Choose Love: Extraordinary Love Stories

Laura + Michael | The Keys to Love

June 14, 2019 Choose Love Season 1
Choose Love: Extraordinary Love Stories
Laura + Michael | The Keys to Love
Show Notes Transcript

There's no such thing as a perfect love, but with perseverance and communication you can overcome almost any obstacle. Even after you fall in love, the world continues to spin around you and life continues to happen. With that comes trials and tribulations that will test and tempt you both. Sometimes it can be easy to give up and waive the white flag, but sometimes it's even better to hunker down and stand firmly together. Join us for a new episode with Michael and Laura as they share their love adventure with Stephen.

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Speaker 1:

[inaudible] .

Speaker 2:

Hello and welcome to the Tuzla podcast. I shared the chronicles, the extraordinary love of ordinary people. Our hope is that these stories will help inspire. So hashtag choose love. The podcast is presented by Ellen a dear your digital bridesmaid. We're here to take your squad moments to the next level and helped you generate your bridal style so you can focus on love. My name is Steve Hayden and I will be your host

Speaker 3:

[inaudible] .

Speaker 2:

This week we're on the west coast. Hearing the story of Laura and Michael, a couple who truly embody what it means to be able to follow your own heart and commit to your partner wholeheartedly. So let's start off with an introduction.

Speaker 4:

I'm Michael Stern and I'm Laura Stern and we've been married almost 35 years. It'll be 35 years in October, who was in August of 1981 I had just graduated college in June at the University of Arizona in Tucson and I had a couple of jobs and one of my jobs I had after I graduated, I still stayed in Tucson. I was working and one of my jobs, I was assistant manager for a movie theater and my manager, Mr [inaudible] said you will do the banking for the theater. The Bronx track will come pick up the cash , then you'll drive over to the bank and you'll be in a merchant room and you'll be one on one with the teller name. Laura is it? Okay. So we, I went the first time with him , he showed me the ropes and you're in there quite a few hours going through. It's just that the sit room get you your one on one with your teller going through and counting all the money on receipts. So the next week I went on my own and did the banking and it was wore out and I'm very shy so I stuck a note in with my deposits asking her out. And she , uh, you know, there were no cell phones or beepers or , or anything back then. So , uh , Laura called me at the theater.

Speaker 5:

I was seeing someone else at the time. And so I finally declined. And then I happened to go out with a friend who had , who ended up being our sister Ma . And we went out for dinner and we decided to just call Michael and see if we could go to the movies . So that's what we did. We called him and he said, sure, come on over. And we saw a Raiders of the lost star . Yeah, Yup . Indiana Jones. And then afterwards I asked him if you want , wanted to come out with us. We were meeting my brother and he said, sure. So we ended up going out together and I broke up with the guy. I was seen the next day. And we've been together ever since. So how did you break up with the guy? I literally took whatever he had. I had a Piss at our house. I was living with my parents and I went to his house and I dropped it off and I said, I just wanted to let you know that I'm breaking up with you. Here's your stuff. And I'm totally done now. Cause he used to [inaudible] . I used to break up with him and he'd cry and then I'd get back together with them. So Michael was like the nail in the coffin for him.

Speaker 6:

Wow. Michael , how did that make you feel? Cause that's, you know, wow, this lady means business when I'm looking around.

Speaker 4:

It was interesting cause I , Eh , W I graduated in June and something in me clicked, even though I was still living in Tucson, like, I don't want to do the college life going out to the bars. I gotta , you know, be serious. And I still had friends in school and Thursday nights for big nights to go out and they'd say, Hey, let's still go out. And I'm like, no, I just don't want to, I just, I don't know. Something in me clicked that I wanted to meet someone and kind of settled down. And two months later I met Laura and it was just, it was awesome. And I come from a very small family and Laura came from a big Italian family, so, and she has three brothers and a sister. And they immediately welcomed me in and I was like this huge Italian family. And I remember the first time going over for dinner and they put all the tables together and you know, just foods on the table and everyone's reaching over and like, this is so cool. I didn't have that. I had a great family, but it was just very small. Uh , my dad was an only child. My mom had a sister who didn't have any kids. So it's just, and it's just my sister and I. So I never had that big family experience and I just, it was wonderful. It literally was timing. I mean, it was just, it could not have worked out better. Not that it was planned, but it was just, you know, everyone knows that it was meant to be and we, you know, immediately fell in love. And like I said, you know, we've been together 37 years now, 38, almost 38 years.

