Makinde Adedapo and Ayorinde Iranlowo-Ifatunji

Recorded December 26, 2019 Archived December 26, 2019 39:01 minutes
0:00 / 0:00
Id: chi003219


Makinde Adedapo (37) talks to his sister, Aryorinde Iranlowo-Ifatunji (23) about growing up, moving to New York, and her relationship to spirituality.

Subject Log / Time Code

Ayorinde discusses what family members were especially formative for her.
Makinde asks Ayorinde to explain what it is she does for work.
Ayorinde speaks on the dynamic between her and her older siblings.
Ayorinde discusses growing up on the south side of Chicago.
Makinde discusses witnessing the trend toward spirituality while teaching in schools.
Ayorinde talks about her relationship to her creativity and the intruments she played.
Makinde asks if Ayorinde have been bad for her generation. Ayorinde thinks yes.
Ayorinde explains how her experience in college. She also discusses what it feels like to be an aunt. She loves it.
Ayorinde thinks about her father's legacy.


  • Makinde Adedapo
  • Ayorinde Iranlowo-Ifatunji

Recording Locations

Chicago Cultural Center

Venue / Recording Kit



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00:05 My name is i r e n d e r on the wall if I tune G I am 23 years old. Today's date is Thursday December 26th, 2019 and we're in Chicago, Illinois. My interview partner is my big brother Maquina de adedapo. Yes. I am. I am 37 now 3 days 4 days until December 26th 2019 around so hey big sis. What's up? Hello. How are you?

00:49 Several different stories, you know if we just finished with Marcy and Naima today and I shall be you know slated. So anyway, I'm kind of going to pick around a couple different places that have similar questions that I asked them right, but when the first was I'm always really interested in cuz you are the youngest of us and I got to see you like as a baby baby and I can remember you as a baby baby. Where as I shall be. I have some memories of what he was like as a baby but the older I get the less of those I have rights. I just have like a large long list of memories of you is like a little baby all the way up to being an adult now, right but what I've always wondered like outside of your, you know, our father's side of the family who were some of your life baby relatives coming up on your mom's side.

01:37 Well, my mom number one. She's the homie. I would also say my grandma so she had a very large secondary role in my upbringing and the take me to piano lessons and guitar lessons and every lesson Under the Sun like involving music. I was in Chicago Children's Choir for a while. I would always go to her house after school while my mom was still at work. So she definitely is is one of my favorite people in my mom because she's my mom and she's a homie and she has definitely just, you know made me into the person I am today pretty much what I thought you didn't cuz you know, how many cousins then there were here in the city when you leave

02:30 No, I didn't so I had cousins in Boston and New York and my younger cousin hadn't been born yet. So it was kind of just me kicking it with my grandma all the time dig it dig it. So someone of things I remember about you as a baby maybe not so much as a baby that you were like, maybe 5 or 6 in this particular time is there was a we were going up to Milwaukee. I still cannot remember who these people were but somebody my mom or by somebody had organized somebody to take us up to Milwaukee and I was sitting in the front.

03:06 Only one person in the car cuz you were in the back and

03:11 Or maybe it was too. I don't know. All I remember is this signature moment where there were two people are you are you are aware of two people or whoever this person was you were wearing for their partner was and you were aware that they were together how God and we were sitting and you know, just kind of politely chatting on the way up and then you like very like not even starting me like in a mean way but a very direct way you would like us was that your girlfriend doesn't like you. Do you all live together and they were like, yeah and you were like, how come you're not married? Like if you were adamantly like locked into the idea that like that like what's going on here? What's why aren't they married so I can tell that story because that's always been to me something about you that you've always been very upfront and open with wanting to know stuff like it's never been a thing like we should I ask cuz it's always been pretty much you really do that more now than ever before but you always just been like

04:11 Why is you know why they down there doing that? Are they supposed to be doing that? You've never had any problems putting people on.

