Kiss5Tigers

The 5 Tigers represent the big things in life. This blog is about facing them.


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So He Said . . .

Very short post.

We were talking about the book American Gods. He was astounded I had read it.

“I’m gonna say something,” he said seriously, “and it’s big. You’d better a hold of something.”

Well he’s a bit of a smartass, so I thought, yeah right. “I’m sitting down,” I replied. Which I was, sitting on the porch.

“Okay, here it is: I’m in love with you.”

Just like that, he took my breath away. I was suddenly glad I was sitting. I knew what I should say, but I wasn’t ready yet. I just kind of sat there in stunned silence.

“Wow,” I said. “That was unexpected.”

“I know you have to digest it for a while,” he said. “Words are very important to you. When you say it, I know you’ll mean it.”

Thing is, I knew it for a while now. Because we spent so much time saying every word but “love”. So I knew that he was aware of how I felt.

We talked for a few more minutes. Then we were getting off the phone.

“I love you,” he said again.

“I love you, too,” I said nervously.

I’ve said those words before, and it ended disastrously. I’m a little afraid of them. But this is different, as I later explained to him, by orders of magnitude. This feels predestined in so many ways.

I wanted him to know I actually meant it, not just saying I love him because he said it. I wanted him to feel special too. So I texted it to him.

He said it first, but I texted it first. And he made it Facebook official.

I feel like there’s a lot to live up to now, but I’m also very freed. It’s interesting. I am his, and yet it frees me up, this belonging. You’d think it would be stifling but it’s not.

I just wanted you to know.


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Facebook Dating

Lately it seems like everyone around me is coupling up.

Now I’m happy for my friends, but it makes me a little melancholy. I get tired of being alone. Friends are busy with their new love and I am left to my own devices.

So I got curious. What were they doing that I wasn’t? Was I fundamentally flawed in some way, or was it something I could do differently?

I asked K. She said she met her guy on Facebook dating and they hit it off right away. They had only known each other a couple of weeks when Covid became an issue. They decided that they wanted to be quarantined together and they’ve been together ever since.

I asked V. She said she also met her guy on Facebook dating. They shared many interests and values. She was nervous to meet him in person. They’ve known each other a month and already have decided to get married.

I’m not looking to live together or get married that fast, but there seemed to be a pattern. These were real matches not just hooking up. I can get laid if all I want is sex; I want a connection with somebody. This seemed like a promising route. I filled out a profile and went to work.

Now I’m a little picky. I have a physical type I prefer so I was able to rule out some people who simply didn’t appeal to me. I hate being that shallow, but I know that I like a tall man with some meat on him. Facial hair is good though not a requirement. I like long hair on men, but really, by my age (over 50) long hair isn’t always a good look. So smile at the pictures of 30 year olds but scroll past. Age was a factor. I want someone with whom I can have a conversation. Under 53 years old I mostly skipped.

Next I am profile picky. Please say something about yourself. Blank profiles don’t interest me. Three-word profiles don’t say much about you. Now some things say a lot about you. If you tell me in your profile that you are anti gun control or pro Trump or God fearing, I know we are a poor match. You might be hot, but I would be so frustrated with you! I like to see several pictures, not just head shots. I also think the questions are useful because they give you something to write about.

I chose a few guys to “like” and waited to see what happened. Most of them don’t have the skills to keep my interest while texting. I’m sure they’re great guys, they’re just not MY guy. But nobody was creepy and it was fun. I didn’t expect true love, maybe a dinner or coffee at some point. So it was a semi successful experiment.

And then.

And then I ran across this one profile. They guy seemed a little goofy and somewhat geeky, which is pretty much my wheelhouse. He said he was good at making baklava and he was interested in hypnosis. I like baklava. He said Doctor Who was his favorite show. I like Doctor Who. Interesting.

I looked at his photos. Middle aged guy, blue eyes, various facial hair, some with a shaved head some with hair. He played with filters in some of the pictures so I knew he was a little goofy.

What the hell. Like.

It wasn’t long before I got a reply. We texted. Within an hour, he asked if he could call me. That was interesting. I said yes. He called, I expected some banter and maybe phone sex. We talked a while, then we talked some more. A lot more. And when we got off the phone, we were done with Facebook dating.