Speaker 6:

Wow. I know how you feel when you're talking about going into a larger families. It's, I've got a similar experience myself where, you know, I'm from a small family and my wife's family is huge and so similar experience when you get involved in that and you know, they're spread all across the world but they're so close and tight and you realize that it's great. I want that. I want to, you know, I want to share in that . And you sort of get stuck in doing, get involved, right ?

Speaker 4:

Yeah . I always wanted, you know, growing up I wanted to have a brother and just, you know, just my sister and I and then I have three brothers and they lived , they treat me like a brother and you know, my inlaws are just amazing and you know, I could talk to them about anything and they were so helpful, especially my mother-in-law who was head of personnel at the airport and uh, human resources and numerous departments and she, she helped me with certain things, you know, business-wise or these career-wise if I have questions about certain situations, how to deal with them. So you saw what you liked, what were the next steps? What happened from that ? Well, we dated for three, three and a half years. We knew we wanted to get married. We had never said a day. At that time I wanted to be a newscaster and , and I was also working nights at the local NBC affiliate called Kay VOA . And back then was typing news stories and they have the teleprompter and you know, I would run, you know, run the teleprompter. Uh, and then I started to get the cover, the , uh, the college football games on the weekend. But I was young and stupid back then. And I know I , you know, I want to go to a bigger station, so I quit and then start applying to bigger stations and the stations say you need more experience at a smaller station. So there's that catch 22. So I'm like, God, I don't know what to do. And at the time, my father was a very successful television writer, producer and director, also had a publishing company that at the time he really wasn't that involved with. And it really becomes huge. Who was like the number two, number one, the number one publisher of children's books. So I'm like, all right . He's always said I should learn about it. I said, dad, you know what, I'm looking for a job. I want to start at the bottom. I don't want any special treatment. So he really wasn't that involved. And they got the boss, he talked to, you know , people are running. They said , all right, we need a sales rep based in Sacramento.

Speaker 7:

I am not a sale . Well I'm like, all right , I'll learn from the bottom. And then I had to move in like, oh a week, right. It was like 10 days. They're like, wow. So I lived in Tucson for almost 10 years. So that's when we said, all right, let's set a date and get married cause I'm, I'm now moving and I wasn't , you know, Laura wasn't going to come with me. Right. That, so we knew we wanted to get married and that just kind of [inaudible]

Speaker 4:

but I hated it. So I moved to Sacramento. It was a horrible experience and not as sales rep , but you know, the good thing out of it was I was there. We were there like six months, six months before we got it

Speaker 7:

married. Laura would come up a lot and I really wanted to, like the only thing I know is production. Let's move back to la. But when I was pregnant with our first child, so we decided to wait till Ryan was born

Speaker 4:

before we moved to La. And literally two weeks after he was born, we moved to La and I got a job with a small production company in post production. That's how our career tech took off. Micro took off. But that's how we decided,

Speaker 7:

you know, we get married even though we kind of like, all right, I'm moving, let's set a date. We knew we weren't going to get married.

Speaker 5:

So how, how was it during that six months before not being a VJO cause you've already decided to get married. So yeah, for me it was hard. They know why I was moving to a city I didn't even know. And being a sales rep , you are going to an office every day. I rented a house and then I was on the road. So I, it was pretty lonely. And I, the chalk was miserable and I'm glad I did it so I could at least learn it . We experienced it starting at the bottom in the company and the one justification was after I left, we did close down that direction of having a sales rep there. Cause I said I'm in the no one nowhere it guys, it's kind of a wait , you know, I can't compete with [inaudible] and why I can't make these sales. I'm driving to like these small towns in the middle of Oh nowhere and literally, you know, whatever the minimum order was $100. It would be a struggle to get them to get to that. So it was tough, but more would come out and visit. But it was long excited knowing anybody. I mean my name, no one, you know, it was fine cause I was working in planning a wedding, so , right . Yeah. It was pretty easy for me. Very difficult for him. I miss him tremendously. But ultimately did get married. It was a kind of a struggle because I, I was raised Catholic and Michael was raised Jewish and Michael's mother was a little controlling and not in is as great as yours . I'm here at Stripe Word Matthew Boys . So religion plays no part of my, I have tattoos drive home . So it was, I did not care where we got married. I knew it was important for Laura if you want to get married in the church where her brothers got married. So and , and I was fine with that. But then it was [inaudible] it was a very interesting wedding. Yeah. So, so my mother didn't allow , prior to us sending out the invitations, asked me if we would put the rabbi's name on the invitation that he was officiating the service. And I said, do you know what all this facet with my goal and my parents and we'll, you know, we'll see what happens. But that's not really the norm to put that stuff. Whoever is officiating a service on the invitation. So I kind of forgot about it and sent the patients out and my mother in law got her education and calls me screaming at me because I did not put the rabbi's name on the invitation . And what are her friends that they , they are going to think that Michael converted to Catholicism. And while she's yelling at me, Michael happened to be at our house because my daughter got married a month before we did. And so he took the dog from me and just said to his mother, you know, you're a guest at this wedding if you'd like to come. Great . And if not, we understand, but now we're not putting the rabbi's name on it. So like she call my mother up and she had a discussion with my mom and my mom being diplomatic and if she is, yeah , she said, don't worry about it. I'll do something to , to make you comfortable. So my mother put together our wedding program. I've had it every receipt and said, who was associating the wedding and who was in the wedding and all of that sort of stuff. So , um , that did, he kind of, some of the sanctions that was going on with my mother-in-law, my father in law was wonderful and he didn't get [inaudible] . So anyway, I have a great relationship with my mother and I love her. Um , that was very challenging for me though.

Speaker 7:

Yeah. And it was the, at the church where you got married, it was the first time they were doing it .

Speaker 5:

You'll see a mix in a mixed wedding. It was the first time they had a mixed mixed religions in the wedding, I mean, in the church. So it was really awesome. And my mom, as I said, was really great. My mother in law asked that there were no symbols in the church, so they put a , yeah . Yammer's over the cross so that she wasn't uncomfortable with that. And so we were really understanding about her discomfort too. But we had to get work for book for everyone. Yeah. And we , um, you know, like the rabbi I got from my parents, like I said, it wasn't important to me and we found somebody in California and fly him out. And, and , uh, I, you know, we had talked with the rabbi and the priest and I said, you know, I'm not religious,

Speaker 7:

really minimal references, the guide and so forth. And they were awesome and they actually, it was beautiful. It turned out and, and my mom loved it and it lit . We had every base covered. So we got married, we got married in a church with a priest and a rabbi. And my best man was black. So I had every base covered. Okay . So any still, it's still one of my best friends. He's , he's uncle Leon to the boys, you know. So it was, it was awesome. I mean, it could not have been better. Whatever concerns my mom had were fine and, but what was interesting with like Laura said , um, like my mom would be like, what ? What are People gonna Think? So we hadn't even gotten married. I'm picking people up and the way I had a huge beard back then, so people were like, are you shaving your beard ? And I'm like, no. How are you going to raise the kids? And now there's no black muscle. Yeah . I was like, guys, can we get in there? Stop it. You know, it doesn't matter. Just let us however, let us get married, get married . And it was wonderful. And uh, like I said, my dad is , he would, he just, whatever you guys want, he was cool with and my mom has a blast. She loves it to this day. Yeah. It was cool. It was a lot of fun. There's a lot of, it was a big way.

Speaker 5:

And then we conceived our first child on her wedding night.

Speaker 7:

Yeah. You too. Don't mess

Speaker 5:

around. No, I said we had a , you know, we had a six hours . That was it. Yeah . He was born nine months and four days after we got married. Wow. Nobody was 15 days late. So yeah.

Speaker 6:

Yeah . So how many, how many kids have you go?

Speaker 5:

Two boys. Uh , Ryan is 33. He'll be 34 next month. Uh, and Dylan is 31 and we have three grandkids too. Wow.

Speaker 6:

So you , you had your two kids quite quickly after getting [inaudible] . I mean, how was that? I imagine must have been a bit of a roller coaster, right ? Is it?