04:23 I've always been a very curious human being and I think one of the reasons that I do really love and appreciate my mom is her sort of openness and my curiosity right so she was really receiving of that. And so that's why I grew up just kind of being blunt about everything like so wise that or macinda is this someone's don't know I already made that actually actually not shontel. Brittany. So I think I think it's a lot having to do with just my my curiosity for life and trying to better understand and I think that's also just morphed into how I I live my life now even fast-forwarding all the way there now in the soundtrack we were talking about you now live in New York and you work at a company will just say you work a company and one of the running jokes to be very honest with with other siblings that you may or may not be aware of is that

05:23 I constantly have to ask ourselves because I don't actually do we know that she has a job. You know, that's a real job. We know it's a regular not like she's got to do stuff and it's important as big stuff going on but we don't know what it is. So like maybe give like just a description of like the average day in the life of Irene de yeso. I work in customer success my service there two different things customer success is basically when you are an account management, so basically I have a book of clients in my case. It's one large client that has many different properties underneath it. And I typically inform on their digital marketing strategy and drive both email newsletter growth and subscription revenue for their business. So basically it's maybe three different facets, right its strategy, right? What type of a B test are we going to run? And what types of insights are we going to get in?

06:23 How do I pitch that to the client to make them like it so that we can run it and then drive our Revenue be all that makes it sounds like it's just second nature to you. I missed most and the second part is, you know building large impact and opportunities to act right? So at the end of each month or the end of the three months in our case because the client is just so large. So many Brands I basically pull together all the stats and all the campaign performance and then inform on next steps. We sort of have this running dialogue is a lot about client relationship management, right and building Rapport quite honestly because I work with you know, people who are 10 15 20 years older than me and they are taking directions from me the 23-year old straight out of college. I try not to ever tell them yet. Don't ever makes me feel good.

07:23 I guess everything is just a very technical side which is like campaign troubleshooting. So if anything goes wrong on their websites, and if anything breaks, cuz we at this point have tons and tons of bonsai campaigns running on their websites. So if anything breaks or building campaigns as well, so it's a highly technical skill that I also have and sort of configuring all these different, you know lines of code and things like that to make a man's work only a little bit Yeah, I learn to because that's just how are back into work. Now he want to do that. I always thought that was like Star Trek bike super level of Genius blockchain know I know I know I know when I first heard of coding when coating first became Oak term that they were letting the public know about that was like secret CIA information for a long time.

08:23 Don't even understand why you were born in 96, right? So even at that time having a computer in your house was kind of a standard thing, right but there was a point where the computer industry was almost like a closed sector because it was too many Trade Secrets related to who's doing what and and those little small how do you know changes and cold meant the difference in a patent or trademark of whatever see it at always thought that was like space-age like knowledge. I do now know having thought high school and you know experience pyramid a little bit that coding is not nearly as difficult as we probably tend to think about it. But anyway, so so you and eyes relationship in the in the sibling relationship is a little unique mostly mention this he said that was what he finds interesting about our group is that all of us particularly you me and him

09:19 I'ma definitely most and I shall be in some ways. I have the experience of both having felt like an only child while at the same time having experiences. Well, we felt while we felt clearly as a sibling, right so his plane was like when he was when I was born he and I live together in Maywood, right? And then Brown time, I was born he moved Oakland so that mean I'm a Shabby Maywood and then they moved up Milwaukee and then you were born and then you live here in Chicago. So you and I spent a lot more time and your childhood then you did what any of that right but you also we're only child in your mom's house for the most part, right? So I hadn't really thought about that quite honestly I thought about the fact that we've all had different waves of relationship and I really hadn't thought about the only child a spec maybe talk about that little bit like what was that like to be like an only child and 90s, you know while you were growing up?

10:19 That kind of the turn of the Millennium in like, you know, you were on the southside of Chicago. There's a lot of stuff going on over there. But just what is what is that like to you? What do you remember about that experience of being an only child vs. Also having four siblings, but not really residing in the same household or having a lot of direct contact with him at all times. I low-key think it was kind of The Best of Both Worlds cuz like I'm the only child but then I'm the baby a five siblings. Like everybody called me. It was great and they still do so, I think in that regard it was it was interesting though, because when I was younger right I wasn't as close to you all as I am now, right so growing up a really really was that that feeling of only child so lonely at times like I knew I had siblings but it just wasn't as deep of a connection as we all do have now because we were younger and everybody was kind of difference is crazy.

11:19 Exactly exactly. So I mean, I think it was great in a lot of aspects. I mean, I was just such a nerd her child and you all make fun of me for this all but I was and but then again it's like stepping into adulthood. I then started having a lot more guidance and influence, you know from my for older siblings and that has really really helped me just threw my day-to-day life, right because I have four people who are 8 between 8 and 20 years older than you would all these different perspectives helping me through stuff that like, they probably didn't have somebody to go to when they were going through this but like now I have all of this right so it's a really unique situation that I really appreciate.

