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terratin

replacing missing cache without prior contact of CO

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Recently on vacation we went to find a cache, which, according to the provided spoiler pic was gone missing. What followed was a lengthy discussion on if we should place a new cache or not at the same location. Here's the facts:

 

The cache was certainly gone, as there was a very good spoiler photo

There was no DNF before, but two more appeared after our visit.

It's not a commonly visited location

It's a vacation cache with a local maintainer (who, as I just noticed hasn't logged in for more than 6 months, but we didn't know this when we were at GZ)

We happened to have a fitting replacement container with us

To replace the cache requires at least a 1 hour drive into the mountains, entrance fee to a historical site and then a roughly 250m high hike up a mountain over rough terrain.

We've replaced a missing cache for an owner living far away once before, but we knew it was missing and had asked if we should place a new one in advance.

 

What would you have done in that situation? I'm not posting our thoughts and discussion points yet.

 

Thanks,

Mrs. Terratin

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I would have posted a Needs Maintenance log if I was 100% sure the cache wasn't there. If I might have missed it, I would have logged a dnf.

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Ignore it or post needs archived, let it be archived, then maybe a CO that actually cares will place a new one.

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After the Needs Maintenance/DNF log your responsibility ends. What you do after that is your business.

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With no prior DNF and only a spoiler pic to go by, since the spoiler pic may not have any longer been accurate, I would have just posted a DNF and logged my suspicions of it being gone. If there had been other DNFs, I would have to think about either the Needs Maintenance or Needs Archived and log one of those. I don't do replacements.

Edited by Semper Questio

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Doesn't really matter how hard it is to get to...the CO put it there and some designated person (the CO or their surrogate) is supposed to maintain it. Six months for the owner? I likely would have posted a 'Needs Archived' log just to give the added "kick in the pants". Too often a 'Needs Maintenance' log goes ignored while people keep trying to find it.

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Just the fact that it was a vacation cache would have been the clincher for me.

I would have simply marked a DNF and NM and go on my way.

It may have been an option to leave it while you were in the area, if you strongly believe in fixing others hides to the point of replacing them, but now?

One hour drive (your own gas), pay a fee to enter the area, then a rough hike (possibly injuring yourself in the attempt), all for a cache not belonging to you.

- I don't think so...

 

Vacation cache already missing, with a "maintainer" no longer in the game. Mark it NA and be done with it.

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If there was no DNF prior, then post a DNF, if 2 more dnf's appeared after then log an NM/NA (needs maintenance/needs archived) th NA log is the only sure fire way to get a reviewers attention if the CO or maintenance person isn't checking on it any more.

 

Also, if the entry fee is required to gain access to the cache area (e.g. no other way to gain access to the cache area), then isn't that against the placement guidelines too?

 

If so I'd mention that in the guidelines.

 

But no, don't replace the cache container, as people say, it encourages lazy cache owners to think everyone else will do the work for them, also what happens if someone before you replaced the cache into the wrong area, hence you didn't find it and the spoiler didn't apply. There would then be 2 containers in close proximity.

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After your cache hunt, your obligation is simply to select the appropriate log type and tell the story of your adventure. It seems a DNF log would be best for this adventure. What if the spoiler pic was a double-trick pic, just to throw off those who rely on spoiler pics? (say that a few times, real quick) Cache Owners are the ones responsible for maintaining their cache, not the searchers.

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Replacing abandoned caches contributes to litter. You have essentially put down a container that you have no intention of maintaining and don't know that the current CO will maintain it. Abandoned caches give geocaching a bad rap. Geocaches should have active owners who will maintain their caches and their cache listings on a timely basis, or remove them when they no longer wish to maintain them.

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Replacing abandoned caches contributes to litter. You have essentially put down a container that you have no intention of maintaining and don't know that the current CO will maintain it. Abandoned caches give geocaching a bad rap. Geocaches should have active owners who will maintain their caches and their cache listings on a timely basis, or remove them when they no longer wish to maintain them.

I completely agree with the assessment stated above.

 

To the OP, you have been around for a good amount of time, I am a little surprised you hadn't made yourself aware of the idea that the Cache belongs to the owner. I do not mean to be pointed with you, but you can have good owners, bad owners, absent owners---but they own their cache, let them take all incidents of ownership. Locally we have a growing number of absentee owners with a resultant increase in geo litter that only promises to give the game a black eye down the road.

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On vacation? Post a DNF, then a NM outlining the circumstances you mention. Then move along.