Speaker 5:

Uh, it was, it was , um, you know what? It was scary and for me it was really sad because I moved away from my family and I was the last person in like a family you would think would have made your way cause I was so somewhat reliant. I relied a lot on my parents. I was very connected to them being the first daughter at the three boys and I was incredibly lonely. And having Ryan, I went into a little bit of a depression because I was there alone. And um , I was very sad after my mom left. She came in through birth and then she left. Um, but I think what saved me was, or helped me, I should say, not say , was moving to Los Angeles. And then I was around other people that I knew, but it was really lonely in the beginning cause Michael was working and I, you know, had this new baby at home and I wasn't around my siblings and my mom and my dad. It was hard. And

Speaker 6:

Michael, I mean, how did you, how did you deal with it knowing that Laura was feeling lonely?

Speaker 5:

I, you know, I know I was working a lot and we,

Speaker 7:

we have not found our own place yet. So my parents also had a beach house so they let us stay there. And that was pretty, it was attracted yet, you know, it's pretty far and I'm trying to remember,

Speaker 5:

I was really isolated back then. You know, because I was so far from, Michael was raised here in California, so he had a very stable group of friends and I really didn't have anybody but, but, and they were all very, very, very single. So it was very , that was also very difficult for me too . But I had my mother in law and so I spent some time with her and then I was able to kind of connect with friends of theirs and started a really stable network of , of girls. And we have to go to a funeral one day. And Michael ran into someone he went to high school with and her name was Baba . It's still laba . And Robin and I became close friends right away and she had a little boy and I had a little boy and we were moving to the valley. So then I just, it started kind of snowball and I started meeting people and uh , that was so much better for me because I didn't want to rely on him. I didn't want to be needy toward him and you know, to rely on him to just fill my days with fun cause he was working crazy, crazy hours as you can in the entertainment business. And when you first started out, you know , you're up , you're low man on the totem pole. And he wasn't around a whole lot had and , and Delores career too . She's very, very, very social and gregarious. So, you know, people are drawn to her like a magnet and that's, you know, that's it .

Speaker 7:

A testament to her personality. So , um, yeah, made , made friends very quickly and like Laura said, the group of guys I grew up with in high school who eventually all ended up back in la who are wise, so, and they, you know, Laura was accepted. They knew Laura when we were dating too. So it was just, it just, the tough part was when we first moved here was the distance of where we're living, but we only come on where we are there six months, six months, and then we moved to the valley and then, you know, after that it just exploded.

Speaker 6:

Sorry, the tough time that you went through, would you say that that was, you know, looking back on in now that's sort of character building, right? I mean, yeah . You're in the early days, you're married to you , you're setting the foundations , right? I mean, right the back now, do you wish it played out any differently?

Speaker 5:

No, no , no. I think, I think for me, I know for me that leaving my family at such a young age, I was 23 when I got there , when we got married, that leaving my family at such a young age made me so much stronger and so much more independent than I thought I would ever be in my life. And even now, I mean, we've been through a lot of different roller coasters in our marriage and a lot of personal things that have happened to us and with our kids and you know, it's been challenging, but it's also strengthened our bond with one another and , um, with our families. So I'm not during the Times that were incredibly hard and incredibly painful, you know, that when you're going through it , it's gut wrenching. Um, but when you're , you get on the other side, you realize, oh my God, I made it through that. Now , um, we can persevere, we can conquer. So

Speaker 6:

yeah, I think just hearing your story, you know, it seems like in the very early days, you'd both have no issue committing to the other one. Just wholeheartedly, you know, Laura , you know, you left your, you left your family, you know, Michael, you are stern when it came to the wedding and how it was going to be. Why do you think that is? Why do you think you had this almost instant commitment with each other? I think, I mean,

Speaker 5:

I can speak for myself and I, and I love my parents. I just grew up very well. They just weren't super paternal and I hold