12:18 Now because for me it was reversed for me, I went from being Ian I was for 5 and mostly move to Oakland. It's a lot the the Dynamics of our brother or old my older brother relationship with him at that time is kind of foggy to me. Now, you know what? I mean? I hear the stories and I see a couple pictures and I kind of have some vision of it. But for the most part I remember being the oldest of you in all three sibling, you know crew and then when they moved in Milwaukee, I then learned what it was like to be an only child and I agree with you. It is hard to say that is not some form of the best of both world.

12:57 I think it's probably an interesting study to get into to find out about when those time frames work cuz like for you it was in your primary ages for the most part through where it's from me. I went from older brother. The only child in my life Teenage age is right. So there's probably some interesting Dynamics and all that but back to to that kind of a relationship kind of grew out of that help, you know, give give me a memory of that you remember of your childhood when when you were younger with me cuz I feel like we've had we share a different memories store in our brains.

13:34 Wow, a memory should prepare me for this anything like you were always like

13:51 My big brother write and edit that sounds very like General. But the way I saw it is that I had these other siblings and I kind of more so considered half-siblings at the time because I really didn't see them that off and then I have my key back or Mighty day as I used to be affectionately called you when I could not pronounce k o I think in that regard, it's like I just remember you always being my point person like my go to the connector between for me and our father because there was such a cute age difference there and the person that I would probably lean on the most right so you or like my guy you were the one I was always hauling no matter what age I was at like that was consistently, you know, though I got closer to everyone else as I got older like you would initially were like my person like, that's my brother. That's my big brother. Let nobody can't tell me nothing about that.

14:51 So I think just like early on I think that you were the person that I form the bond with first that was extremely strong and it has never broken since true true. That was fun to have you around. You're such a smart kid. I just one thing to have a cute, you know little sister that you can kind of hang around with that cool. But then she smart as it makes it so much easier. I have to say nothing, you know, the other part of our upbringing right as I was like both of our parents were, you know, really cultural right? So our dad's bottle owl, you know heavy kind of Yoruba influence and a specific approach to you know, the I mean when an appellate a spiritual but just like a cultural approach to life right in your mom is well, right. So what was that like for Yummy, you know all of us have kind of told stories of like the Maywood house but you grew up them that you know on the in South South Chicago house, right? So it's like we all had those experience with our parents made us put on bathroom clothes and go places and do stuff.

15:51 Like this, what was that like for you?

15:53 I think it was.

15:56 No, I just kind of it was kind of my normal at the time. It was one of those things. I think it did when I got older. I think that like initially when I was younger, which is why I am we're going to go to so-and-so's Grande or whatever the case may be. Right and I think initially when I was younger, I was very much like it. This is this is what we do, you know, it was only as I got older was I kind of like, okay.

16:26 Spell religion things.

16:30 Maybe maybe not and so I think you know it I feel like as you know, it kind of Vibes with everyone in different ways and sort of people over time have you know, I've seen you all over time or make the religion work for you as you know in the way that you need to for me. I told her only found that yet to be honest. So I'm I'm more so like what the Millennials like to say and spiritual told her. I was like I had this isn't particularly Vibe with me in the way that I feel like my older siblings live with it or you know, maybe they had a different experience but I'm I'm still very much like rooted and respectful of the Caldera right? I still use, you know, just recently as you know, if y'all love to joke on the Marco Polo chat, like I went to using my full name because I owe doesn't feel right eye or

17:30 Because that is my full name and that is who I am and I am Joy Wok sitting right? So, you know, it's I think it's about finding the aspects that really work for you and you know taking what that is an old am I did this interview Sunday with this gentleman and Utah and he brought that up we were talking about that and I was like, you know, I found it astounding when I was in high out of teaching high school this week 2018 shall be as right as you are. You graduated the same year that group I had for like you were at this would have been around the same time you were in high school like your freshman year. 2008 butt to butt in any case part of my entry survey for these students to find out more about him so I can kind of put a better picture of who's in the room and all that would be do you brought any particular religious or cultural thing that you don't just say something about yourself, you know in that regard and overwhelmingly each class, maybe like 40 to 50% of each class. They are.

