When husbands want Just That One Thing...

may_flowersFebruary 10, 2014

and it goes against your vision, how has that worked out for you?

That dilemma crops up regularly. It can be a tile or a granite or a honking big fridge that just doesn't work with your vision. Often the husband cares little about the kitchen in general but has to have that one thing. Do you just pray it won't be a disaster and let him have it because he really wants it? Is there ever any dissuading him or will it only cause him to dig in his heels? Have you ever been pleasantly surprised and ended up liking his choice? My sense is that it probably seldom ends well.

I ask because I may have a backsplash in my future dotted with little mosaic accent squares. I know it's because he hasn't noticed a backsplash since 1995, and he'll probably like something else when we start looking.

Last but not least, when will the PNW thaw out so I can get out of this house?? Day 5 of the "big" snowstorm.

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prairiemoon2 z6 MA

The only thing my husband wanted was a microwave, which we had not had before we remodeled. I was dead set against it. But I wanted to take down the wall between the small kitchen and dining room and he didn't. Those were the only two decisions he was interested in having an opinion on. We discussed and went back and forth trying to persuade each other to our own point of view, but in the end, we had to compromise and I won on the wall coming down but gave in on the microwave.

I know that is a little different than your dilemma about color or style. That would be hard for me. I think if my husband had been interested in color and design choices, it would have taken a lot longer to make decisions. I would keep looking to find something you both like and are happy with. And I would also try to adjust my thinking to be inclusive of my husband's wants. It is his kitchen too. But if there was a way that I could figure out some areas of the design that would be less painful for me to give him his choice on, I would try to do that. Maybe the flooring is not going to kill you if he wants something totally the opposite of you. Or like that honking big fridge that won't interfere with your color or design choices. Maybe you give him a choice that he's really happy with and then he cares less about the granite counter or the color choices, etc.

    Bookmark   February 10, 2014 at 1:20PM
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Depends on how fast you need a final decision. I wait mine out and next thing you know he forgets he wanted something else. Sometimes he thinks my ideas were his. I think it's because he grew to like it. Paint colors on the wall everywhere he looks, brochures, etc. LOL

    Bookmark   February 10, 2014 at 1:37PM
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I usually wait a week or two and he forgets how hard he dug his heels in about the feature that he thought was so important at the time.

If he doesn't forget, I figure it must be really important to him and he gets his way. He is so generous that I figure it's worth the give and take.

I just finished (almost) a gut remodel of a new office space. I didn't want carpet anywhere. He wanted carpet in his private office. I did not want to give in but had no choice since he wouldn't give in. It turned out really nice!

    Bookmark   February 10, 2014 at 1:38PM
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I am in the midst of this dilemma right now! My husband is a very agreeable guy and really just wants me to be happy, so I could definitely win the battle if I pushed for what I want. But it is so rare that he has a strong opinion on decorating stuff that when he does, I try very hard to work with what he loves. We have come to a compromise and in the big scheme of things, I can live with a backsplash that may not be exactly what I envisioned, knowing that it will make him smile every time he sees it.

And I have to say, he has given in to me many, many more times than I have given in to him, if he had his way, our walls would all be beige! Some of his "had to haves" in our home are our lovely Travertine floors, Quoizel lightening and marble shower in the master. I would have chosen wood floors, less expensive lighting and porcelain tiles for the shower. We have lived here for 5 years and I love all of those features of our home! The floors keep our home nice and cool in the South Florida heat and they are a lovely warm beige, which I absolutely love. The Italian marble shower has been easy to maintain, and is a nod to his Italian heritage. I know how much he loves it, which makes me happy. And the lightening is gorgeous, our home's jewelry as he likes to say.

So in our case, I have no problem giving in to the things he loves, even if it is not exactly what I want. For me, it is a lot easier to compromise, knowing that he will be just as happy with the end result as I am!

    Bookmark   February 10, 2014 at 1:45PM
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robo (z6a)

My husband is the primary cook so he has some firm and decided interests and I tried to accommodate them.

I found it EXTREMELY frustrating when I did like 20 hours of research on something and he negated it without doing the research. The way I approached this problem was to bring a few options I could live with to the table and ask him to choose. If he didn't like any, it was his job to do the research and come up with more options, which he was usually too lazy to do, so one of my options ended up being chosen.

