Thursday, November 8, 2012

The Trip out of Frankenstorm: Part 6 (The Amazing Race Home!)

When I walked into the Philadelphia Airport at about 5:15am after being dropped off by Gabby, I saw on the screen that the 2 flights before me heading from Philly to Dallas were canceled.  I went to the ticket counter and asked if they knew why those previous flights were canceled and if my 11:20am flight was at risk.  They said they didn't know why and that it was possible my flight would be canceled, especially since planes were not coming in that were necessary for the connecting flights.  I felt a wave of panic, wondering if I might be now stranded in Philly, but it subsided a little when I received a boarding pass in my hand.  The flight wasn't canceled. . . yet.

I had 5 hours to kill and probably should have slept since I was running on a total of about 3 hours of sleep in 2 days, but all I could think about was whether or not I would be boarding that plane.  I was now so close to getting home that I could almost taste it.  If the flight remained intact, I'd land in Dallas at 2pm, drive to my house by 2:30 (my car was in the airport parking garage), and surprise the kids when they got home from school at 2:50pm.  Then I'd have a little time to settle in, change, and get ready for our Halloween Block party starting at 4pm in my yard.

I sat myself down at an airport restaurant where I could plug in my phone and get some breakfast.  I ordered food but couldn't eat because my stomach was in knots, waiting to see if my flight would be canceled.  I just drank hot tea and checked the computer screens every half hour to see the status of my flight.  There were still some lingering dark clouds outside, so I asked people to pray that God would clear up the skies.

At about 10:30am, the sun began to shine, and I had hope that I was really going to be getting on that plane.  When they announced we were boarding, I almost cried.  I took a picture of the plane and posted it on FB so people could rejoice with me that I was going home!!

I slept the whole way, and when I awoke, we were in Dallas- earlier than expected, at 1:45pm!  I felt an incredible amount of relief and thanked God for the safe journey.  However, I knew I wouldn't fully rejoice until I actually pulled up into my driveway; this trip had already shown me that every leg of traveling was up for grabs.

Boy, was I right.  I got off the plane, walked to baggage claim, and waited, and waited, and waited.  After about 30 minutes with no bags appearing on the conveyor belt, a lady walks in and announces, "Sorry ladies and gentlemen, there is a jam on the conveyor belt.  We are working on it.  Thanks for your patience."  I laughed.  "Patience" was the operative word this week!

While I waited, I was able to secure communication to my girls through friends that I was really coming home but was running late, I enlisted help in getting some extra Halloween candy since I had forgotten to purchase it, and a friend was going to pick up some Korean food for me to eat so I'd have energy for the party!  Things were coming together; I just needed to get home!!

I finally got my luggage and was racing to my car.  I was SO ready to rip out of the airport!  I tried to unlock the car with my remote, but nothing happened.  I pressed it again- no beep.  I then manually unlocked the car and got in.  I thought it was strange that no lights turned on; what was going on?  I tried to start the car- nothing.  No engine, no sound, nothing.  I froze; this couldn't actually be happening. . . my car won't start?  What??  God, really, is there some reason you don't want me to go home??

I called Todd; no answer.  I then decided, "You know what?  I need to get home.  I am leaving my car here and getting in a cab right now."  So I posted my dilemma on FB because it was too crazy not to report, and then got in a cab headed out of the airport.  About a minute later, I got a message from my friend John who was 3 miles from the airport and said he could jumpstart my car.  I couldn't believe it!  I immediately told the cab to turn around and take me straight to my car in the parking garage.  I paid him for his time, and then waited for John.

He was there within minutes and had everything he needed to get my car started!  The only weird thing was that my car would not stop honking.  John was trying to figure out how to stop it, but I said I didn't care if it honked all the way home; I was driving it ASAP!  He turned the car off and started it again several times, and finally the honking stopped.  I thanked him profusely and he made sure I drove out safely to the exit.

It was now about 3:15pm.  I was going to make it to the party!!  I just prayed nonstop that I would not get into an accident on my way home. . .

