Laughing With A Friend About Her Peeping Mom Problem

HERE’S the dealio. Friend and her husband live in a house on a country road, with an acre front yard, situated on the top of a steep hill.

This is rural. Very rural.

Directly across the way on the other side of the road on top of another hill is Friend’s husband’s parents’ house.

From their front doors they can see each other’s houses in general, but not the specifics, such as what’s going on inside the house or who’s sitting on the front porch.

Because they’re isolated up on their hills, it is private.

• • •

Antique wire-rim spectacles

• • •

EXCEPT that Mother-in-Law recently retired from a full-time job and bought a pair of binoculars to watch the birds in the trees that surround her house on a hill in the middle of freaking nowhere.

However birdwatching has not been enough to keep MIL entertained.  She is bored. And clever.  

In fact, MIL has figured out that by sitting just so in her living room she can use her birding binoculars to look inside Friend’s house.

Or to see who’s sitting on Friend’s front porch.

To spy, in other words.

This new turn of events has put a strain on Friend and MIL’s relationship.  MIL sees nothing wrong with peeping in on her son & wife’s daily life, and despite being asked to, will not stop her peeping.

Friend is peeved.

• • •

Bowl of plastic eyeballs

• • •

BEING a pragmatic soul I asked Friend why she didn’t shut the blinds on the windows on the front of the house. She told me she didn’t want to do that because it was unfair for her to have to do something she didn’t want to do because of her MIL’s interference in her life.

Uh huh.

So I suggested that Friend needed to do something to get MIL’s blood pressure up and offend her enough so that she’ll stop being a peeping mom.

“Amuck, amuck, amuck…”

To wit, I suggested that Friend could join a coven, dress like the witches in Hocus Pocus, and have a witches meeting in her front yard, complete with dancing, spells, and a big cauldron of boiling something, like the witches of Macbeth.

“Double, double toil and trouble; Fire burn and caldron bubble.”

And you know what, my gentle readers?  Friend told me that I was being silly, unsympathetic to her plight, and that I was: “NOT TAKING THIS SERIOUSLY.”

To which, between giggles, I managed to say: “You’re right, because this is not a problem. This is an opportunity to EITHER get over MIL’s interference & shut your dang blinds OR cause some mayhem.”

The choice is hers.

Question of the Day

With a peeping mom directly across the street from your house, would you buckle under and shut the blinds?

OR

Would you stir the pot and cause some trouble to make a “mind your own bidness” point to peeping mom?

I await your insightful answers in the comments below.

Published by

Ally Bean

Observant. Humorous. Adaptable. Happy enough. Midwestern by chance. Kindhearted by choice. Usually.

115 thoughts on “Laughing With A Friend About Her Peeping Mom Problem”

  1. From where I sit today, (also on top of a hill in the middle of nowhere) I’d definitely stir that cauldron, and love doing it. But looking back to my 20-30 – 40 year old self, I’d not be satisfied until mil changed. In fact, I’d be miserable until mil changed. And my misery, of course, would be all her fault. Ah, those were the years.

    Here’s an idea. How bout Friend has a talk with mil about boundaries?

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Janet, I’d have been the same way as you in my 20s-30s-40s. I would have decided to be miserable about this situation, refusing to let it go, because I was right.

      I cannot tell you why Friend hasn’t chatted with MIL about boundaries, but your idea is reasonable. Wait… that might be the reason… Friend wants to be mad at MIL.

      And I can’t stop laughing about the whole thing.

      Liked by 2 people

  2. Stirring the pot, like doing something X-Rated in front of the window might make MIL peek even more often. I say cut her off and close those blinds! That would give me the creeps knowing someone was watching me, even if I did know them.

    Liked by 4 people

    1. Jill, yes, we discussed some X-rated options, but in the end Friend didn’t like those ideas at all; she’s a bit too moral. I agree, I’d not like knowing that someone was watching me in this way, but whacha gonna do?