Speaker 4:

nothing against them. And I also, you know, I'm born in the late fifties I grew up in the sixties and seventies where there was so much freedom. So it's like, I knew my folks weren't around or they were doing their own thing , but I could ride my bike over to my friend's house. You know, you could play outside, you didn't have to worry about the stuff you did today. So it was like, Hey, be home by dinner . I'm like, okay . Or like call and say, Hey, I wrote the Curtis's house. I'm going to spend the night. That's fine. And so I always entertained myself. I was always very independent and I hold nothing against my parents or love them . They did the best they could. It's just we weren't the big priority per se . You know, my dad worked and uh , uh , I'd say the writer, producer, director, and a lot of times the show is that he created, they would sell them on Friday nights. I really, you know, I learned that core value I think from my dad. And I just, I always knew it's like, not in a negative way. It's like this is not how I want to raise a family. Uh, I played football for four years, all through high school. I can count on one hand the number of games my parents went to. Okay , that's fine. Well, it's our boy , you know, played . Literally, I , I can count on one hand the amount of games I knit and bind . And I coached them and I was, you know, my friends a little league and I'm like, this isn't, this is important to me. That's what I love . And then I met somebody who was very family oriented. So , uh , I think it was just that instant bond. And, and when I mentioned before, like I knew I,

Speaker 7:

when I graduated college, I wanted to meet somebody and settle down. And then now for , I was like, wow. It , the timing couldn't have been, you know , more

Speaker 4:

perfect. And just the thing of, you know, getting the job, the movie theater , I'm going to have to do the banking and half of you luck . I would've otherwise I would never met her.

Speaker 7:

You know, I would've never gone into that bank, let alone go into them

Speaker 4:

a merchant room . I would have no business going into the store . I'm like, I guess something lined up. Fate . Yeah. They , and, and, and meeting somebody coming from such a big loving family. And it's just, it's awesome. I mean, I love going back and a lot of Laura's family still live

Speaker 7:

in Arizona. Some are spread out, but , uh, it's , I love it. I mean it's just such a joy,

Speaker 4:

you know, and, and having all these nieces and nephews now, you know, which on my end, I wasn't going to hell. Cause you know, my sister is not, she's not married, she's not going to have kids. So I'm very fortunate.

Speaker 6:

So you followed your heart and it will pay off. No question. No question. Yeah . How would you say, you know , your, your connection, that commitment has changed over if at all, over the past year since you got married?

Speaker 4:

Oh, I think it's a much stronger, I mean, we had a rocky start . Um, you know, we, we, as I said, we've had some challenges not only in our relationship but in our , um , life. And

Speaker 5:

I think this made us much, much stronger. I never thought that when I took my wedding vows, you don't realize how difficult marriage is. You don't realize that it's a lot of work. Or do you think now you think when you get married, it's a white picket sans and everything you're going to live happily ever after. And that just, this is so not the case. And um, nobody ever really talks about that aspect of marriage . They talk about ease . Yeah . I think you envision what you want to have when you look at somebody in any way that you view them, you, you feel like, oh my God, that marriage is perfect, but you don't know [inaudible] floors. You know, I know during the challenging times in my life, I would drive here through Beverly Hills and does , that was the way I came home from work and I would go, oh, I wonder what messed up thing is going on in that house. Oh, I wonder, I think my rent is miserable as I am right now, you know , that sort of thing. Um, so I, I think that my vision now of marriage and just life in general is much more , um , [inaudible] clearer and I'm much more understanding of the flaws that we all have and , um, just the difficulties that he's one of us have in life that the others don't really see. People could look at us and think, oh my God, they have the perfect marriage. And they do have very good marriage, but you know , um, that they don't have the challenges that you've had in on their eds . And , um, just the challenges that you have raising children learn , you know, and um, what goes along with that. So yeah , I now know that, you know, we will have a little white fence around our house, but it certainly, you know , um, it certainly hasn't been that white picket fence.

Speaker 6:

So I'd been married for a year now. Oh, I have, I see . I'm good . Just got married and moved here. Yeah, exactly. So I, I left my own country. I moved to somewhere completely alien. I left my family to count the AA , moved at the same time as getting married. Uh , and also my wedding was a hybrid wedding as well. My partner is traditionally Indian , but she's like, you might go , she , she's not particularly religious. Um, so we had a silver mix wedding as well. So there's quite a few similarities between, so your experience and why I've sort of experienced myself. So let me make full advantage of this. Sure. What advice would you give to, if you could, if you could go back in time and see yourselves one