18:30 Would speak specifically to the idea that they don't particularly to subscribe to any one thing, right? So and you know, we do make the joke that this is something that Millennials say, but I watch that kind of pattern and some of the discussion is that or at least some discussion me and this gentleman had is that

18:51 When I think about it, when I was 14, the opportunities to learn about things were limited. There was the library be forced to go to there was you know, your parents the people around you and school for the most part and school at that time. They had really started to cut out of the spiritual in the religious conversation, right? You know, you have that are of who are we in documenting kids too early with stuff and you know what, I mean all that so so there wasn't a religious conversation and cultural conversation in schools. Right so fast forward to you know, you going in at 2010 and you all have so many ways to learn information. I remember the first day I found out there was an app for Yoruba language. I lost my mind because before I had to memorize all this stuff and all I had was whatever.

19:51 Baba ARA are the elders in the community gave me solta now have an app that I could just translate and speak your I thought it was most amazing thing in the world. Right? So I think that's part. I think that some of the the over and I also think like truthfully and this is something I experienced with my mom.

20:11 Some of the tenants of particular ancient religions are rooted in times where equality and fair treatment of people who was not exactly a part of the program. And so I do think that we are at a time now where people are investigating that as well. So I think that people are kind of a little bit less likely say this because it comes with a prescribed set of things and is prescribed history that you may or may not be fully in agreement with what was the only good things are going to ask you. Oh, so you you mention this little bit I remember to when you were coming up that you were you were heavily involved in like why are you were playing like piano lessons and stuff like that. I like your mom and bought you a piano for the house. Like what do you still have any like musical creative like interest or is it just something that was kind of something you did cuz you

21:11 I think it wasn't because I had to it think it was at that age my Mom and Grandma were really into just exposing me to as much as possible and I think music and the Arts is incredible way to sort of hone in on the right brain of children at an early age to really open up there their minds two things in Creative expression in a really important way. So, you know in terms of all the instruments I played I don't play any of them currently. I probably if I picked it up I could probably do it again. I mean I play piano for seven eight years and same with the other different instruments. So I'm not I don't play any instruments actively right now. I did sing and I still can sing but obviously it's not something you know, our sister. Does that more than I do, but I think it's just it's important in the sense that like

22:05 I

22:06 Exercise my creative rain at a really young age and that allowed me ways to sort of release anxiety, right? It makes me feel free. Like now I write a lot right? That's my creativity. That's you know, or I do yoga and that's an aspect even though it's you know, they got you through yoga for I can also do it on my own right and I am now like a new bar in Shafter. So I design my own sequences and I do all this branding and stuff for my own blog. Right? So it's I think that having that Foundation of just exploring the beer mind the way it works and not having some like single simple equation to apply it to write just being like go like write everything down that you want to drive and paint everything whatever comes to mind just do it. So that was really really important to me and I feel like if I didn't have that great of exposure at such an early age then

23:04 I don't know what I would do if I only like math and numbers like that. So he really says that the pseudocode her over here to math. I can do data. I don't love it, but I can do it. You've been doing this for years. What do you see? This is something like long game. Do you want to you know, operate your own firm in customer service, or is this something that it's not customer service? I know it's different to sound so close to us is very specific to like a business with a product that you're actively like men if it's essentially a managed service, right? So I wouldn't have a customer success, Oregon my own it would have to live within a larger company, but I think that really sure to be honest. I like what I'm doing now and exposes.

24:04 Need to a lot of different career Pathways that I could have access to once. You know, whenever I leave that company move on to something else. I think right now it's just about you know, getting a comfortable with as many facets of the business as I can because typically the customer success role at my company is like we're problem solvers for everything under the sun. Like I am interacting with the engineering team in the design team and then like thinking about strategies for myself and it's all this like one big pool of knowledge that you're constantly, you know gaming things from So currently I'm not really sure like I was just discussing as my friends over there and they're like, wow if you could have majored in something in college and not had to worry about success in like making money elsewhere, would you do not like honestly, I would not go to college. I'd be in Bali somewhere on a yoga retreat like, you know, but I think for now, I don't know at this point in my life.

