectly fine to have stuff in common, but also have things that you differ on. It’s actually not good, at least in my opinion, to have everything in common. Especially if you are both stubborn and hard headed. Just ask my ex-wife about that one.

Abortion: Right or Wrong

abortionSo I’m on this roll of talking about topics that spark controversy and get people talking. I figured why not keep on that with the topic of abortion. This one topic I’m pretty strong about in regards to where I stand and as much as I’ve been pushed to change my beliefs I’ve stood firm.

I’m not for abortion….somewhat. I don’t think that it’s right that that a woman can just decide that she doesn’t want the baby and have it aborted. To me this is just an easy way for a woman who wasn’t being careful to get rid of what she deems as a “mistake” and not have to worry about it anymore. Now I know there are some of you that are saying “but Harold what if she was safe and they used protection etc?” I’d reply by saying that it’s still wrong. So you were safe right? You used birth control and condoms and you still got pregnant. I still find no validity in killing that child. Give it up for adoption then if you don’t want to keep it. But why end the life of an unborn child just because you don’t want to deal with the pregnancy? I know that some people out there don’t believe a fetus is a living thing until so many weeks right? Sorry I’m with the belief that life begins at conception. As soon as the sperm and the egg combine you have started the formation of a living thing. Period.

I just don’t think it’s right a young girl can go have an abortion without her parent’s consent. That just opens to doors for any young underage girl to get pregnant and be like “oh I’ll just get an abortion” when she gets pregnant because she was young and immature and irresponsible. If abortion is going to stay legal, which we all know it will, then I feel that if the woman is under 18 she must have parental consent to have the abortion. Another thing I hate is how the man involved is completely taken out of the picture. Why is it that when woman has a baby the man is hunted down for child support and the argument of “it takes two to make a baby” is thrown around. But when it comes to abortion the man has no say in what the woman does even though “it took two to make the baby she wants to now abort” right? That just doesn’t seem right. Why shouldn’t the man have any say whatsoever in this decision. Yeah I’ve heard the argument “it’s my body and no one but me is going to decide what to do with it” and that’s fine if the subject that was being discussed took two people to create.

Now if you recall I said I wasn’t for abortion….somewhat right? How can that be you ask or what do you mean? Here is what I mean when I say somewhat. I am 100% against abortion in regards to what I mentioned above. Period. What I don’t have a problem with if a woman has been raped or in cases of incest. In those cases, especially incest, I feel that aborting the pregnancy is the best way. I am somewhat on the fence when it comes to abortion when the child is going to be born with a major disability or medical issue. I’m still not sure where I stand on that one yet. As far as rape I just don’t think it’s fair to force a woman to bring a child into this world that was the product of such a violent and horrible crime. Why put the child through that. He’ll never know his real father either. So those are my two instances where I feel abortion is a viable option.

untitledNow I’ve also heard the argument of “how can you be for the death penalty but against abortion?” Two different things. At least to me. To me you’re comparing apples to oranges. The death penalty is there to make someone pay for committing a crime. They’ve been born, had a chance at life, ruined it, and now must pay for their crime. Abortion is nowhere near the same. This living being never has a chance to live and make those choices of what path to go down. You’re never giving it that chance to live. So yeah apples to oranges.

Exit Signs

exit_signOk so you ever walk around your office and think of random stuff? Well I do and last week I was walking down the hall in my office building and just happened to notice the Exit Sign flickering as if the bulb was going out. It got me to thinking just how energy efficient these signs are that were put in years and years ago and have not been changed or upgraded since. I’ve seen the one signs that are just a clear piece of material that appears to be lighted up from a light source above where it goes into the ceiling. I”m assuming those are more energy efficient than the old style ones. Of course the geek in me got curious so I did some research and I was right. Those single faced EXIT SIGNS do have an integral light source and are all up to ENERGY STAR specs.  I guess this was a requirement that started back in January of 2006 and any signs made after January 1, 2006 must meet these specifications.

So now you’re sitting there wondering why on earth would I write about exit signs? Well it came into my head after a conversation with someone on being more “green” and saving energy back on Earth Day last week. That of course came up while discussing President Obama’s visit to Newton, IA last week to tour the wind energy manufacturing plan, Trinity, on Earth Day to talk about his ideas for conserving energy. So I guess it just sparked this idea and I felt compelled to write about it. So now you know if your company is using old and outdated stuff or not. Of course there’s probably not much of a chance to get it updated by you saying something but you never know. But at least you can try right? Going green isn’t easy though. It takes time and patience and does sometimes cost more money at first but eventually you start to see the savings.

Medical Marijuana

medical-marijuanadesignMarijuana. Pot. Dope. Weed. We all know what it is. A big majority of us have even tried it or done it for a while. I did in college. I’m not going to sit up here and lie about it. I was a pot head in college. Wake and baker. But I grew out of that phase. I’m pushing 30 years old now and I have no desire to smoke it anymore. But back then it was a big part of my life. Now this isn’t going to be a big post of me preaching to you all. Rather it’s about medicinal uses of marijuana. When I was in high school I witnessed first hand the power marijuana had for a medicinal purpose.