I drove into my driveway at 3:45pm, and as soon as I got there, the doors flew open and my girls were ready for hugs!  I held them tightly and told them how much I loved them and missed them, and they said the same through tears.  They were so excited I was home for the Halloween party, so we got changed quickly and started setting everything up outside.  People started to trickle in around 4, and it was a great party with lots of celebrating!  Several friends came up and told me that they had been stalking me on Facebook for updates, or that I was the topic of conversation at work, or that they considered themselves weather experts on Superstorm Sandy now, just because I was there.  A few admitted that they really were scared that I wasn't coming back, but they didn't want to say anything to me at the time.  It was so interesting to hear others' perspectives on my trip and how they handled the stress;  I was touched by all their stories and glad to have a happy ending to the madness!

At the end of the night, I practically fell over from exhaustion, but I gave thanks to God for my family, friends, and even Facebook for getting me home, supporting me through the scariest night of my life, and being part of a story that I'll never forget as long as I live!  Each kind stranger, every text, phone call, FB note, or private prayer for me during those few days was critical and sustained me, truly.  I may never know how many people prayed for my safety, but I can tell you I'm here because of it.  This whole blog series has been a way for me to process what happened, but also to thank everyone in my life who cared so much and showered me with love!

Sunday, November 4, 2012

The Trip out of Frankenstorm: Part 5 (Gabby saves the day!)

So, how would I get from NYC to Philly?  No planes were flying out of La Guardia, the subways were flooded and no buses were traveling, but Amtrak was selling tickets.  I purchased a ticket that left at 7am which would leave me plenty of time to get there for the 11:20am flight to Dallas.  I breathed a sigh of relief.

We got a call from Ken and Angie saying that they could barely find a taxi to drive them back to Battery Park City since the roads were flooded, so we should just stay where we were in Midtown for dinner.

Peter and I decided to go out to dinner- to Korean BBQ of course!  We left around 7:30pm, hoping the lines might be shorter, and they were a little.  We enjoyed an awesome meal and he introduced me to soju (Korean vodka).  I had never had it before, and Peter said if I wanted to remain his sibling, I must enjoy some with him.  I was getting to know all sorts of things about Peter that I hadn't before this trip!

When we got home, I got a phone call; Amtrak was canceling all trains due to flooding in the tunnels.  I freaked out again; I was desperate to get home.  I called every airline to see who was getting to Philly; at one point I was going to rent a car to drive 2 hours to Scranton (yes, the Office hub) to fly out to Philly.  When I told Peter my plan, he looked at me like I was crazy and said, "Tam, stop and think!  The roads are flooded, it's dangerous, you could get stuck somewhere out there all by yourself.  Just stay here another day and be safe."  I shook my head adamantly and said, "I can't!!  It's unacceptable!!  I WILL find a way to Philly!!"

After about 2 hours of researching and calling around for options, I finally admitted defeat.  It was about 12:30am, and I called my neighbor Stephanie (who is a night owl too) and told her that I wasn't going to make it to the Halloween block party after all.  We went over some details of what time things were being set up at the house, where my girls costumes were in their rooms so she could help change them, other odds and ends.  Since all the flyers had said the party was held at my address (and there was no way to inform the whole subdivision that it was changing locations on the day of), we decided to keep everything stationed there, but she would come over and help set up, letting everyone know I was stuck in NY.  I remember saying, "I can't believe I won't be there after all this planning.  I can't believe I have to tell my kids I'm not coming home again.  I just need to get to Philly; there MUST be a way!" when I got a text from my college friend Gabby who lives in Philly.  I shrieked a little and told Stephanie I'd call her back once I talked with Gabby.  My heart was racing; I knew this wasn't coincidence.

And it wasn't!  Gabby was working at the hospital, and her charge nurse had almost sent her home at 7pm.  Gabby's power was out at home, so had she gone home then, she would have missed my Facebook post pleading for help to get to Philly!  Instead, she was there at the hospital and finished around 1am, checked her email and Facebook to find out how things were going with the storm.  She saw my post and immediately texted me, asking if I was still awake.  I texted back "YES!" and then called her.  She said, "I'll come get you and bring you to the airport right now."  My mouth dropped open; I couldn't believe it!  I hesitated and asked, "Gabby, that's a 2-hour drive, and it's in the middle of the night.  Are you sure?"  She said, "I'm already driving and on my way!  Where can we meet?  Just find a place that's not in Manhattan so we don't get stuck there."  