We met in person on Friday. We went out for Mexican food and a little flirting. Who am I kidding? The food was good, the time together better. We kissed a lot. We went to Andy’s for ice cream, and I let the thing melt. I love a Snow Monster, and I was instead captivated by the man sitting next to me. We went to a park and made out like teenagers.

Saturday I went to a pool party. I passed within 10 miles of his house (we don’t live near each other) so I called. We got together again. He greeted me with a hug and whispered in my ear, “Take me with you.” Proof that even if you love your family, you can have too much. We went to a little restaurant with a bar and closed the place. We sat in front of his house for a long time. Eventually I got thirsty and we ended up on the sofa in his home office. No sex but such fun.

It’s been a week since I’ve seen him. We talk every day for too many hours about a wide range of topics. We are very similar without being identical. I’ve known this man a week, and we wish we could be together more. He’ll come out on Saturday so we can spend the day. We have a weekend planned in a couple of weeks.

I saw him for lunch today. Barely half an hour, but so worth it. We split an entree at Chili’s and dashed back to meet my boss. It was so good to see him. We sat side by side in a booth with our legs touching. I was so conscious of his knee next to mine! He put his arm around my shoulders. It’s the little things and those stand out to me.

So really, if you’re looking for dating, I can recommend Facebook dating app. All those years of gathering data on us have paid off in a tremendous way.


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Breakfast at K’s House

I have had a good day today.

I slept in until 8:30, which is pretty late for me. I take one of the residents to work for 8:00 in the morning on weekdays so I am up around 6:30 which is early for me. Now I have a hard time staying up late on the weekends for that midnight curfew.

But I slept in today, so that was good. And I hope to sleep in tomorrow.

Then I went to visit my friend K and her other half. When she was single, we used to hang out sometimes twice or 3 times in an average week. Then several things happened at once: She got a promotion. She started dating. She moved. I ran into money issues. I moved. And, oh yeah, Covid 19. The universe just conspired against us. I actually thought for a while that she was one of those women who drops all her friends when a man appears. She isn’t, it was just a perfect storm of circumstances, and I never said anything to her about it. I had stuff going on too.

K made breakfast bake for us. She spray greased an 8″ x 8″ casserole, cubed 4 slices of bread into it, added browned ground beef, then a layer of spinach and a layer of shredded cheese. She scrambled 10 eggs with about 3 tablespoons of heavy whipping cream and poured it into the pan. Finally she topped the whole thing with sliced tomatoes and baked it for 20 minutes. It was yummy. And I had 3 cups of coffee, so I felt quite full. Fruit salad rounded everything out.

Mostly it was just good to connect with a friend again.

I am seeing my friend B tomorrow at Cane Rosso in Deep Ellum. They have a patio with outdoor seating. B wants to do things again but several years ago she had cancer so she is taking extra precautions with Covid and prefers to sit outside. I’ve never been there, but one of the waitstaff is my daughter’s roommate.

After I see my friend, I might go visit my old roommates, F & L. I haven’t seen them since I moved out and it’s been like 6 weeks. It’s mostly because I owe them money which I hate. I can’t wait until I can pay it. F doesn’t say anything but I know he thinks of it. Plus I want to see Momo kitty. I miss him, but he is doing so great there, I am very happy for him.

I haven’t had a weekend this busy in a couple of months. I’d say it’s due to Covid but really it’s the lack of money. I don’t go out much these days because I can’t afford even a coke, and I don’t want my friends to feel obligated to pay for me.

Not withstanding, I have posted my peer-to-peer payment information on Facebook in case someone wants to buy me a cup of coffee.

Here are my various contact information:

Venmo = @Allison-Leonard-23
CashApp = $AllieSunlion
Zelle = 9724807770
Patreon = Allison Leonard
Paypal = Kiss5Tigers

In case someone would like to contribute. Because unemployment is kind of a bitch and I’m not getting paid by them at this time.