 

Replacement means that one is placing the cache again. Since one did not place (or find) it in the first place, they cannot "re"place. Then the cache is just a throwdown cache, with a "best guess" as to where and how the cache was hidden. (This also goes for caches with "spoilers"...)

 

Enabling cache owners who shirk their responsibilities leads to the general decline of cache quality. Owners place caches knowing full well that they should have a maintenance plan. Placing a cache without a discussion with the owner means a cache can end up moved from its original location, not camouflaged well enough for the site, size discrepancies, introduced errors in original D/T ratings, etc. If a throwdown is placed, I feel that a cache owner should head out at the earliest convenience and check on the cache. Is the placement correct? Is the container the correct size? Is the cache still hidden well enough as to not be seen by muggles or attract undesired attention? Is the online cache description still accurate for the "new" cache container?

 

Throwdowns don't encourage owners to take responsibility for their own caches. Using the online logging tools provided is the best way to get a cache replaced. Log a DNF, a NM, and/or a NA based on circumstances. If a previous finder decides to take it upon themselves to place a missing cache for an owner, that is a different story altogether. At least that previous finder has...previously found it. They can place a suitable container in the location they previously found it, and they may have made arrangements with the owner to do so. If you did not find the container, you didn't find the cache. How can you place a new container for a cache you didn't know the actual location of?

 

Unless my cache has a specific maintenance plan where a "local" cacher helps out with maintenance needs, I take full responsibility for maintaining my caches. That goes for soggy logbooks, damaged containers, exposed hide locations, and/or missing containers.

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I'm not posting our thoughts and discussion points yet.

Let me guess. You left a replacement and the cache owner didn't like it. Maybe even deleted your found it log.

 

There is little doubt that plenty of people in this situation would feel they are helping out by leaving a replacement. And given the situation, most cache owners would be happy that you did. But a few will always object.

 

Now for many, the objection is to logging a find on something you didn't find. So you might get buy with leaving a replacement jsut for the opportunity to feel good about helping. If you got a cache owner like that be happy.

 

However you could get a grumpy old ungrateful cache owner who simply doesn't want other people to make assumptions on what maitenance they want done.

 

If the cache has several DNFs and the owner appears to just be ignoring the need to do maintenance you migh make the argument that they've abdicate their responsilibities and don't have much to say about your replacement. Of course, many will tell you that in this case the cache should be archived so that a responsible owner can place something in the area.

 

If there is spoiler showing the cache in situ you might argue that you can replace the hide exactly at the owner intended. However, even here, the owner may want to decide if the cache should even be replaced. Perhaps they are ready to give up the location to another cacher and were just waiting for it to go missing. You've now decided that the cache will continue - or at the least a responsible owner now needs to go and make a maintenance visit to remove the replacement before archiving.

 

When a replacement is left because someone is certain the cache is missing but where they don't know exactly how it was hidden or what kind of container it was, they are saying that the hide is generic and it doesn't matter if the container or the hide is different than what the owner intended. Many caches these days may be generic; but some cache owners still spend great effort in choosing the container, camouflaging it, and selecting just the right hiding spot. Such an owner is likely not going to appreciate a replacement unless you contact them beforehand. While some people believe that finding anything is better than having a missing cache, some cache owners might prefer a missing cache to a "generic" hide with an inferior container that they would never have left themselves.

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My take? I don't think anyone should ever replace a cache without the owner's express consent, given prior to the replacement. In the case you mentioned, this would be particularly true, due to a couple factors. First, you mentioned that it was a vacation cache. Those are usually a bad idea, right out of the gate, as the owner obviously lives too far away to do maintenance, and they have only a limited degree of control over whoever they roped off into performing their maintenance duties. Second, the owner is either temporarily or permanently out of the game, making any replacement just geo-litter waiting to happen.

 

I'm hoping that the DNFs which followed your visit mean you didn't replace it.

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If you replace an unmaintained cache you are just leaving another unmaintained cache. Bad idea.

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Given the situation, I'd have DNFed it. If I was going to that location and saw 3 DNFs before my trip, then I might ask the CO if he wants help replacing it, but would not replace it without consent.

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What would you have done in that situation?
Well, replacing the missing container would not have been an option. I don't carry replacement cache containers. Even if I did have a replacement cache container, I wouldn't have replaced the missing container unless I knew (1) that it was missing, (2) that I could hide a comparable replacement container, and (3) that I was doing a personal favor for an active cache owner/maintainer who wanted the cache replaced. Not all of these conditions are met in your scenario.

 

I'd have logged a DNF, since I reached GZ and searched for the cache, but did not find it.