I had tears of joy and gratitude; I couldn't believe God had arranged a personal ride from a good friend that I hadn't seen in 15 years to be my way out to Philly.  He had shut all the other doors of transportation so I could ride in a car and catch up with Gabby Brinton!!  I laughed when I visualized myself like a child throwing a tantrum screaming, "I need it NOW!" and God holding me tightly saying, "Just wait a little longer and trust me- I've got it all figured out for you."

Peter was in shock too and said, "Now that is a good friend."  Poor guy was so exhausted but waited up for me as I took a shower, got my stuff ready to go, and was trying to figure out where we could meet up that would be a safe place.  I certainly didn't want to be standing around somewhere in NYC in the dark!  We were looking for 24-hour CVS Pharmacy locations across the Lincoln Tunnel (the only dry tunnel) into New Jersey, but none of them were answering the phones.  Finally I chose a parking lot of a supermarket in Weehawken, NJ as our meeting place and called Gabby with the location.

I gave Peter a big hug and said thanks for everything during this whole time, and he went to bed; it was about 3am.  I got a cab on my own outside the building and prayed for the best.  We drove through the tunnel and on the other side into New Jersey, it was pitch black.  There were no lights on anywhere, and the only way we could see was through the help of a few police car sirens lighting the way.  We wouldn't be able to find this supermarket, so I called Gabby and she said there was a McDonalds that was open by the JFK turnpike in Weehawken.  We got there safely and I had the cab driver take our picture; it was a HUGE blessing to see her!

What we didn't know until later was that most of lower Manhattan, Hoboken, and Staten Island had flooded and there were no cabs driving out of NY to NJ.  There were even some reports of flooding in Weehawken the next day, but somehow, by God's grace, He made a way for me to get a cab and drive out on dry land to NJ in the dark.

Gabby and I picked up some coffee at McDonald's and then started on the road.  We laughed that we were both pulling an all-nighter like we used to in college!  We chatted about what we did after college, talked a bit about our mutual friend Gloria who had passed away in August, and told each other what life was like now being married with kids; we picked up naturally like we had just seen each other yesterday.  Friendships like that are so rare!  2 hours went flying by, and we arrived at the Philadelphia Airport at about 5am.  I gave her a huge hug and told her I would never, ever forget what she did for me.  She said it was exciting for her to be part of the adventure, and that she knew how much I wanted to get home so she was glad to help.  I still couldn't believe that she was willing to drive for 4 hours in the middle of the night, after work, and not even hesitate about it for a second.  If you know her, you know how special she is.  And if you don't, I hope that you will have the honor of meeting her someday.  I am blessed to have a friend like Gabby!

The Trip out of Frankenstorm: Part 4 (Gotta get to Philly- again!!)

Somehow it was morning (Tuesday Oct. 30), and we survived Hurricane Sandy!!  I thanked God when I awoke and saw that the windows were not blown in, that the sky was calm, and the city was still intact.  Dez and I did some more dancing to M.C. Hammer's "Can't Touch This" with the sock monkey, and my brother Peter, the budding DJ, showed me how to use his turntable to mix songs together and we had some fun!  We thought we should create a "Sandy Mix" of songs as a souvenir of our experience.  He showed me some awesome mixes of "Gangnam Style" with "Call Me Maybe" and other unusual choices!

Ken and Angie found out that miraculously, their building in Battery Park City did not lose power even though much of the area did.  Again, coincidence?  Or the power of prayer?  They planned to return to their place right away and began packing.

I got a phone call that my flight out that night was canceled.  No surprise; I waited on hold again to figure out how I was going to get home.  I finally booked a flight that went out Wednesday morning (Halloween) from La Guardia to Philadelphia at 9:15am, then from Philadelphia to Dallas at 11:20am, which would get me home by 2:00pm.  That was perfect since I would make it to our Halloween block party AT MY HOUSE by 4pm.  This party had been planned for months, with flyers going out to everyone in our subdivision about our bounce house, karaoke cab, and Halloween treats.  I could NOT miss this!!

We said good-bye to Ken, Angie, and Dez, and planned to meet them for dinner at their place later that night.  Peter and I went outside to see if anything was open for lunch- in Korea-town, of course.  We were shocked at the sheer amount of people out!  Every restaurant had a line out the door.  We tried waiting at a Korean BBQ restaurant and struck up a conversation with the guy in front of us who said that everyone from lower Manhattan was headed to where there was power; Korea-town was on 32nd and still had power, so this was the spot!