If one or the other HATED something, it usually went. With the exception of our stove which is 1000% contrary to my vision, and we just recently had the following conversation:

Him: Assume that we are going to have a stove like that until the end of time.
Me: GRRRRRRRR! *dreams of beautiful backsplash and slide-in induction range going down the toilet*

But I did win on not having an OTR microwave, which he was a little sulky about. And he won on having a full patio door in the kitchen, which turned out very nice, and having an area for a bar fridge. He got reeded glass instead of seeded, and I got white cabinets instead of bisque color. He was adamantly opposed to any open shelving in kitchen, I got one shelf for cookbooks.

I liked someone's idea of giving each spouse two red cards they could use to veto something they absolutely 100% hated. Then you have to hold on to them for when you really need them...

This post was edited by robotropolis on Mon, Feb 10, 14 at 13:55

    Bookmark   February 10, 2014 at 1:52PM
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Mediating between spouses seems to be at least half of what I do for every couple that walks through the doors. Most of the time, it's about the budget rather than any specific decor choices. But, when you have two people involved, there are always going to be a conflict of opinion about something.

Often, as long as one spouse can articulate the why that they want something, I can find something that will be a compromise for both of them. The easy is one wants wood cabinets, and the other wants painted. And somehow they've never thought of mixing the two and using a wood island and painted perimeter. ;) (They don't read enough GW or Houzz, LOL!)

I've had a few that just dug their heels in and wanted something just to say they wanted it rather than have a reason they liked it, but that's usually symptomatic of larger issues in the relationship. That's when you just duck your head down, smile, and try to stay out of the way!

    Bookmark   February 10, 2014 at 2:11PM
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I'm the researcher and person that cares more about most things. So unless there is a strong opinion either way from DH, I have free reign. I always run things by him, or bring the final contenders to him, because we are a team.

I did try to do the kitchen with him in mind though as he cooks more. He was adamant about a double sink, but I wanted a large single. I prodded for the reason, and eventually figured out it was because it was the same thing we had before and he's not big on change. So I explained why I wanted the big sink, and made sure I pointed out when it would be beneficial (like after he got water everywhere trying to wash a large broiler pan). He gave in an now LOVES our sink. But I pushed on this because I knew he would like it better if he'd just give it a chance.

I also try really hard to find a way to work with things he is set on having. For example, he's always wanted to paint a room indigo or black. We are doing his "office" room in a few months. I vetoed painting that dark, but suggested those colors as curtains and an area rug with a more medium tone wall color. He's still thinking it over, but I think knowing it will need at least 3 coats of paint (and a coat of dark primer) for a color that dark might factor in.

He often forgets or adopts my ideas too, as mentioned above, if given enough time. Other times if I forge ahead with his desire, things get to a certain point in the process and he starts to see that it clearly won't work. Or he is in a different mind frame and "x" reason he had to have it isn't important anymore or isn't so hot when he sees it for what it is.

    Bookmark   February 10, 2014 at 2:29PM
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Like LWO, I run into it often. I try to keep both interests on the table. When the two begin to argue and simultaneously turn heads to look at me I duck though. Have a few standard lines to diffuse the situation.

May just be pop psychology but I'm fairly convinced that some of what goes on- woman is nesting, often primary cook but not always; man- his home is his castle and he suddenly realizes this is the throne room. May be utter nonsense but it helps me cope :)

IF it gets to you think of my poor wife who has to live deal with a designer who cooks. While we agree on much when it comes down to differences I'm a problem.

    Bookmark   February 10, 2014 at 2:45PM
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Mine wanted a manly pre-rinse faucet at the clean-up sink; with time and our daughters' lobbying he compromised on the Blanco Culina and we both love it more than what either of us would have chosen alone. It is a strength of ours that we stay patient and keep working towards a win-win. But it is also true that he just gives in, often, because he cares more about me being happy than about any functional or aesthetic choices.

    Bookmark   February 10, 2014 at 3:14PM
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I was able to get my 42" TV hanging over our peninsula, and now she watches it more than I do.

kksmama - we had the same experience on the faucet and also ended up with the Blanco Culina. I wanted something that had a strong spray function and she mostly cared about how it looked. So that's what we ended up with, and we both like it.

    Bookmark   February 10, 2014 at 3:50PM
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Actually, I would answer yes to all of your questions. Not every decision that he made was the "best" but neither were mine. He usually gives me what i want so when he does want something and has a strong feeling about it, it's pretty easy to let him have his way. Yes, the kitchen faucet "stands out like a sore thumb" but as long as he wants to do the dishes, i guess it's not the worst thing. Also, it can be replaced easily.
if my dh wanted an oversize fridge, I'd put one in the garage and put one (reg size) in the kitchen.
If he wanted something that was not easily replaced (like granite), I would say, for something this big we should really compromise. Good luck!