 

I'd have logged either NM or NA, depending on whether anyone else had logged NM previously.

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I certainly don't agree with any random person replacing containers however can someone please explain this 3 DNF "rule"that I've seen in a few threads now? Why is it considered that 3 DNF's and the cache is missing and we should hassle the CO about replacements or start leaving NA logs? What if it is well hidden, our well enough hidden that it leaves lazy cachers wondering at anything that is more than just a container under a rock?

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I'm not posting our thoughts and discussion points yet.

Let me guess. You left a replacement and the cache owner didn't like it. Maybe even deleted your found it log.

 

 

To be honest: no. We left, me with a bad feeling that whoever is maintaining this cache has to go through a lot of effort to replace it - should it actually happen while I happened to have a container in my backpack (I usually never have, but found this one on the street with no owner indication and none such cache nearby just before our vacation). We simple left a DNF on it, and maybe a NM should come as well.

 

I think in a similar situation: certainly gone and difficult to reach, in my homezone, from a cacher I know I might have replaced it without prior contact and just posted a note instead of a find. But I see it was better to not do it here.

Edited by terratin

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...can someone please explain this 3 DNF "rule"that I've seen in a few threads now?

There really is no rule. Rather, I'd say it's a starting point. If a 1/1 gets three DNFs in a row, from experienced seekers who mentioned that they gave the area a thorough search, checked the area mentioned in the hint, etc, I'd say it's probable that the cache needs a visit from the owner. If it's a 5/5 with three DNFs from relatively inexperienced seekers, saying that they gave it a quick search, then I'd say those logs are not an indication of a problem.

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Yeah, I just chose 3 DNFs out of my head, there is no rule, I just figured if a cache has been DNFed 3 times and sounds like an easy cache, there is a good chance its missing. 2 DNFs could be one group. Needs to be at least 2 different dates so I just chose 3.

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...can someone please explain this 3 DNF "rule"that I've seen in a few threads now?

There really is no rule. Rather, I'd say it's a starting point. If a 1/1 gets three DNFs in a row, from experienced seekers who mentioned that they gave the area a thorough search, checked the area mentioned in the hint, etc, I'd say it's probable that the cache needs a visit from the owner. If it's a 5/5 with three DNFs from relatively inexperienced seekers, saying that they gave it a quick search, then I'd say those logs are not an indication of a problem.

 

Its a rule in this area. Three DNFs trigger a reviewer disablement, and if the CO is not active or replies to the page in 30 days it gets archived. The problem with this is that on a few occasions I've noticed 2 DNFs from the same group with little experience. Also when it is disabled it discourages anyone else from looking for it, and happens despite the difficulty. It seems to be a way to punish the COs who are not active, or to discourage difficult hides. The majority of geocachers are not active every day, and some only log in a few months per year.

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...can someone please explain this 3 DNF "rule"that I've seen in a few threads now?

There really is no rule. Rather, I'd say it's a starting point. If a 1/1 gets three DNFs in a row, from experienced seekers who mentioned that they gave the area a thorough search, checked the area mentioned in the hint, etc, I'd say it's probable that the cache needs a visit from the owner. If it's a 5/5 with three DNFs from relatively inexperienced seekers, saying that they gave it a quick search, then I'd say those logs are not an indication of a problem.

 

Its a rule in this area. Three DNFs trigger a reviewer disablement, and if the CO is not active or replies to the page in 30 days it gets archived. The problem with this is that on a few occasions I've noticed 2 DNFs from the same group with little experience. Also when it is disabled it discourages anyone else from looking for it, and happens despite the difficulty. It seems to be a way to punish the COs who are not active, or to discourage difficult hides. The majority of geocachers are not active every day, and some only log in a few months per year.

 

I don't see it as a punishment to the CO. All she needs to do is add a note that the cache is a tricky find then enable the cache. If she's listed it as a D1 then maybe she should change the D rating to a more appropriate one that wouldn't grab the reviewer's attention when 3 separate DNFs in a row show up. The CO doesn't need to log in daily or even monthly, but they should monitor their email and they should respond at least on the cache page when problems arise.

 

From the guidelines:

Geocache Maintenance

  • Owner is responsible for geocache listing maintenance.As the owner of your cache listing, your responsibility includes quality control of all posts to the cache listing.Delete any logs that appear to be bogus, counterfeit, off-topic or otherwise inappropriate.
     