25:04 And I mean, I'm trying to make that money regardless, so I'll figure out a way but I guess that's y'all sure you hear this. I know I used to hate it when I say this, but the difference with my childhood is that it wasn't that difference or this one framing it to say this so being born in 81. My generation was exposed to the rotary phone. There was no personal computers in the house. There was no internet obviously, no cell phone and obviously late eighties you start to see this first cell phones that are like suitcases and only like four Super Rich business people with private jets and stuff, right? You still don't have personal computers like we do now but increasingly they were more computers in home, but they were super limited as to what they could do. Like, they really want even video games that much and then you get in

26:04 The 90s and all the sudden the internet is starting to be developed but still used primarily as a business tool is really not a social to let all you got to buy like specific programs to do one specific thing. Right and they would send a little disk for the AOL free trial for you you 30 hours of free internet. But then again it was that much to do on the internet with that 30, but you of course we're all of you know that iPhones and iPods and internet and everything is now it is fully develop scope. Right? So, I guess what I want to know from you is do you see the cell phone? I'm sure you see the values of the current area that you live in in the air that you grew up here. But what do you think the current are the potential detractors or or has the cell phone and it's in a smartphone and I was hyper technology has it devalued anything in your

27:04 Spectre don't have solutely. My mental health is crazy because of technology and things like that. Like I firmly believe that if I didn't have a cell phone if I don't have a computer if I didn't have something stimulating my brain at all times. My anxiety levels would be way lower than then they are and I've learned to adapt right shout out there be a shout-out, you know, meditation apps and yoga and journaling and things that calm me down. But the same time I think that you know technology is great and it is allowed for so many things. Do you Blossom and flourish in the world that you know, we would never have seen before but at the same time it takes us away from being present. Right? And I think that presents is such a huge value and you know, today's world that we often don't even think about right so I noticed that in any given day if I'm not at work, you know, I'm riding home on the subway. I'm blasting music on Spotify in my area.

28:04 Odds and not trying to pay attention to the crazy man in the corner on the subway and then I get home and I'm tired and I kind of just want to sit down and watch Netflix, but it's like my brain never turns off and I noticed you know, and then I'll go and FaceTime my friend or something, right? So it's 10:30 p.m. And my brain is still hyperstimulated because I've been on technology all day, right and then I can't go to sleep and then I get less sleep than I planned on and I wake up in the morning kind of groggy like drink more caffeine and then that spicy anxiety levels, right? So it's I think that technology is wonderful, but we all at this point need to learn how to use it in a more mindful way. That's not going to be no sacrifice mental health. And what is there anything we can actually do at this point is only hyper increase at the half life of 22 months that has been doing the last 20 years at this point.

29:01 It's just practicing putting your phone down, which is so hard. It really hard. You know, I remember I know but during the times that I do right? I just have this practice when I was interning in California where I wake up in the morning at 6 a.m. My phone will be on airplane mode. I'd already have my meditation downloaded and I didn't take my phone off airplane mode until I got in the car at 8 a.m. To drive to work, right and those two hours of pretty much silence and just getting ready for work did my meditation get my lunch together talk to my roommate in the morning were so valuable and I was so much more at peace. Once I got to work and power down my MacBook and started my day, you know, so it's it's really about practicing self-control and I think the technology has shown us that like, we have horrible self-control sometimes, you know, it's like when I'm I've been on break for the last couple of days and mine do you like, New York?

30:01 Crazy when you know, you're in New York, right because there's always something to do with it. Always want to see I have my schedule is I I'm always doing something and so that I can very full life are great, but it's all so tiring and I get back home to Chicago and I'm in the bed watching my Sopranos marathons and you know having a Marvel movie marathon because Disney plus, you know, I'm over here like just grab my phone for no reason. I literally going to the same app. I just went to that. I just put back down to do the same thing that I just yeah exactly the physical reflex at this point exactly. So we need to learn how to control that because once we do that, I feel like everyone would just have way more clarity in their mind and in their hearts and you know in terms of anxiety with a lot of people suffer from at this point, I am sure that that would dramatically increase

31:01 Decrease sorry there's something else I want that I guess I'm going to ask this a little bit earlier, but you actually had a very unique kind of educational matriculation now outside of just going to a very, you know, well supported High School write your college path and I've. Have you describe because your experience you didn't do like the traditional undergrad go to 100 level 200 level 300 level 400 level classes get your degree a graduate it right? I describe what your college experience was like. Yeah. So I went to Northeastern University in Boston, Massachusetts, and it was a 5-year program where we could take up to what we would take six months off at a time to work full time in the field of our major. So, you know starting at 19 years old. I took you know, January through June of 2016 off from college to work full-time as a social media intern for a cybersecurity company like that was mine.