    Bookmark   February 10, 2014 at 4:06PM
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My husband generally doesn't want anything to do with decorating until I narrow down all the choices & it's final decision time. Then he generally agrees, especially if it is important to me.
After months of marble research(me), imagine my surprise when we're out looking at Calacatta marble slabs and he asks, "What are these jagged lines (veining)? I don't like them." He wouldn't budge & I decided not to battle for the Calacatta. We ended up settling on Imperial Danby. I worried about it until the day it was installed. It turned out to be a great choice as it softened the overall look of our white kitchen. I love the Danby & he's quite proud of himself.

    Bookmark   February 10, 2014 at 4:07PM
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I stayed single for 43 years, so questions like these are strange to me. Like how do you handle it when you wife wants everything her way?

I am the wife.

It took me very little time to get into the "happy wife, happy life" mode. I was ashamed at how little time it took. But I made all my own decisions for all those years, so it felt good.

That being said, I think everyone handles these things differently. My husband and I have different taste, but my designer-husband gets that what you put in the home should "go" with the home.

Our house (mine before we got married) happens to go better with my taste. But I want him be represented in what we do with it, so we look at options and pick one that we both like. Sometimes I like it more, sometimes he does and sometimes we feel the same. That's, IMHO, what a partnership is all about.

::Spanish jumps off soapbox::

    Bookmark   February 10, 2014 at 5:14PM
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I always sent my husband multiple options of things, including options based on his suggestions when we had to decide something.

The thing that I liked/wanted, I found the most reasonable price on. Things I was not so keen on, I found the single most expensive version thereof (I knew he wouldn't do his own research).

Nine times out of ten, we ended up with the "cheaper" thing I wanted. If it was important enough for him to be willing to pay for the "expensive" option, then that was what we got (and of course then I'd happen to find a "better deal" on that item.).

    Bookmark   February 10, 2014 at 6:37PM
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Lol, Beagles! I haven't heard of this strategy before, but I think I like it.

    Bookmark   February 10, 2014 at 6:57PM
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Mine found a really nice 48" stove on Craigs list and then insisted that it go in the short end of our "U" kitchen, where it barely fits. He does, however, do most of the cooking and this gives him an amazing view while cooking. I was not impressed with the decision to place it there but it looks ok (barely) and he loves it. And this was pretty much the only thing he had an opinion on.

With everything else, he listened politely and then generally turned away as soon as I stopped for a breath. In the end, that was probably the better way to go than debating on every detail.

    Bookmark   February 10, 2014 at 7:19PM
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If my husband likes something from a decor standpoint that goes against my vision, I tell him why it goes against my vision and he will usually back off because he trusts my taste. I will not buy anything major that he doesn't agree that he likes, but I have seen too many instances, both here on GW and in real life, where one person has the vision and the other just "must have" this granite or backsplash or whatever, and the end result is just not cohesive. The idea of spending a lot of money and not ending up with the best look possible is not appealing to me.

On the other hand, I am totally ready to compromise when my husband has different ideas on functional aspects. He really wanted a 48" range top when I was thinking smaller, and he was right. He was really involved in the layout as well. With decor, it's much harder to mesh 2 different sensibilities-- not impossible, I'm sure, but in the average situation I think the results are better when one person takes control.

    Bookmark   February 10, 2014 at 7:23PM
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Sophie Wheeler

And here I was thinking that this was another of "those" threads about using "that one thing that they all want" to get all those things that YOU want.

    Bookmark   February 10, 2014 at 7:26PM
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Beagles, love your strategy and would work great with my DH

    Bookmark   February 10, 2014 at 8:29PM
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We have the opposite issue... since I'm the cook, my wife knows better than to get involved in kitchen (function) decisions, or she'll go hungry!
Although, being a florist, she does have a good eye for design, so I let her have her way with flowers on the window sills and counters :)

... BTW what hollysprings says, after 30+ years of marriage, my wife still gets anything she wants ;)

    Bookmark   February 10, 2014 at 8:49PM
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"I'm the researcher and person that cares more about most things. So unless there is a strong opinion either way from DH, I have free reign. I always run things by him, or bring the final contenders to him, because we are a team."

williamsem: I think this sums up my arrangement with DH on most things. I do the research, leg-work, care more, etc. and I think that trumps "I just like this better". That said, sometimes it's not that easy. Right now DH wants a certain standard warm wood floor look that is absolutely beautiful while I want to explore a cooler, weathered option that will go with other elements in our house. It's the only thing he has expressed a preference for other than HVAC Seer rating and solid vs. hollow core doors. I don't want to stifle his input but...I do think those who care/know more about an element should have final say. I also think there was a member who launched operation s.e.x. when these types of issues arose to great success. Every "problem" has a solution. :)

    Bookmark   February 10, 2014 at 9:04PM
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LOL, hollysprings ... I, too, thought this thread was going to be about something else entirely ...