  • Owner is responsible for visits to the physical location.You are responsible for occasional visits to your cache to ensure it is in proper working order, especially when someone reports a problem with the cache (missing, damaged, wet, etc.), or posts a Needs Maintenance log. Temporarily disable your cache to let others know not to search for it until you have addressed the problem. You are permitted a reasonable amount of time – generally up to 4 weeks – in which to check on your cache. If a cache is not being maintained, or has been temporarily disabled for an unreasonable length of time, we may archive the listing.
     

Edited by L0ne R

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Its a rule in this area. Three DNFs trigger a reviewer disablement, and if the CO is not active or replies to the page in 30 days it gets archived. The problem with this is that on a few occasions I've noticed 2 DNFs from the same group with little experience. Also when it is disabled it discourages anyone else from looking for it, and happens despite the difficulty. It seems to be a way to punish the COs who are not active, or to discourage difficult hides. The majority of geocachers are not active every day, and some only log in a few months per year.

 

I don't see it as a punishment to the CO. All she needs to do is add a note that the cache is a tricky find then enable the cache. If she's listed it as a D1 then maybe she should change the D rating to a more appropriate one that wouldn't grab the reviewer's attention when 3 separate DNFs in a row show up. The CO doesn't need to log in daily or even monthly, but they should monitor their email and they should respond at least on the cache page when a problems arise.

 

The disablement occurs despite the difficulty. At that point many are reluctant to post a note and simply reenable it, as they feel obliged to go and check on it, as it is what the reviewer asked of them. This causes more and more people to simply not post any DNFs and to hide something easy without any challenge. They also may not respond to the note with an intention to check on it, but forget. Meanwhile, it probably would have been found by other parties, but they skipped it because it was disabled.

Edited by 4wheelin_fool

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Its a rule in this area. Three DNFs trigger a reviewer disablement, and if the CO is not active or replies to the page in 30 days it gets archived. The problem with this is that on a few occasions I've noticed 2 DNFs from the same group with little experience. Also when it is disabled it discourages anyone else from looking for it, and happens despite the difficulty. It seems to be a way to punish the COs who are not active, or to discourage difficult hides. The majority of geocachers are not active every day, and some only log in a few months per year.

 

I don't see it as a punishment to the CO. All she needs to do is add a note that the cache is a tricky find then enable the cache. If she's listed it as a D1 then maybe she should change the D rating to a more appropriate one that wouldn't grab the reviewer's attention when 3 separate DNFs in a row show up. The CO doesn't need to log in daily or even monthly, but they should monitor their email and they should respond at least on the cache page when a problems arise.

 

The disablement occurs despite the difficulty. At that point many are reluctant to post a note and simply reenable it, as they feel obliged to go and check on it, as it is what the reviewer asked of them. This causes more and more people to simply not post any DNFs and to hide something easy without any challenge. They also may not respond to the note with an intention to check on it, but forget. Meanwhile, it probably would have been found by other parties, but they skipped it because it was disabled.

 

OK. It hasn't been my experience but I can see that it could happen. I have one difficult cache (D4) that frequently gets DNFs but 3 DNFs in a row (separate visits - not one group visit) would make me want to investigate. If I couldn't check within a couple of weeks, I may not disable it but I'd post a note saying when I planned to get out there.

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Its a rule in this area. Three DNFs trigger a reviewer disablement, and if the CO is not active or replies to the page in 30 days it gets archived. The problem with this is that on a few occasions I've noticed 2 DNFs from the same group with little experience. Also when it is disabled it discourages anyone else from looking for it, and happens despite the difficulty. It seems to be a way to punish the COs who are not active, or to discourage difficult hides. The majority of geocachers are not active every day, and some only log in a few months per year.

 

I don't see it as a punishment to the CO. All she needs to do is add a note that the cache is a tricky find then enable the cache. If she's listed it as a D1 then maybe she should change the D rating to a more appropriate one that wouldn't grab the reviewer's attention when 3 separate DNFs in a row show up. The CO doesn't need to log in daily or even monthly, but they should monitor their email and they should respond at least on the cache page when a problems arise.

 

The disablement occurs despite the difficulty. At that point many are reluctant to post a note and simply reenable it, as they feel obliged to go and check on it, as it is what the reviewer asked of them. This causes more and more people to simply not post any DNFs and to hide something easy without any challenge. They also may not respond to the note with an intention to check on it, but forget. Meanwhile, it probably would have been found by other parties, but they skipped it because it was disabled.

 

OK. It hasn't been my experience but I can see that it could happen. I have one difficult cache (D4) that frequently gets DNFs but 3 DNFs in a row (separate visits - not one group visit) would make me want to investigate. If I couldn't check within a couple of weeks, I may not disable it but I'd post a note saying when I planned to get out there.