Peter and I decided to just grab something from Cafe R next to his apartment.  It's like a mini Whole-Foods with prepared meals ready to go; since they had kept power, they were exploding with customers too.  We finally got our meals, ate in the lounge, relaxed and talked for a while.

When we returned back to the room, I got a phone call that my flight was canceled.  I officially started to freak out.  Peter was laughing at me as I started jumping around in the room saying, "No!!!  I CANNOT stay here another day!!  I have GOT to get home!!"  

I convinced US Airways to let me keep the connecting flight from PA to TX; the person on the phone asked, "How are you going to get to Philly?" and I said, "Don't worry about it.  I will get there.  You  just make sure I get back to Dallas."

I was on a mission.  I HAD to get back to Philly.  Wait, didn't I say this just a few days ago?  But this time there was more urgency.  I had spoken to my girls and told them mommy was going to be home for Halloween since they were in tears about me being gone for so long.  Both Chloe (9) and Sophie (6) had vomited during the last 2 days, and Ellie (11) was feeling a lot of pressure to take care of them and be the "mom."  I could not let them down and miss the party that we had all planned together, and they were counting on me to be there for our family costume: Psy (Todd), his Korean dancer (obviously me), Katy Perry (Ellie), Pink (Chloe), and Taylor Swift (Sophie).  I couldn't bear the thought of telling them that I would be here another day!  I needed a miracle!

The Trip out of Frankenstorm: Part 3 (Sandy's Fury and Facebook Frenzy)

Once my perspective had changed on the storm, Dez woke up from his nap about 4pm, and we all decided to get out of the room for a while.  We went down to the 7th floor where there was a lounge, pool table, gym, and basketball court.  Ken and Peter shot some hoops and I took a walk on the treadmill.  Dez ran around with a ball in the gym too, so we all got some energy out.  We thought about staying there longer to play pool and relax with some coffee, but then changed our minds quickly when we considered the idea that if the power went out soon, we'd have to walk 44 flights of stairs back to our room!

Once we got back to our room about 5pm, we could see the bright lights of the city from our windows through the rain.  Seeing life around me made me feel a bit safer, knowing that we weren't alone.  I could even see the World Trade Center lights again through the clouds, which was comforting.

Ken, Peter, and Angie began making our "last supper": spaghetti with vegetables and meat sauce.  I was babysitting Dez while they cooked- a nice break for them and for me!  We prayed, thanking God for our meal and the time we had together.  We kept the news on so we could watch what was happening throughout the city.  Battery Park City was beginning to flood, Jersey Shore and Atlantic City were slammed really hard, and we watched in horror as personal videos were streaming in of a Carnival cruise ship that was riding huge waves and batting water in cabins.

I decided to keep a closer record on Facebook of what was happening in the storm so that my friends and family could be informed and pray for us.  I committed to writing an update even if I began flying through the air!

At about 8pm, we saw on the news that Sandy had ripped off the face of an apartment building in Chelsea, just a few blocks south of us.  I asked people to pray harder for our safety now that we knew Sandy was really approaching.  I immediately received prayers, notes, texts and Bible verses from friends, which was a huge comfort.  It almost felt like with every bit of communication, someone was there with me, helping me walk through the most frightening experience of my life.

We started to feel the building shake and creak with the wind.  The windows sounded like they were popping a bit, and the lights began flickering.  Peter and I cautiously looked out the window and saw that most of lower Manhattan had lost power; there were no more lights on in the World Trade Center towers.  I felt more unnerved at that moment; I looked to those towers for a sense of normality, and it wasn't there anymore.

As we sat and braced ourselves for more of Sandy's fury, we saw that the doors to the bedroom were slowly swinging back and forth on their own because the building was swaying.  Someone texted me to take a look at the toilet water to see if it was moving on its own, and it was!  We decided to shut the doors to the bedrooms and stay in the main living room where there were no windows in case they all came crashing down.  The doors then began to rattle on their own as the building continued shaking.  The wind whipped around us and the building literally moaned.

I remembered that a man in the elevator had told me to keep a glass of wine on the table to see if the wine or the glass would move on its own.  It seemed the right time now to put it out on our table as a way to judge how much our building was shaking, and when I posted what we were doing, someone replied, "And when it starts moving, drink it!"