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  3. Oh boy, what a dilemma. My MIL was the sweetest woman, and if she peeked, it would be because she was bored. I’d offer to go out to lunch with her once a week and tell her what was going on in our lives, if she promised to stop peeking. 🙂
    But if that didn’t work, I’d stir up some trouble for sure. xo

    Liked by 3 people

    1. Pam, I like your idea. This peeping mom phenomenon started because MIL is bored as a retiree. Going out to lunch once a week might be EXACTLY what MIL needs to help her feel involved. I’ll pass the idea onto Friend.

      Liked by 2 people

  4. Oh man, I cannot imagine invading my kids privacy to this degree! A conversation about boundaries absolutely needs to happen, not from your friend (DIL) but from her son. Grow a set & tell your mother to stop being a peeping tom! In the meantime, become a nudist.

    Liked by 3 people

    1. Lynn, you make a good point that the conversation about privacy needs to come from MIL’s son. Friend has spoken with her to no avail. Your nudist idea is an interesting one… but I suspect that Friend might be disinclined to go that route. She’s a shy introverted person at heart.

      Liked by 1 person

  5. I would have a family party and not invite MIL. If she asked why, I would tell her she obviously knows everything about us. What a crazy situation! As a MIL of two DIL, I would never think to spy on them! This one needs to find another job or get a real hobby!

    Liked by 3 people

    1. Beth, *tee hee* I like your sneaky idea. Gets to the point of the problem! I cannot imagine doing what MIL is doing and neither can Friend. I agree, MIL needs a new all-consuming hobby to fill her hours. It’s a crazy situation to be sure.

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  6. What an upsetting problem and–in my opinion–not funny at all. It could cause a whole lot of marriage troubles, son and mom battles, grandkids could become an issue…the list goes on and on.

    But–why not get some sheer panels for the front windows? It will blur the view for MIL while still letting lots of natural light in. AND send a message that The Show Is Over.

    Liked by 4 people

    1. nance, you are a better person than I. Perhaps it was the animated way in which Friend told me her problem that got me laughing. But, of course, you’re right this could turn into a big deal family drama.

      Your idea of sheers on the windows is a good one. Friend wants some natural light in her house & that’d do it. I’ll pass the idea onto her.

      Liked by 1 person

  7. Ok, clearly the answer is close the damn blinds! If they would make the house dark, there are options like sheers. I’m sure the window industry has products. Second choice, but only for the brave of heart, would be to put the TV in front of the window and turn on a porn station. If there is a resolution, you must let us know. She could put a high powered telescope in her living room aimed at MIL’s house and comment that she picks her nose a lot. Perhaps there is a nose problem? OK, I’m starting to tilt to your side of agitation. 🙂

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Kate, I agree, closing the blinds seems like an immediate solution to this problem. Sheers at the windows in the future maybe? I think your TV porn idea, while innovative, might require rearranging furniture and Friend might not like to do that. All-in-all, I have to wonder if this situation will resolve itself as MIL becomes a more active retiree with places to go, people to meet. 🤷‍♀️

      Liked by 1 person

    1. Paula, you make a great point. I hadn’t thought about how strangers might be looking in, too. I dunno, I’d shut the blinds, but then I prefer no family drama in my life, so buckling under it’d be.

      Liked by 1 person

    1. L. Marie, your advice is sensible, I do believe. I think the problem is that Friend considers her property to be private to the extreme, and MIL has reminded her that it isn’t. 😳

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  8. I close my blinds for no human, only to keep it warmer in my apartment. I would so find some hijinks to be up to… but has she never thought to buy her own high-powered viewing device and return the peeping?

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Deb, Friend didn’t mention getting her own binoculars to spy on MIL & FIL. I don’t know if that’s occurred to her. She’s more into the how to make a scene aspect of this situation. 😉

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Well if she wanted to explore that idea, and make a scene I would suggest enlisting the help of local law enforcement to set up a large, loud surveillance operation aimed directly into MIL’s house 😉

        Liked by 1 person

        1. LOL! Oh Deb, you do have a wonderful idea that’d make quite an impression on MIL. Honestly, I love your idea, but Friend is a quiet soul, so I’m not sure this is going to work.