Speaker 4:

year after getting married, what advice would you give yourselves for the future? I would say persevere. Don't give up. You're going to have challenges in your life that you can't foresee coming. And, and they, some of them can be incredibly painful and you're not going to be on the same page with your spouse at the same time. But I would say stick it out. It's so worth it. I mean it's like, like Laura said, it is easy to give up and communication is the key. And Laura , I am always taught and, and, and we offer drove to die too . Like if we ever have an argument, it's like, you know, we'll say whatever we say to each other, I'd done it . I then we may not talk to that night and by the next morning we're just laughing . It's like, okay, fine. You know, cause whatever, and we talk it through. We don't let it simmer. Um , and I think that's the biggest guy . I know it sounds so simple, like communicate what it is in, you know, I think it's so important and, and talk things out because if you just sit and let it stew, then you're just gonna get angrier and angrier and angrier and explode. And uh, you know, when we do communicate sometimes it's like, oh, I didn't know. That's good. Didn't know you were feeling that way, this way. Okay, understand. And if we didn't communicate, we may not have known that you survived . Felt a certain way about something like, okay, good . And we always talk about , we don't take it personal. You know, granted we've been together a long time, but if you're talking to even, you know , after a year of marriage , uh, we're worth being where we support each other. And I think that's where it is, Jude . And like Laura said, yeah , every relationship is going to have a roller coaster . I mean, it's true. There is no such thing as whatever the perfect marriage and you know, you want to call it. I think just communicate and you know, that's such, it's so simple. But it's so important. And I'm so fortunate that, you know , we have that. And I think, you know, again, like going back to my parents, I don't think my parents communicated all the lot and even though they were married for might be held when my dad passed away, 50 something 50 something years before my dad passed away , um, I didn't see a lot of communication with them and they kind of lived their separate lives. So like to me, I'm like, I'm going to know I got married. I know they'd love each other, but you know, they're in separate rooms and this and that. It was always like, Oh, dad snores, oh mom, this, that . And I'm like, oh , okay. Yeah . And so one of the things that when we got married, he was like, we are never having separate bedrooms . I mean, ever. I can't, I can't, I can't even fathom that, you know? So yeah. I said, look, you know, we've been together like, you know, 38 years in 35 definitely. We were the first one of all my friends to get married and have kids

Speaker 5:

and I would not change it for the world. I'm an , I have a friend rooted are filling high school and the fucker the other . I'm like , I'm like, man , I do not miss that. But you know what's interesting about our relationship is Michael and I have still never been allowed [inaudible] . It's true. Right ? Right now our oldest son, daughter-in-law, two grandkids, look at us. Yeah, we love it. We love it. Even though we had very brief periods when we were empty nesters, very great . If we've been alone a year, I don't know that we bill on a year just the two of us living in the house if , if it wasn't our kids living with us, it was a friend living with us or our kids' friends living with us or something . We always have had an open door policy and that's the way that I was raised. And we love it. I, we , we make time together and go out just the two of us and staff. But we love the fact that our kids live with us. Our other son is close by and we just, you know, at , we feel incredibly blessed.

Speaker 6:

Yeah. So you've taken that, you know, that big family mentality. You've started your own thing of fresh and now it's building again as a, as a big family again. That's , that's cool .

Speaker 5:

And Michael's mom is just in the middle of selling her condo and we rented her a place five minutes from us. So she asked his mother and his sister lives with his mother. So they're moving closer to us because we feel like she's not going to be 95 next month. And we really feel that she needs to be in the fray of our rights that we want her to be exposed to on a day to day basis with her great grandkids and her grandkids. And you know, we don't want her life to be stagnant. We want it to be as full as possible for the remainder of the years that he has to live. And so you're doing great. Oh yeah. She's awesome timing. I'm like, she loves coming over here and she wants to go see, you know, have a great , you know, little league in school and he was talking to, he was over the hill. So just again, it was timing thing.

Speaker 6:

Wow. Great. Wow . Great Story. I mean, I feel like guy yet took some good advice from that . I felt like I owe you some money now . It's turning into a therapy session for me

Speaker 5:

mean anytime you need any kind of advice, I don't know that we'll have the writing

Speaker 6:

now . It seems like you've done fantastically well. I mean, just that sort of quick snapshot of Your Life. I think anyone could hope to have that much success and be such a strong couple. So congratulations.

Speaker 2:

I wish that , I hope you enjoy that story. You know, I certainly did. Took a huge amount from it. So I just like to say thank you to Laura and Michael's for spending the time talking to me and also a big thank you to you for listening in. So until next time, hope you have a great week and don't forget to share the podcast if you've enjoyed it.