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Cafe Brazil

Cafe Brazil is maybe my favorite coffee place. Oh, sure, Starbucks and Dunkin’ are on the list too, but they are chains and this is a local place. Well, still a chain, but only like 8 stores, not nationwide. My aunt, who is a flight attendant, swears by McDonald’s coffee, so, you know, something for everybody.

But today I celebrate Cafe Brazil. Finally open again 24/7. I have been waiting for a place I can hang out and use wifi to reopen. Usually I use the tables at Half Price Books but they have put the chairs upside down on them which is clearly meant to discourage people from congregating. I think the coffee shop might even be shut down.

So clearly I am going to have to pay to occupy space somewhere. I could go to Denny’s or IHOP but they generally don’t have wifi or a place to plug in my computer and work. Cafe Brazil it is.

The walls are painted bright lime green and cerulean blue. There is a border painted near the ceiling of palm leaves, flowers, parrots and pre-columbian heads. The walls are usually covered with art that is for sale. This particular shop had only about 5 pieces on display at the moment. With huge windows on 3 sides, there is a lot less wall space than many locations but often there is more art. Maybe I should bring some down, see if it can be sold here.

Mostly today I had coffee and wrote 3 letters. I have one more to write before bed tonight but that can be any time. I also had nachos. I really like the nachos here. The appetizer size is a meal for one so that was tasty. I even ate a few of the jalapenos.

I remember the first time I had jalapenos. I was about 8 years old. We had come to Dallas from my native Boston to visit my dad’s family for Christmas. My mother’s brother, who was in the air force, was stationed I believe at Lackland AFB so since we were in the state, we drove down to see that part of the family too. My uncle took us across the border to Mexico. My mom, my aunt, my cousin and I went shopping, and the men went to a little cantina and were enjoying cerveza and nachos. My uncle thought he would play a joke on my and gave me a nacho. It was a crispy corn tortilla wedge with cheese and a single pickled jalapeno in the center. I think he believed I would freak out, but my first solid foods were pickles and corned beef, so you can guess I like things with strong flavor. I loved the nachos. Dad was oddly pleased and let me eat as many as I wanted. It was literally a decade before I went to Chi-chi’s restaurant in Boston and had nachos, and had that whole episode flood back into my memory.

Well, my boss has called and I need to take care of something. But today was a good day. I got poetry written and letters written and talked to my daughter, and oh yeah, Cafe Brazil is open again. Life is good.


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Asking

The generosity of people just blows me away.

I have a favoite author, SARK, who says, “Ask. Ask again. Ask differently.” I like that. Not to bug a person, but sometimes your request gets lost in the general noise of life. And sometimes people don’t understand what you’re asking for.

On a business level, Shepherd Inn is opening a new home and needed furniture. My boss asked for in-kind donations rather than cash. In-kind means people donate the item itself, so if we need a sofa, they donate a sofa. In two days, the house was furnished! Well, two exceptions: coffee table and end tables for the living room, and new mattresses for the new beds. I’m going to ask my friend K about the tables, she’s really good at finding things for cheap online.

On a personal level, I posted that I got turned down for unemployment and that I was worried about taking care of my cat. One friend brought me food and litter, another friend Amazon’ed me a huge bag of food and some litter, a third friend donated cash. I am just blown away by this. I mean, I knew people can be kind, but so many people concerned about my cat, wow.

What I take away from this is that it doesn’t hurt to ask. I didn’t ask for someone to get me pet food, but people saw the need and jumped in. My friend L taught me about asking too. She asks for prayer for things and usually someone is led to help her out in a material way. In fact, she is one of the people I send money when I have a little extra. I haven’t had any extra lately, but L and N get money from me. And daughter of course.

Even if I hadn’t gotten donations, I would have vented about my fears and that would have helped as well. Keeping my fears and needs to myself just seems to magnify them. They become so huge and overwhelming, probably because they end up taking up so much of my brain space.

So, another thing I got, that I need but didn’t ask about, was this evening I am off. I will be so happy to get some time to myself. I have chores to do around my room, but mostly I will go to Half Price Books for a look around, maybe to Barnes & Noble. I want a copy of Ta-Nehisi Coates‘ “Between the World and Me“. I already know it’s sold out at Half Price but B&N might have it. After that, I’m thinking of a poke bowl. I’d like to invite daughter and boyfriend to join me.