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  9. I would continue to do whatever I wanted. But would take time out of my day occasionally to stand in front of the window with friends and (other) family and point at MIL’s house and laugh and wave and gesture dramatically (one finger salute, a random mooning…that sort of thing). If she is going to snoop, might as well give her something of interest to watch. It would be the least one could do.

    Liked by 3 people

    1. Deb, I like how you think! I imagine that this approach may be exactly what Friend does. I can see her waving over toward MIL’s house, making a subtle finger gesture, not letting MIL spoil her day– exactly.

      Liked by 2 people

  10. Ha ha! Marian’s idea is what I thought – each spying on the other! First thought that came to mind! I’d be inclined to stir the pot I have to say – . Or maybe for absolutely nothing to happen for a day or 6 so she gets bored?

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Susan, while in theory I’d like to stir the pot, in practice I’d just shut the blinds & do my best to encourage MIL to get a post-retirement life of her own. I suspect that once this woman is not bored, she’ll forget about spying.

      Liked by 2 people

  11. I do believe I’d give her something to see, many eyes full of unwanted-to-be-seen things. Also, the next time I was at her house, I’d try to get my hands on the binoculars and either put vaseline on the eye part or something in front of the other end.

    Of course me being me, I’d also say something directly to her. People tend to back down when you confront them directly.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Tara, your various approaches to this problem have merit. I suggested cleaning house in a French maid’s uniform, but Friend was reluctant to do that… not wanting to spend the money for the uniform. I like the idea of absconding with the binoculars, leaving MIL unable to spy. Pity if those binoculars just happened to get lost forever. 🤔

      Friend and her husband have asked MIL not to do this, but MIL just laughs. She thinks it’s funny to be so nosy…

      Liked by 1 person

        1. The price is right for the birthday suit idea. HOWEVER, Friend is a reserved woman who I cannot imagine ever doing that. Now a witch costume, a cauldron, some dry ice… that I could see her doing. 🧙‍♀️

          Liked by 1 person

  12. Oh my gosh, I love the coven idea!!!! Especially this month. Invite her girlfriends over, all dressed in black, brooms, cauldron in front yard, chanting LOL. Give MIL something to gossip about! Of course on a more serious note, I would get my own binoculars and stare back waving 👋 Maybe make signs for her to read like at the eye drs👀 But seriously if nothing to hide then just get on with life and let it go.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Sue, I think a witches meeting would be fun and a great way to get MIL miffed [?]. I’d go. I adore your idea of an eye doc chart. I bet Friend would do that!

      Of course, your common sense attitude is the bottom line. If you aren’t doing anything hinky, then who cares what someone sees?

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  13. I don’t think it matters whether it’s my MIL or not. I wouldn’t like anyone peeping in my windows using binoculars. However the potential for peepers is just a reality of living in the city so when privacy is wanted, the blinds are closed.

    Even if I lived in a very rural area, I’d be closing the blinds. I’ve seen too many horror movies and my MIL would be the least of my worries 😉

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Joanne, you make good points. I’ve lived in urban and in suburban places where I’ve kept my blinds closed/ curtains drawn because of potential prying eyes. I’d make no different assumption if I was in a rural area. I find it entertaining that MIL has turned into a peeping tom, but like you said she’s probably the least of Friend’s worries in the whole scheme of life. 🤔

      Like

        1. Yes, you said it. Oddly enough Friend and MIL get along fine, except for this one thing. I really believe that once MIL finds things to do in retirement her spying behavior, that she thinks is just funny, will be over with.

          Liked by 1 person

  14. “Insightful comments …” *snicker* .. you KNOW this had questions in it, and therefore is blog fodder for me. I’ll send ya the link (if the pings are working today)… and thank me. If I replied HERE, you might just get a volume or two..