I was volunteering in a nursing home back in high school (I wanna say it was my sophmore year). I helped with pretty much everything there but I loved the one job that allowed me some quality time with the residents. Smoking time. I would take this one guy, who we’ll call George since I don’t remember his actual name, to the smoking room to have his cigarette breaks. He smoked the little Swisher Sweets cigarettes. It was one of the highlights of his day. We’d play cards or checkers, etc. It was a fund time and made me not hate the job so much. George was blind which made it interesting playing checkers and cards (I always won figure that.) One day he tells me to go in his drawer that he kept his smokes in. He then says “You’ll see a baggie with some joints in it. Grab one of them for me.” I was caught off guard to say the least. I’m 15 and never had seen weed before, but I knew it was illegal though so I asked him how and why he had it. He tells me that his son brings it in occasionally so that he, George, can smoke it and feel better.

Curious I asked him how it made him feel beter because mind you all I’d ever seen about pot was the D.A.R.E. drug program videos on it back in elementary school. He tells me that it lets him see for a few minutes everytime he smokes he. See George was blind because of cataracts. It was a way for him to get his sight back even if it was just a little bit of it for a short period of time. I’d wheel George in his wheelchair over to the sliding glass door on his room that went outside to a little patio/garden area to smoke his joint. I knew it worked because he’d tell me what I was wearing, etc. He could see me. It was mind blowing that this drug that everyone had said was so horrible could provide such a short but joyous moment for this old man. He told me he usually smoked it only when his grandkids were coming to see him so that he could see their little faces.

So do I support medicinal use of marijuana? Yes I do. I do think there should be limits though. I’m also FOR for the legalization of mariuana. There is plenty of research out there to show what exactly marijuana can help with as far as medicinal. Below is a map of the states in the US which currently have effective laws for medical marijuana usage.

So what are your thoughts on this subject? Do you support medical use of marijuana? Do you support legalization of marijuana overall? Post your comments and let me know.

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Gay Marriage: Part 3

bartzSee the guy on the left? His name is Senator Merlin Bartz. He is on a statewide push for county recorders in Iowa to refuse to issue marriage licenses to same-sex couples. Gay couples are allowed to start applying  for them Monday, April 27th.

Along with the Iowa Family Policy Center, Senator Bartz has a petition (see it here) posted on his website along with steps to take to encourage county recorders to resist the court’s ruling starting Monday. The thing is the Iowa Attorney General’s office has told county recorders that they do not have the ability to refuse marriage licenses to same-sex applicants. The Iowa Department of Public Health issued a statement this week that said that the recorders to not have the “discretion or power to ignore the Supreme Court ruling” and that if they did “failure to comply could lead a recorder to be removed from office immediately.”

Bartz was quoted in the Quad Cities Times Wednesday as calling the Attorney General’s statement a “veiled threat” and questioned why the AG is taking such a strong stand on this issue but has been relaxed on the enforcement of other state laws such as immigration, smoke-free workplaces, etc.

A complaint has been filed with the Senate Ethics Committee by Representative Ed Fallon this week in regards to Bartz’s and his mission to get county recorders to ignore the law.

So do all of us Iowans a favor and email, call, write, etc. Senator Bartz and tell him how you feel about what he is doing. Here is his contact info.

Senate District 6
2081 410th St.
Grafton, IA 50440
Phone: 641-748-2724
Email: merlin.bartz@legis.state.ia.us

And if you’re in Iowa please do not sign this petition. It’s no different than signing a petition that you are against blacks and whites getting married. Think about it.

Gay Marriage: Part 2

So I was doing some research last night on same-sex marriage and was trying to find out just how far behind we are in the United States compared to the rest of the world. You’ll find some maps below, from Wikipedia, showing gay marriage in the United States, Europe, and the whole world.  While we may not be far behind some countries look how far behind we are compared to Europe, one of our closest allies. And take a look at Canada on the World map. Same-sex marriage is now recognized in the ENTIRE country. Wow. Way to go you crazy Canucks. Least there’s one thing you all have done that I can applaud you for! I’m working on trying to get a guest post on here soon so keep an eye out for that.