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Christian Dating

There’s a joke that Christian dating is kind of a contradiction of terms.

My boss has recently found her faith. I’m happy for her. She has also recently found a boyfriend. That makes me a little envious.

Our household is reading a book called “Why Men Love Bitches” which basically says that if you make yourself too available up front, that level of attachment is a turn-off for a lot of guys, so keep up with having your own life even when you’re dating. Only of course the author uses more words and tells better stories along the way, as well as describing specific behaviors to avoid and why. It’s a good book.

So my boss went on a first date with a guy, and it went well. He goes to one of the local mega churches that she is thinking of joining so also has an active faith. They are absolutely adorable together. He checks all the boxes on the “acceptable boyfriend” list, including things like “flies for free” that she figured were pipe dreams. (He works at the airport.) He’s pretty much made to order for her.

They went out the other day, and he asked her to go out again so they went out 2 days later. Then he asked when he could see her again and she called me. I’m the worst, because if I like someone, they can get all my free time, but I told her to give him 2 times and see what he says. It’s in the book. She offered 3 times, and he basically said he’d take them all. Which is very flattering. They are out again tonight.

You can’t tell me online dating doesn’t work. My boss met her guy online, my friend K met her guy online, clearly online dating works for somebody. I’ve tried it. I’ve been catfished or attempted catfished every time. At least the ones I followed up on. I am apparently an easy target. Maybe because I’m middle aged so they assume I have money and I’m lonely, neither of which is true. But anyway.

I’m happy for my boss, so I’m not jealous, though like I said I’m a little envious. I keep meeting these terrific single lady friends, and it seems like within a month of meeting them, they are coupled up. I want a long term friend, or a long term boyfriend. I don’t need to get married, I’m happy with consistent dating.

My friends S and H have a relationship I appreciate. They live walking distance apart and they’ve been dating for over 30 years. They each have their own space but they spend most of their free time together. They do things like donate blood and they also get martinis at a local high-dollar department store. He takes her on vacations. I mean, I could do that kind of dating for a lot of years.

I suspect I’m just past it at this point. I have gray hair, I’m overweight, and there is that missing tooth. I’m not cute. Even older guys are looking for cute. I am a wonderful person and I’m interested in a lot of things, but I am not cute enough to hold someone’s attention long enough to find that out. And I know this because I’ve been actually told this. It’s as if people think you’re fat so you have no feelings and it’s okay to say “I like you but you’re too fat for me.” Well you’re too shallow for me, if my looks are what you care about. Yeah, I’m a little worked up about this but it will pass.

Because I have a full life. I have friends and support groups and a job and a daughter. These things take time out of my life, time that I don’t necessarily want to give to a man. I like these things. I like writing letters. I like my cat (just one, cat lady but not crazy). I want a greyhound again one day but we’ll see about that.

Right now I’m going to start soaking beans for chili. Tomorrow I’ll make the chili in a crock pot. It’ll be good. Tonight I’ll write a letter for my swap group and talk to my daughter about her experiences with the protest today. I’ll read before I go to sleep. And I like all these things, I’m not unhappy about this.

It would be nice to be someone’s goodnight text, though. Maybe someday.


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Birthday in Quarantine

Good news: The covid19 test results came back negative. That means none of us has it.

The less-good news: If we were tested too early, we could still be contagious but the result doesn’t show it. So we are still quarantined for 14 days.

Victoria was told by her work not to come in for at least 15 days. As a restaurant , they are very careful about health safety. During the pandemic they have been putting together food boxes that are distributed among the local food pantries.

Yesterday was S’s birthday, one of the girls who is staying with us. We tried several things to make it special for her. I ran out to Fiesta and bought her favorite ice cream. Another girl gave her a cake. Victoria made a banner that said “Happy 18th Birthday”. And we got her hot wings from Wingstop.

There had been a plan to drive her past where she worked (which is the same place Victoria works) for the kids there to sing happy birthday to her. However, once the bosses found out, they put the kibosh in that idea. They basically told Victoria that she would face disciplinary action for breaking quarantine. Now we don’t see much difference between sitting on the couch together and sitting in a car together, but so be it, the higher ups have spoken.