    Liked by 1 person

  15. I like the sheer curtain panels idea. It would make me crazy to have to keep my blinds closed. I had a mother-in-law that would have done that but she would have done it because she didn’t like that some other woman was in her son’s life. Curious, how does friend know she’s spying?

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Carol, Friend knows this because her husband stopped by his parents’ house after work one day and his mother told him what Friend had been doing all day at home. When he asked his mother how she knew this, she showed him the binoculars and where she sits to watch.

      He told her not to do that but she really thinks that what she’s doing is funny and harmless. Except for this weirdness Friend and MIL get along, so there’s no longtime grudge going on. It’s just peculiar.

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  16. First thought is shutting the blinds, but if that becomes onerous, as in, I really want that sunlight to come in, I’d have to get more creative. What a friggin’ punk that mom is. I might go over and break her binoculars.

    Liked by 1 person

  17. My grandmother was a notorious snoop. She was always at the window checking out everyone’s coming and goings. Most of the neighbors took it in their stride. She was also the midwife who helped deliver most of them.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Jan, I would guess that some people are more inclined to spy than others. I’m too indifferent to the comings and goings of people who live around me, so I’d never make a good spy. But Friend, she’s got herself a dandy one in the form of a MIL!

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      1. Oh golly, I can’t even work in a cafe – I’m too curious about the people around me so I guess I’ve got a bit of my old granny in me. People fascinate and sometime horrify me. Luckily where I live, it is impossible to spy on anyone!

        Liked by 1 person

        1. I’m a people watcher in public places, but I don’t keep an eye on them when they’re at home. Although in some ways reading blogs is a bit like spying on people… now that I think about it. 🤔

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  18. I would never close the blinds. I have windows for a reason – to see OUT.
    I agree mil’s son should have a talk with her. Then I’m going with the spy back-nose picking routine. Give her a taste of her own medicine.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Eilene, I agree that MIL’s son is going to have to try to put a stop to this. Although considering this behavior started after she retired, it may be that once MIL finds better things to do she’ll back off the spy routine. Time will tell.

      Liked by 1 person

  19. My Mom has been a window monitor for years. I tend to think the main problem is not having enough to keep busy so she has to stick her nose into other peoples’ beeswax.
    Maybe you friend could talk to her husband and together they find MIL a hobby that keeps her too occupied to snoop.
    Short of that I’d say do both: close the blinds AND stir the pot! Muahahahaha 😀

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Norm, I think that if you’re of a mind to spy on people you’ll find a way to do it! I agree that MIL needs a hobby of some sort that doesn’t involve binoculars. Plus just shut the dang blinds…

      Liked by 1 person

  20. I would wave and carry on. Or close the blinds whenever I felt like it. In my opinion, she needs to get the situation under her control and that means having fun with it. And being creative as you suggested. 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Margaret, I’d wave, too– probably as I shut the blinds. I just hope that if Friend has a witches meeting I’m free that night to join in the fun. Bwha-ha-ha!

      Like

  21. This new turn of events has put a strain on Friend and MIL’s relationship. MIL sees nothing wrong with peeping in on her son & wife’s daily life, and despite being asked to, will not stop her peeping.

    A few ideas:

    1. Ask again.
    2. Get husband/son to ask. again.
    3. Invite a male friend over when MIL is peeping. Go inside with him. And THEN close the blinds.
    4. Take her to court on Judge Judy.
    5. Put a sign in the window: “Get a life!”

    Liked by 2 people

    1. nancy, lord love a duck, you made me laugh with this one. While I like all of your ideas, I think that #3 & #5 might be the most effective in this particular situation. Perhaps implemented at the same time…

      Liked by 1 person

  22. I’ve been absolutely SWAMPED and so behind on my blog reading and then I had a chance today to tune in and THIS. Oh, I’m so glad I didn’t miss this. It made me laugh. Out loud. LOL. I just needed it today.

    Your poor friend. MIL’s can be absolute PAINS but that’s a problem easily fixed.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. katie, I’m glad you got here today, too. Friend’s MIL problem is one of the most unusual ones I’ve heard. It made me laugh because it’s so absurd and ridiculous. I don’t know if Friend has closed her blinds, but I do hope that if she has a witches meeting on her front porch I can get there. Wouldn’t that be fun?