32:01 That was the first one was in Boston. Yeah, and the second one was a you know, you had an essentially all expenses paid internship in Silicon Valley which turned into a year-long thing because they liked my performance and things like that. So I would was able to work remotely the second half of that year. But basically it gave me full time work experience and sort of allowed me to be very well prepared for the job market. So when I did graduate early in December, so I ended up pushing up my graduation. So I graduated in four and a half years instead of 5, I got a job like two days later and moved to New York are so that's cool. I mention that because I do think that that style model is something I've always thought. It was something that one should happen in high school, or at least some element of should happen in high school.

33:01 Before they get to college but definitely because experience should be changed. Okay, so one other quick thing you have nieces now and then that you and what is what is it like for you cuz you're used to be in the baby. You're the you're the young lady. You're the one everybody, you know fawns over and all that. But now you have you no nieces and nephews that are going to be coming up and you know, what? Is that like for you? What is your what does that feel like for you? I think I just have so much love for all of them. So it's it's not like our man there get any attention now, but that's not how I feel at all. I think it's more so I'm excited to continuously nurture them along their Pathways of success, right? So, you know, I see now Lonnie the oldest of them and I see the way her mind works. I see how wonderful of an artist she is and I'm looking at you know looking to myself when it's time to be like, okay. What doors can I open for her, right?

34:01 Cuz like right now I'm having my own pathway of success in my own career and networking as I go and I'm like great. I'm so happy because then when my niece's need an internship with my nephew need something I'm going to tap on this person and say hey, this is them they're brilliant. Yeah, but yeah, it's like I'm I'm excited in the sense that you know, a lot of times when you grew up in a more underprivileged that I need help because you know, we're back in American people and you know, they're the white people are the people who all have all these connections and dislike girl got the idea that they were exposed to for sure. There's a lot of that right and I didn't have those connections growing up. I just got connections through my coffee experience at Northeastern right? So go to be able to be a resource for them, but not just in the career section, right? It's like just in life, right? You know, they their parents had a very different upbringing and I did and I looked to see

35:01 Pass on knowledge to my email my nieces and my nephew that you know is more open-hearted right? Like I feel like with me like I want to be the aunt that's like hey, let's talk about your feelings. How are you feeling? How's your heart feeling? What can we do? How can you more effectively communicate this to this person? You're having an issue with her. How can we sort of men that within you so that you don't have to be projecting XYZ on this island? So right so I think I also just look to be a role model in the sense that like feelings. They're okay right Christ. OK Bailey's they're okay or okay, all that stuff is it's okay to and I think that you know, just being someone who they can come to with Whatever Whenever you don't soar like how y'all are with me, right like it's taking a second for us all get to that point but being a resource for them and just being you know, also,

36:01 Fantasizing about like nalani and I'll be able to come into the city with me for a weekend like that is driving me crazy. But like it'll be fun. You know, they're going to be there going to be any I just I am a very nurturing like mothering human being my friends always make fun of me for that. And so I think I just like spreading that to them and be whatever they need me to be why we're getting close to the end here. It is. Our father's birthday. So the one question I asked mostly and I did I forgot to ask me anymore. But what do you think bye-byes Legacy, you know is or will be like what Legacy do you feel like he's left?

36:45 How the good question I feel like he's laughed.

36:53 I think that for me personally his legacy is pushing me to be more introspective about myself and who I am his influence on my life and sort of how that's pushed me to be a better person and so in terms of his legacy like it had his impact on me. I just say that you know, I have grown in ways that I probably would have never grown before had I not had him as a father right and that's what's really important to me. I was talking to someone about this the other day. I was like, I would actually never change, you know my experience with my father quite contrary to popular belief, but I I would never change my experience with him because I know that no matter what his contributions have made me into the person I am and I'm proud of the person I am so so yeah.

37:53 Sinus infection and I know you're not a big microphone in front of ask me questions for the great by the way, but now we're going to go ahead and wrap this thing on up. So love you much.