Peter received an email from the building manager that they were shutting down the elevators; we were now stuck on the 51st floor and the only way out would be to walk.  We then got a call from ComEd saying that there our power would be going out soon and to be prepared.  The lights flickered a little more; I posted on Facebook to pray that we would not join those whose power had been lost.  We waited, and waited, and waited.

The power never went out.  Miraculously, the power was out from 30th street down.  We were on 31st street and kept our power, but some buildings even north of us lost power.  Coincidence?  Or an answer to prayer?  You be the judge.

We weren't sure if everything had subsided, but we decided to shut off the news and start watching one show we all enjoy: The Voice.  We needed to get our mind off things and we talked about all the different contestants in the battle rounds of the competition as we viewed the previous week's episode.

About an hour or so later, we opened the doors to the bedrooms again to look out the windows.  Most of Manhattan was pitch black with loss of power; we couldn't believe how different the city looked without the lights.  You could see sirens sprawling out over the city; I could only imagine what was going on in the dark, dead of night in New York City.  I prayed for those people who were probably much more frightened now than we were.

We put our hands on the windows and we could feel the pressure of the wind against us; it was incredibly forceful.  The windows still made crazy popping sounds, like any second they would crack!  My brother Ken said in his signature chill manner, "Yeah, I think we got past the storm.  I'm going to bed."  And with that, everyone went to their rooms.

Except me.  There was NO WAY I was sleeping in a room with floor to ceiling windows making popping noises all night!!  I "slept" on the couch in the living room and videotaped the creepy creaking noises and popping for my girls to hear when I got home.  When I replayed the video, it really looked like a Halloween horror movie!  Frankenstorm certainly lived up to its name!

Friday, November 2, 2012

The Trip Out of Frankenstorm: Part 2 (Turning Point)

Monday morning (Oct. 29), I received a call that my rescheduled flight was canceled due to the storm.  I stayed on the phone for about 2 hours to get a live person to reschedule it again for Tuesday night, and I canceled all my lessons for Tuesday.

My nephew Dez waddled into my room with his blankie and pacifier, and we played for a while.  He is a techie genius, able to navigate my iPhone with incredible precision for a 2-year-old!  I had bought him a sock monkey the night before that sang "Can't Touch This" by M.C. Hammer, and Dez would laugh hysterically when he pressed the button for the sock monkey to start dancing like a maniac.  I usually only get to see Dez twice a year, so spending this extra bonding time with him was such a gift!

After a while, my brothers and I looked out the window and could see the clouds getting darker and gathering closer together.  We were on the 51st floor of Peter's apartment building, which gave us incredible views of lower Manhattan and parts of New Jersey.  Peter and I joked that we would be citizen journalists that day, posting pictures on Facebook so everyone could see real time events.

We turned on the TV and watched the reports that said the storm would get worse around the afternoon/evening, so we decided to go out and walk around a bit to get some fresh air.  It was about 10am at the time.  Dez loved walking the streets of New York and dancing in the blowing wind!  We were amazed at how empty the streets were; barely anyone was driving or walking.  You could stand in the middle of the street and it would be several minutes until you saw a car come through.

We ended up going back to our favorite place to eat: Korea-town.  Korea-town in New York is heaven on earth for me; it offers different Korean restaurants- Korean BBQ, dumpling houses, soup/tofu restaurants, Korean bakery and dessert shops- anything and everything Korean for several blocks straight!  Most of K-town was open and had power, so we went to a place known for its soups, perfect for the weather.

When we left lunch around 12:30pm, the wind had definitely picked up and it was now raining pretty hard.  We walked about 5 minutes back to Peter's apartment and went straight to the big windows to get the larger view.  I was surprised to see how close the clouds were to the buildings, and it looked like they were coming right at us.  We heard that the wind was traveling about 75-80 miles an hour, and saw on the news that a crane on one of the buildings 20 blocks south of us had snapped in half, dangling precariously off the top of a high rise condo.  As the news anchor was outside explaining the situation, the windows in the car next to her suddenly shattered from the wind.  My mind tried to register that the wind was really that strong, and I looked at the floor to ceiling windows in our apartment with a bit more trepidation.