We are wondering if maybe we are not taking this seriously enough. I mean, I went to the grocery store and to Wingstop. I did wear a mask the whole time but really I should have been home, quarantined. Victoria was planning a driving lesson and a drive-by visit. Maybe we should really be locked in the house all the time. And I know, if the test had come back positive, none of that would have happened.

In other news, a local night spot has closed down. The Lizard Lounge is no more. This makes me sad even though I haven’t been in years. However, they are just dumping their furniture and apparently there are chairs in the dumpster. My daughter has one in the back of her car. So I asked her to go back and get us one. We need a small chair for the living room.

Penny the pibble killed a feral kitten yesterday. It was a sad way to start the day. She is an ex bait dog so no doubt she was first trained to fight, and I know they do that with kittens. Penny kind of can’t help herself, but the rest of us are bummed by it. The kitten was still warm when we buried it.

We are thinking of renting another building to make a home for more girls. It would cost us about $3000 a month to run, so it’s all about grants and donations. If we can get a big grant, or recurring donations , we can start it.

Book club began last night. The book is called “Why Men Love Bitches” and it’s really interesting. The idea is, these are not really bitchy women, they are confident women. They are women who don’t do too much and have their own lives even when they’re in a relationship. Now I don’t mean they aren’t equal partners, but they don’t over do it to try to compensate for some imagined shortcomings. We are all learning something.

So life moves forward even with the quarantine. I am learning to write grants and Victoria is doing social media fund raising. The girls continue to learn and grow. My daughter is doing well. Life is still good.


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The Argument About Selling Seeds

Piggybacking off yesterday’s post . . .

It seems odd to me that seeds are considered non-essential, but here’s the thing:

There are small businesses and mom-and-pop places that sell seeds, toys, pet supplies, etc. which have been told to close because they are not essential businesses.

Here comes the big box store selling groceries and with a bank and a pharmacy, but also selling furniture and craft paint and clothes and car parts and camping supplies and toys and gardening supplies. Customers can go in the store because groceries and pharmacy are essential, but they can buy this other stuff as well.

Small businesses say, if it’s not essential for me to sell, then it’s not essential for them to sell. Or, to put it the other way, if WalMart can sell seeds as an essential business, then so can Ruibal’s. (By the way, Ruibal’s at Farmers Market in Dallas has one of my favorite shop cats. Just saying.) It’s not fair to close Ruibal’s and allow WalMart to do that kind of business. It basically puts the little guy out of business while allowing the behemoth to benefit from picking up the slack.

So in some places — because this seems to be by location, not a federal mandate — you will find big box stores with different departments closed.

I hadn’t really thought how bad this lockdown is for small businesses, but now that it’s come to my attention, I can see it.

And I am a fan of small businesses, I want to see them survive this event.


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Hunger Busters

I had the opportunity to work for an organization called Hunger Busters this week. They provide lunches for kids who usually get the free lunch at school. Since schools are closed, many times these kids simply don’t eat. This program provides 2 meals per day per child, Monday through Friday. All you need is the kid’s name and the name of the school, although they like to have a student ID number too.

Now it’s not haute cuisine. I spent my time making ham and cheese sandwiches, and stuffing apples and chips into paper sacks. But for a kid who might not get lunch, this is a necessary meal. Can’t have hungry kids roaming around, so I felt good about feeding the little ones.

I still haven’t got the ShiftSmart app working on my phone. It simply doesn’t show me any shifts. I have emailed them asking for help so hopefully they’ll get back to me shortly. I got one email from them saying they’d reply within half an hour, and then a second one saying due to high volume etc. etc. it would be more like 3 to 5 days. So I wait.

I visited my daughter after working. It was good to see her. What was even nicer, was seeing boyfriend come home. They play together. They joke and wrestle and enjoy each other’s company. It made me happy. I hope it lasts. Just writing this puts tears in my eyes for her. Big mom emotion.

I am mostly packed. Probably about 80% done. I have run out of places to put boxes in my room. I am at the point where I mostly have to do laundry so today I washed my comforter and some blankets. Tomorrow I’ll wash black clothes and underwear. Nothing amazing but it needs to get done.