If you happen to notice some old, fat, crippled dude in a smelly hat, trying, (poorly), to hide behind a bit of shrubbery, it's just me trying to figure out where your cache is at. :ph34r:

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The cache was certainly gone, as there was a very good spoiler photo

There was no DNF before, but two more appeared after our visit.

It's not a commonly visited location

It's a vacation cache with a local maintainer (who, as I just noticed hasn't logged in for more than 6 months, but we didn't know this when we were at GZ)

We happened to have a fitting replacement container with us

To replace the cache requires at least a 1 hour drive into the mountains, entrance fee to a historical site and then a roughly 250m high hike up a mountain over rough terrain.

 

What would you have done in that situation?

It depends. If it is a worthy cache site and I had an appropriate replacement container (which typically I don't carry with me) and a cache at that location did not compromise the natural setting then, yep, I might replace it. Perhaps even more so if the CO and maintainer have gone dark.

 

It is not geolitter if I perform maintenance regardless if the owner is active, or not. As long as there is a viable container at the site it makes no difference who did the maintenance. Eventually the cache may need maintenance again and at that time someone else will either come to the rescue or start the NM-NA process.

 

When no one is willing to keep it alive it will die its due death. It doesn't matter if that death is within 3 months or three years.

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I'm not posting our thoughts and discussion points yet.

Let me guess. You left a replacement and the cache owner didn't like it. Maybe even deleted your found it log.

 

 

To be honest: no. We left, me with a bad feeling that whoever is maintaining this cache has to go through a lot of effort to replace it - should it actually happen while I happened to have a container in my backpack (I usually never have, but found this one on the street with no owner indication and none such cache nearby just before our vacation). We simple left a DNF on it, and maybe a NM should come as well.

 

I think in a similar situation: certainly gone and difficult to reach, in my homezone, from a cacher I know I might have replaced it without prior contact and just posted a note instead of a find. But I see it was better to not do it here.

For me, cache maintainance starts even before I place a cache. I ask myself if I'd be willing to return anytime a problem arose and if the answer is no, I don't place the cache. While it's admirable to feel for the CO and try to save them a trip out, in the end, they placed the cache and agreed to maintain it.

 

...can someone please explain this 3 DNF "rule"that I've seen in a few threads now?

There really is no rule. Rather, I'd say it's a starting point. If a 1/1 gets three DNFs in a row, from experienced seekers who mentioned that they gave the area a thorough search, checked the area mentioned in the hint, etc, I'd say it's probable that the cache needs a visit from the owner. If it's a 5/5 with three DNFs from relatively inexperienced seekers, saying that they gave it a quick search, then I'd say those logs are not an indication of a problem.

 

Heck, three DNF's from experienced seekers on a true 5/5 wouldn't make me bat an eye. Those are the types of caches that should rack up DNF's.

 

I've noticed that our local reviewer(s) seem to be disabling caches for DNF's as of late. I think that's a shame. There are plenty of tough caches that pile up the DNF's and there really isn't anything wrong with them...they're just tough to find. I don't understand the mentality that just because a cache isn't being found = a problem with the cache. People don't log DNF's now, so it's a bad idea to discourage them even more by disabling caches because of DNF's.

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I am OK with replacing a cache but not in the case you posted. If I find a container that is broken and leaking and I have one like it I feel OK replacing it. If the CO is active. Or If I know the cacher and can reach out to them to find out what is up. If I couldn't find it at all and didn't know the cacher then NO I wouldn't replace it. This is just a game though so do what you think is best for each situation. I know I am happy if someone fixes one of our caches especially if it is one that would require a lot of work for us to do. Not that we are not willing to do it but would be nice if someone who was already there with the stuff to do it could.

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What you are describing is a 'throw down cache'. "I couldn't find the cache. So I'll hide a nano to replace the ammo can, so I can get a smiley." Please don't!

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I would have posted a DNF, missing or not the cache was not found. I had a cache years ago that people had trouble finding. I even had trouble finding it when checking on it. Twice I replaced my cache because I could not find. Then some post that they found three of them. :unsure: Some times the camo is just too good B)

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I helped my sister develop and place a unique cache, as such I have it on my watchlist. I like reading all the positive comments and watch it rack up the favorite points. I was recently horrified when someone posted a picture of a film can at GZ. EKKK thats not the cache. She rushed up there, quickly found the film can AND her cache sitting in the same spot as we placed it and in plain sight.

 

I would NEVER place a throw down container a smile is not that important to me.

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