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  23. Causing mayhem gets my vote! I’d walk around naked.

    This is funny, because my grandmother used to do this. She kept a pair of binoculars on the table by the window to spy on our relatives that lived in close proximity. When I got a telescope for Christmas one year, that went by the window as well and as used instead of the binoculars.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Erika, the girl with ‘tude in me likes the mayhem idea, too. The wise woman in me would shut the blinds. 🤷‍♀️

      Yours is the second story I’ve read here about a person in real life using binoculars to spy on neighbors. However you’re the first person to mention the snooping power of a telescope. Congrats, you win the Gladys Kravitz Award for Unrestrained Nosiness!

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  24. I must say, I do like the mayhem idea. I think I’d go with that. I do enjoy some harmless mischief. I particularly enjoy sending our parents into tizzies. We live on a short, dead-end street and everyone keeps an eye out for those who don’t belong. That being said, we are, umm us and when the sun goes down, we close our curtains.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. joey, yes, there’s a certain joy about the thought of causing mayhem. Perhaps not of the getting naked kind, but of the large signs and hand gestures kind.

      You make a good point about how noticing strangers is a way of being safe, which I’m all for. However a spying neighbor, like Friend’s situation, would freak me out.

      Liked by 1 person

  25. I agree that your friend should not have to close the curtains if she doesn’t want to and if her husband has spoken with his mother and she still looks then my thought would be a sign in the middle of the window that is big enough to cover most of the viewing area but not so big that it shuts out the light. Then I’d put a different message on the sign every day…”Thou shalt not covet thy neighbors goods” or “Hi Mom” or “Jeepers Peepers” or “My mother-in-law uses binoculars to look into my house.” Something subtle, you know?

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Janet, your sign ideas are priceless. Especially that last one that goes to the heart of the problem. I’ll pass your ideas onto Friend, who just might go for them. She’s a reserved person, an introvert, so this approach would allow her to cause mayhem, quietly. I could see her doing that.

      Liked by 1 person

  26. IN the course of a few weeks at the very most – At first, I’d close the blinds hoping MIL would get bored with seeing nothing. However, it wouldn’t be a forever thing. I’d do a few odd things like some of the suggestions above, However again, periodically I’d put up a sign in the very windows peeper looks into with said binocs saying something like,”Get a Life!!!” or “Private, for our eyes only.” or “You can see me, but I can’t see you, but you can see this – bug off.’ Or anything that comes to mind. All along, I’m wondering what type of relationship MIL has with her son? Has it always been so intrusive? If so, then ‘friend’ has a larger problem on her hands. Man-up, sonny!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Laura Bruno Lilly, I never thought of the sign idea until commenters here mentioned it. There’s merit to doing that if only for a bit of entertainment. Up until this point Friend and MIL have had a good relationship, so I believe that this is a temporary blip on the screen. But you’re right if MIL continues to be intrusive, then there’s a bigger problem there.

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  27. Sounds like someone just wants people to feel sorry for her and her petty problems. People like that are more annoying than voyeurs who have nothing better to do with their lives than check up on others’ business.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. evilsquirrel13, well… Friend isn’t one to want or need sympathy. She’s got her head on straight, she’s not a whiner. Rather the opposite, come to think of it.

      I agree that her problem is a small one in the whole scheme of things, but it does highlight the assumptions about privacy that we all make. And how difficult interpersonal relationships can be within families. Plus, it makes for a darned good blog post!