At about 2pm, Dez needed to take a nap, so we all went to our separate rooms to rest a bit.  I couldn't get myself to sleep at all.  I kept looking out the window, watching the clouds begin to snake through the buildings and whip around the patio furniture on the rooftops.  The clouds were so thick that they would cover the visibility of the buildings as it got closer.  I could no longer see the World Trade Center towers anymore or New Jersey, and my view of the city was cut in half.  That's when it suddenly occurred to me that I might not make it out of New York.  That thought began to spiral into a storm of its own, picking up speed with questions about what my kids would do without me, how I would say good-bye to the people I love, if I had lived my life to the fullest, what would death actually look like if the storm broke this building in half and my body went flying out in the streets of NY. . .

In tears, I prayed to God to help me with my fear, and He did.  I felt Him say to me, "I am bigger than this storm."  I smiled when I realized that was true; He IS bigger than this storm!  There was no need to bargain for my life, "If you get me out of this, I will commit to ____."  If He wanted me to be in this storm, He would be the one to take me out of it, in His way, in His time, in His power.  In my heart, I came to terms with the fact that I'd be going home: either to my heavenly home or to my earthly one.  I didn't need to fear because I knew where I was headed and my hope rests in the One who created my life and can take it away.

From that point on, I looked at the storm in awe and wonder, not with fear.  I saw it as a testament of God's incredible power and strength, and it allowed me to worship Him through the storm.  I remembered the famous line in The Lion, The Witch, and The Wardrobe where Mr. Beaver answers little Lucy's question about the King of Narnia, Aslan.  She asks if he's safe, and he replies, "Safe?  Who said anything about safe?  But he's good."  I thanked God that He is good, all the time, and that if these were indeed my final hours, I was grateful to be with my brothers, sister-in-law, and nephew, in this 3-bedroom apartment in NYC all to ourselves, with the wide views to see His awesome handiwork in the sky.  I could feel His presence with me, more than I had ever before.

Thursday, November 1, 2012

The Trip Out of Frankenstorm- Part 1 (Change of plans)

Saturday (Oct. 27th) was spent sightseeing in Philly, catching up with my cousins (who are really like my brothers and sisters), and celebrating my cousin Aaron's wedding that evening.  The entire day was beautiful outside, and there was talk of the impending storm as the night drew to a close.  Most of my family had purchased tickets for flights out in the morning, but because I rarely saw my brothers in NY, I had purchased a ticket that left La Guardia at 7pm so I could make the most of the day in the Big Apple with them.

On Sunday (Oct. 28th), Hurricane Sandy was already on its way; you could see the dark clouds beginning to gather, and though my parents' flights to Chicago were delayed, they left NY successfully later that afternoon.  At about 2pm, I got a phone call that my flight had been canceled due to the weather conditions and I needed to call back to reschedule.  (My flight was connecting in North Carolina where the storm was expected to hit first.)  The hard part was that over 6,800 flights were being canceled all over the East Coast due to "Frankenstorm," so trying to get a live person was at least an hour wait on the phone.

We rebooked my flight for Monday evening, pending the weather.  My brother Peter said I could stay with him in his 3-bedroom apartment in Midtown Manhattan (31st and 7th) since his roommates were on vacation in Europe.  Perfect!  Once I called my husband to let him know what was going on and canceled all my piano lessons for Monday, I embraced this unexpected change in plans and was excited to spend more time with Peter.  A few hours later, my brother Ken found out that his building in Battery Park City was under mandatory evacuation because of its proximity to the water and potential flooding.  Peter graciously offered to have Ken, his wife Angie, and son Dez stay with him too for the evening since they had to leave their place for the night.

We all did a little grocery shopping before getting together that night, and the lines at Duane Reade, CVS, Whole Foods, and other stores were snaking out into the streets as people were preparing for the worst.  While at CVS, we picked up water, fruit, nuts, breakfast bars, and of course some wine.  I also purchased Halloween plates and napkins to appropriately commemorate Frankenstorm's arrival!

The weather really wasn't bad that night, just a little cloudy and rainy, so we ended up eating out in Koreatown in case we had to be holed up the next day.  We lightly discussed our stages of survival in terms of food: 1) eat out as much as we can before the storm hits too hard, 2) if forced to stay indoors, eat the planned menu for the next day 3) if forced to stay inside for several days and all our groceries run out, raid the roommates' pantry stash 4) if desperate with no food left, break into Cafe R (like a mini-Whole Foods) located next door to Peter's apartment!