United States

Source: Wikipedia
Source: Wikipedia

?? Same-sex marriages

?? Unions granting rights similar to marriage

?? Unions granting limited/enumerated rights

?? Foreign same-sex marriages recognized

?? No specific prohibition or recognition of same-sex marriages or unions

?? Statute bans same-sex marriage

?? Constitution bans same-sex marriage

?? Constitution bans same-sex marriage and other kinds of same-sex unions

Europe

Source: Wikipedia

Source: Wikipedia

?? Same sex marriage recognized

?? Civil unions recognized

?? Unregistered cohabitation recognized

?? Issue under political consideration

?? Unrecognized or unknown

?? Same sex marriage banned

World

Source: Wikipedia

Source: Wikipedia

?? No information

Homosexuality legal
?? Same-sex marriage recognized
?? Other type of partnership (or unregistered cohabitation) recognized
?? Foreign same-sex marriages recognized
?? No recognition of same-sex couples

Homosexuality illegal

?? Minimal penalty

?? Large penalty

?? Life in prison

?? Death penalty

Gay Marriage

So I’m going to try and jump on a topic that isn’t going to end up sitting well with some people in my life. That’s the topic of gay marriage. Recently the Iowa Supreme Court ruled that same-sex couples had a right to get married and upheld a county judge’s ruling in September 2007 that overturned the state’s ban on same-sex marriage. Starting this Monday, April 27, 2009 they can start applying for marriage licenses. The only thing left is for the Iowa Constitution to be re-written to say this, but it’s happening. And of all places it’s happening in Iowa, a middle-America, farming state. It’s kind of funny that it can get approved here in Iowa but not in a state like California. One of the most liberal states in the entire United States.

When I heard the news of this I immediately texted a gay couple that I am dear close friends with. They both were ecstatic. They are two of the nicest women you’ll ever meet and I love them to death. They were there for me when I was really low at the beginning of my divorce and have been a rod and a shoulder to lean on cakeall the way through it. They were the first ones I texted when the divorce was final. I’m so happy that they’ll finally get the chance to get married. Why shouldn’t they be able to? Why shouldn’t they be allowed to have the same rights I had when I was married to my ex-wife?

Now starts the part that is gonna get me some emails or comments, etc. that aren’t going to be pretty.

See I was raised a Baptist Christian. I believe in God, Heaven, Hell, that you must be saved and ask Jesus into your heart to go to Heaven, etc. I was also raised that gay people are sinners and will burn in hell unless they repent and change their ways. Well you know what? I’ve grown up. I’m almost 30 years old. I’ve seen the world and realized that not everything I was taught is necessarily true. See I was raised that being gay is a choice. I used to believe that 100%. Not anymore. I’m sorry but it’s not a choice. Did you CHOOSE to be straight? As a male did you CHOOSE to find women attractive? As a female did you CHOOSE to find men attractive? No. You were BORN that way. Plain and simple. Now if that’s easy to grasp and understand then why can’t a gay man or woman be BORN that way? Why must it be a CHOICE for them? It’s not a choice people. It’s something they have no control over. Now I do think SOME (small percentage) of gay men and women choose to be that way after multiple failed heterosexual relationships, but a big majority of those end up realizing it’s not them or what they like and go back to being straight. I’ve personally seen that happen more than once in my life with friend of mine both male and female. Seeing that firsthand just strengthened my belief that being homosexual is not a choice.

I’m proud to be an Iowan. I’m proud to be part of a state that isn’t close minded and that knows that everyone deserves the same rights. It’s no different than when blacks were denied the same rights as white people. So why is this issue so hard to get over and accept? Black and White. Gay and Straight. The point is whether your heterosexual or homosexual there is one simple common factor that binds us all together. We are all human beings and deserve the same rights. Period.

Confessions of the Safe Guy: Part 2

broken_heart-1823So at this point you’re probably saying to yourself “This guy SUCKS at relationships” and you are right. I did. I was always settling, something you shouldn’t do. I always thought I’d never get anything better so take what I got and thank God you have someone period.

After my second go round with Mary I was single for a while (the longest time in my life to be honest). I met the next girlfriend that we’ll call “Cathy” sometime in 2003. She was great. She was sweet, caring, pretty. I was happy. Like almost all the past girlfriends she had a kid. But this time I got to experience a first. The classic “psycho ex” scenario. She was legally separated when I met her and just was waiting for the divorce to be finalized. I had no problem with that. She wasn’t “married’ technically. Things were fine at first. Then suddenly her daughter started to turn on me and was very hateful to me out of nowhere. She’d always been sweet and loving to me up until this point. We found out her dad had told her one time when he had her for the weekend that I was an evil man and that I was going to kill mommy and grandpa and grandma and kidnap her and take her away forever. Yep. Great guy right? So she tells him that my car was parked in front of the neighbors house (I never parked in her driveway if he drove by, which is something he did a lot). So then I started to park in her garage and that was fine for a while until her little girl tells her dad that if mommy’s car was in the driveway that meant I was over. So after all of this I had to stop coming to visit Cathy. Her ex-husband told her if he ever saw me he was going to kill me, chop me up into little pieces, and drop the pieces in the river. Such a sweet guy right? He fit the psycho label perfectly.

Needless to say things started to get sour between Cathy and I over the stress of her ex and we split. I think it was a mutual split too because we both knew as much as we cared about each other it wasn’t going to work right then. Last I heard she living in Illinois, with another kid, married to, get this….her ex-husband’s cousin! Yeah I was thinking the same thing!

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