Packing is both easy and hard. I am excited to find stuff I’ve been missing. I’m a snail mail geek, so I was happy to find some packages of envelopes. On the other hand, I don’t know how to put this things in boxes so I can find it again. That’s the rub. It’s not boxing things up, there’s no difficulty just picking up the next item and dropping it in a box. The problem is doing it in a way that’s at least semi organized so you can find stuff later. But most of it is art supplies so finding any of it at all will be amazing.

I don’t fully understand why I keep getting certain things in the mail. I am out of money and overdrawn at the bank. How can I keep getting things that I haven’t paid for? But here we are, I got a package from my house items today, and I know I didn’t order it. I can’t afford it. So we shall see what happens.

Money continues to be an issue in my life. Shepherd Inn is talking about paying me maybe $500 a month, since room and board is covered. That still only brings me to about $17,000 a year so I’ll need another job as well. Plus I still owe the government for health insurance and for that company card. I thought I had made a huge payment on that card but it apparently bounced out so the amount is a lot larger than I thought. I am very stressed about money.

I found my 2″ circle punch so that made me happy. It was in the car, of all places. I’m thinking, with this punch, I could make pins. I mean those button type pins for novelty items. I don’t know how much the machine costs though so it might not be cost effective. Now if I have a wealthy reader who is feeling generous . . . (I’m sure you’re all in the boat I am.)

So I keep on trucking. Life continues its forward momentum. And really, in this time of stress and blockage, that’s a miracle.


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Post Apocalyptic Pharmacy

I went to the pharmacy today. Usually that would be just one more thing in a list of places but today it was a trip in and of itself.

I don’t have a general practitioner or as the insurance people say, a primary care physician. I don’t have insurance right now so I use the public health system. I go to Parkland. My pharmacy is on the hospital campus.

I ran out of my blood pressure meds with this last refill of my meds box so I called it in. They told me everything would be ready Monday. I made my daughter get up and go with me in the morning to get them.

When I got to the pharmacy building, only one door was open. A path was cordoned off so you could only go one way. Two nurses in masks stood at the corner. First they asked why you were there. Some people had appointments but most of us were for the pharmacy. Then they took my temperature. 97.5. I feel like a radio station.

Next I was directed down the line to get a wristband. It was like a concert wristband with a tribal design on it. Then another nurse directed me to the hand sanitizer. After that I was finally able to enter the pharmacy.

The check-in line had X’es taped on the floor showing where to stand. The receptionist didn’t take my ID as usual. Instead I held it up to the glass partition for her to read. The glass partition has always been there, with just a slit to talk through and have her hand me a ticket. I always figured it was a physical safety issue, to keep violent people away like at a bank only for drugs not money, but now I think it has always been about disease.

Turned out my meds were not ready and they needed me to come back after 1230. I left the building and went with my daughter back to her place for a few hours. Coffee and kittens made the wait pass quickly. Just after 12 I got an automated call from Parkland that my meds were ready.

My daughter and I drove back to the pharmacy. I brought my daughter to wait in the car so I wouldn’t have to pay for parking. My budget is that tight right now, that $5 for parking seemed exorbitant. I went through the process again and was let into the building. This time the receptionist gave me a number.

I went into the waiting room. Usually it’s packed. The seats are arranged in rows of 6 and I’m used to 4 or 5 people sitting in each row. Today there was only one person in each row. Several people were wearing masks.

I was number 807. When I arrived, they were on number 788. I figured it would be a solid half hour wait. It was about half that. Things progressed smoothly and rapidly. I got my meds and by the time I left, it was pouring rain. Fortunately my daughter had been waiting nearby so I didn’t have long to wait to be picked up.

Now I am home. It seems so strange now, just going to the pharmacy. I also wonder what I will do the next time. I am now out of refills and insurance. I don’t know how I’ll get my meds next month. Even if they do an automatic refill extension like most places are, I don’t have any income and I don’t know how I’ll pay for them. But I have faith that something will have changed by then.

The world is all different right now and it changed practically overnight. I believe it can change again just as fast, in ways I can’t predict. I can only wait and see.