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  28. I dealt with a meddling MIL for years although thankfully she was too far away to peep. The only feasible options are confrontation, destruction of binoculars… or witch mode. Perhaps you could give friend a big black cat to hasten the timeline.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. rivergirl1211, I imagine that you’re right about how to handle a meddling MIL, even if this is a newly-minted meddler. That’s one thing I’ve never had to deal with. I like the black cat idea, it goes along with the witchy theme. Friend might go for a cat…

      Liked by 1 person

  29. I like the idea of stirring the pot but I don’t know where I’d find my lady balls to do it…but the evil inside me would still beckon…I wonder which would win out if it were me….🧐x-rated sounds fun indeed *rubs hands together* muahahaha
    But I would probably do something like that and forget about her being a peeping tom! 🤣 I would probably run her off on accident😆

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Barefoot Mama, it’s been fun to read what everyone thinks they’d do in this situation. I wonder, too, if I’d actually stir the pot– although my husband tells me I definitely would! I still think that shutting the blinds, indifferent to MIL’s snooping sounds easiest to me.

      Liked by 1 person

  30. How funny. People like that are so difficult to deal with – you friend probably can’t “win” no matter what she does. Tall bushes and hanging plants (silk ones for winter HAHA). Buy a pair of binoculars herself and use them and call MIL when she sees something and say “I just saw this or you doing this…” and yack about it. Creepy might make a point…but as far as stopping it..MIL a nosy snoop and needs something to do…something that involves focusing away from the window….pet isn’t a bad idea – those are always time consuming (a squirrel feeder? those stupid Ring door cams which are constantly alerting you that a plant is waving outside?…yes, we have one..I may hammer it soon)

    Liked by 1 person

    1. philmouse, I agree that MIL is a person who needs a new hobby or pet or part-time job or volunteer gig– anything to keep her occupied. She is who she is. I also think that obscuring MIL’s view, or shutting the blinds, might end this saga. It’s not a huge deal, but it’s one that bothered my reserved friend enough that she shared her problem. Through laughs, of course.

      Liked by 1 person

  31. How big are the hills the houses sit on? And how big the area between them? You can really screw up a view with several truckloads of topsoil–make a huge hill between the two houses and scatter flower seeds and trees all over it. The trees will look lovely and bring more real birds for birdwatching.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. TheChattyIntrovert, you made me smile with this idea. I agree that I a little bit of creative landscaping could put an end to this problem. I’ll suggest this to Friend the next time I see her, but I’m hoping that this peeping Mom thing is a blip on the screen.

      Liked by 1 person

  32. When I read your post, I also felt that MIL needed a new hobby/diversion. But on reading in the comments that both Friend & her husband have asked her to stop which she refused to do because *she thinks it’s funny*, I’m now sharing the opinion of those who think it could grow into a major issue. MIL sounds like she’s got the same sense of humour as my mother, who sees herself as having gained the right (by dint of age) to say & do whatever the hell she likes. If she causes offense, hurt or upset – no matter, their problem not hers is the attitude taken. My brother barely speaks to her, my youngest sister tiptoes around her, and both refer anything even mildly tricky to me. With someone who has this attitude, boundaries need to be defended very fiercely and these days I have to take no shit from her. It’s hard work diligently and constantly defending those boundaries. If I could solve my mother problem by shutting the blinds, I’d so take that option.

    Reading this made me realise what a good decision I’d made in refusing to buy *the perfect house* because it was on the same road as my parents. My ex always insisted I was mad, but this has vindicated my decision 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

    1. deb, let me first say: smart thinking to not live near your mother when you know who she is and what she might do. I agree about keeping boundaries in place with any mother/MIL! I’m sorry that your mother is difficult, but it sounds like you have a handle on the situation, annoying as it may be. I wonder if Friend’s MIL also thinks that by virtue of her age she can do what she pleases? I’ll ask Friend if she thinks that’s part of the problem. Who knows, eh?

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      1. D’ya know what Ally, I didn’t realise who she was & what she might do back then. There’s been a whole lot of therapy since then! Still, it seems my inner-self was protecting me nonetheless 🙂 All the best to your friend in sorting this out without conflict.

        Liked by 1 person

  33. Wow. It would really make me mad if someone was doing that and saw no problem with it. I think I’d walk around naked or do something to make them extremely uncomfortable.

    Liked by 1 person

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