Oh, well, I read it all anyway. Beagles, you are really inventive in getting your way. I love it!!!

    Bookmark   February 10, 2014 at 9:06PM
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We try to find things that we both like and can agree upon. Usually, he defers to me if we have a difference of opinion (at least with decorating issues!) Right now we disagree on the grout color for our backsplash. Creamy off white subway tiles, I want a beige grout to make them stand out, he wants the grout to match the tile, so it blends in. I will probably let him have his way with this, not a big issue really, I think it will look good either way, although I do prefer the beige grout.

    Bookmark   February 11, 2014 at 6:37AM
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Beagles, great idea! Got anymore?
This is a problem with hubby--yesterday, for example, he sent a craigslist photo of a really dated glass interior door with bright brass trim. He saw "glass door, cheap" and thought "Ooh, she likes glass doors!" and sent it to me. To him, a glass door is a glass door. A picture is a picture, you hang it on the wall to hide nail holes. It doesn't have to match.

Ugly, tacky, dated, "clashing"--these are not concepts that exist in his world. I don't get it...I understand guy stuff like octane, calibre, volts, amps & wire gauges! No fair, lol!

    Bookmark   February 11, 2014 at 7:27AM
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My DH is pretty agreeable, since I do all the research and he couldn't be bothered. He wanted a gas Wolf stove, did zero research, and we ended up with slide in induction-love it!

Now the battle? Or not, is hardwood throughout, or continue with carpet. He wants carpet, which I'm ok with, but hardwood would look sooo awesome!

    Bookmark   February 11, 2014 at 8:02AM
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Since I'm paying for kitchen, I was the one pulling s/o into stores for the extra pair of eyes. He never went to granite yeards with me, as he works Saturday morning (wish I had). I chose style of cabinets in KD's store in matter of minutes, but had 2 sample colors in house. He encouraged me to go with the lighter color. He enjoyed shopping for fridge and range. I never had an OTR m/w, and was content to reuse my small m/w on counter, but he agreed with the KD that it wasn't worth the $2-3,000 to put in a vent, then $ for hood. Backsplash samples; again, he encouraged the lighter color. He is quite pleased with his choices. He also brought in food or took me out during the renovation process. win/win

    Bookmark   February 11, 2014 at 10:12AM
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We agreed on the big things, cabinets and granite, and everything else he hasn't really cared about. He was just happy to see progress being made whenever I managed to pick something out. He also can't be bothered with researching anything or shopping around. Seriously, all he wants is a new dirt bike every couple of years and if I give in to that, he doesn't care what I choose for the house. Our only "battle" has been in getting things done. He wants everything to be done NOW, and I like to look and research first. I do ask his opinion on everything and if he hates something, it's tossed.

This post was edited by jellytoast on Tue, Feb 11, 14 at 10:37

    Bookmark   February 11, 2014 at 10:15AM
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My wife generally takes the lead on style (though I do like to think I have reasonable taste!) but the decisions on things like appliances etc comes down to me as I do all the cooking and am the one who likes to research those kind of things. Generally though although some tweaking is involved it's rare that we're on completely different planes of thought on something so there's usually some middle ground that appeases us both.

I was very pleasantly surprised when we went shopping for wood recently that we both agreed on the same samples. It had been prepped by me showing her what I wanted and why (acacia and not a sold dark color as it's so much easier to work with wooden furniture that way) and she listened and understood despite wanting a dark color to start with.

I think sometimes you have to give a little and you can normally pre-plan by knowing where those items may crop up and giving a little in other areas if there's something you're dead set on.

    Bookmark   February 11, 2014 at 10:36AM
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Well I have to admit, my husband also doesn't understand the concept of "dated" or "out of style" If its functional, he's happy. So I do have to prod him into remodeling projects, but once started, he gets more enthused. Right now, I have some honey oak bathroom cabinets that I want to paint. He doesn't like to paint over wood and sees nothing wrong with the cabinets as they are. Yes, they are in good shape, good quality, but they look dated. I may have to compromise and do them in a gel stain.

    Bookmark   February 11, 2014 at 10:36AM
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It depends. In terms of decoration, my DH only has strong opinions mainly because he wants a quick decision and be done with it. (Like, let's flip a coin --- Uh, no!).
Second, because he has no clue. (He doesn't know that oak cabinets are out; ditto little accent tiles). So either could be easily addressed by doing all the research, then showing him a bunch of options to pick from; if that doesn't work, although it usually does, dragging him to a tile store, vetoing his first choice (first in the sense of time, not preference), and then going to my doing the research and giving him options.
If it's something with function, and it's legitimate, I may agree.

    Bookmark   February 11, 2014 at 10:42AM
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We've been negotiating this territory since wedding planning, which was 12 years ago. DH has a much narrower range of likes-and-dislikes than I, so our pattern for any project (wedding, vacation, 1st major renovation, current renovation) has been for us to discuss the project, me to do the legwork and research and then present him with a short list of options. We have had times when he hasn't liked anything I've come up with, but then I throw it back at him - if he wants to veto everything, he has to come up with an acceptable alternative. About 90% of the time, that's worked.

The two things he's been adamant about for the new kitchen - opening up the back wall of the house to bring in light, and light-colored natural stone (hopefully marble) counters, I'm on board with. The only other Just One Thing he pushed for at the beginning was a white kitchen, which I was strongly against. We worked it around and ended up with a strong, bright color we both like - can't wait until the cabinets are delivered!

So long answer to short question: he's been flexible about his Just One Thing and we've made it work. We went into this project with him saying "this is your kitchen" (I do 95% of the shopping, 100% of the cooking) and he really wants me to be happy in the space.

    Bookmark   February 11, 2014 at 12:36PM
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When we at the cabinet maker's shop, we both loved the cabinets he was working on for a house on Martha's Vineyard. We both agreed we loved the doors, only the doors were painted white. The ONLY thing my husband could not deal with was painted wood:( We got them in natural cherry, and I constantly dream of what my kitchen would look like in white and the fact that someone on Martha's Vineyard has MY white cabinets!
However, my plan is that down the road I can tell DH it is time for a new kitchen or we can paint ours white:)

    Bookmark   February 11, 2014 at 4:26PM
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You must be a newly wed! 40 yrs into this relationship I know that my opinion has absolutely weight. She pats me on the head and says, "yes, dear". I wonder what happened. I've gotten to the point that whenever we are together and someone ask as question, I simply turn to her and ask, "How do I feel about that honey?" Newlyweds! He has no idea what is coming!

    Bookmark   February 11, 2014 at 4:32PM
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prairiemoon2 z6 MA

Jack! I was wondering when someone of the male persuasion was going to chime in. :-) I also wonder if there are no men designing kitchens and trying to figure out what to do with the wife that wants just that one thing.

Maybe you meant your opinion has absolutely NO weight? Well, maybe you should surprise your bride of 40 years and express your opinion more often and shake things up. [g]

    Bookmark   February 11, 2014 at 4:42PM
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Jackfre, are you referring to me:) Heck no, we have been married over thirty years, and my husband is pretty well trained, just not as well as you:)
He really dislikes painted wood--I think he thinks it is sinful, just like writing in a book!
I did get him to paint our woodwork white!
There are statistics that indeed show, Happy Wife, Happy Life!!!

    Bookmark   February 11, 2014 at 4:43PM
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For those who are wondering about the Operation S.E.X. advice, I linked the thread below. Scroll down to see the first post by laxsupermom. My husband wholeheartedly was on board with her program. Go figure. ;)

The hubs is quite content with letting me do all the research and choose all the finishes. I have tried to involve him in some of the bigger decisions, and sometimes he just says, "Not interested. Just get 'er done." in this way of his. One decision he actually helped make, and one that really surprised me, was the granite in the kitchen. He is usually the more "cost conscious" out of the two of us. I was swooning over this Blue Pearl GT I had seen, but it really was out of our price range. I showed him the samples I collected of less pricier granites, and he pointed to the Blue Pearl and said, "No contest." When I told him the difference in cost, he shrugged and told me that we may as well get what we want.

He didn't have to tell me twice, and I didn't even have to deploy The Operation. ;) :D

Here is a link that might be useful: That Other One Thing.

    Bookmark   February 11, 2014 at 5:03PM
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