It's unfortunate that ants won't die if you just swear at them. After yesterday's scrubfest, I have airtight scientific proof of this fact. While ants will die if you spray them with orange-scented cleanser (is it the fact that it's a cleanser or that it's orangey that does the killing, I wonder?) and swear at them, swearing alone does not seem to do the trick.Ants are difficult to squish.


We set out on a Saturday afternoon to conquer the wilds of the furniture stores, a few days after Misty and I had performed our scouting mission for sectionals. I consider furniture shopping an occasional, horrific necessity, similar in scope and pain threshold to car shopping.

Do not mistake me: like the purchase of my car two years ago, I will celebrate the purchase of this sectional once it is completed. We are both looking forward to the furniture shuffling that will take place once the purchase is made, but the process....Well, the process of getting there, I could really and truly do without. Okay, perhaps not the entire process, but I think I'd be happier if I were at least allowed to superficially wound the furniture salesmen that annoy me.

Moment of return

My bones sang 'done' before I could even get off the ladder. Even though the notes were a bit premature, I let them come anyway. Only when the tape was down and the first coat of touchup paint was applied did I really allow myself to think 'done' and mean it.

Even now, the word is still debatable, but my relief is not.

Do interior painting even once and you learn the dance: tape up, paint up, tape down, patch areas of missing color with new wall color, patch areas of new-color overspray with the trim color. Get off ladder. Sleep.

Almost there, kid.

I started yanking the tape down in earnest at seven-thirty tonight, and within thirty minutes the striped Medusa pile lay in the entranceway, ready to grab the pants leg of anyone who ventured too close. After the tape was down, I picked up the bucket of red paint and began to clean up lines made ragged by the tape's removal.

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Coat number something-or-other

Supposedly, childbirth is something like this, on a grander and more primal level: you hate every single moment of the process but, the moment it's over, you forget the pain and oooh and aaah over the end result.

Bonus point #1 to childbirth: the end result provides you with one Eternally Good Guilt Trip card for the rest of your existence.

Bonus point #1 to furniture finishing: people look at you funny if you kick off your shoes and prop your feet up on your kids when company comes over. Bonus point #2: unless your table sets amazing new records for furniture intelligence, your college tuition costs are pretty much guaranteed to be nil.

Bonus point #2 to childbirth: grandtables are rare, and according to rumor, not nearly so satisfying as grandchildren.

Taking possession of the soup

Ours was pizza, pieces swiped directly from the box, fingers wiped indiscriminately on the lid to rid them of the excess oil. We sat on the little step between the kitchen and what would become the living room, laughing self-consciously at how our voices echoed in the empty room.

The floor, at that particular moment, was nothing but concrete. Our first task after taking possession of our new house was to rip up every shred of carpeting, to prepare the house for the laying-down of newer, better carpet. We'd chosen to sink some extra money into the carpet allowance we'd received from the previous owners, and we intended to get good-quality carpeting with thick padding.Our voices echoed off the walls, the concrete, the ceiling. When we walked around, the steps echoed throughout the house, and we sat there on the edge of the step, looking around at this building—floors, windows, ceilings, fans, doors—in wonder and astonishment because it was ours.

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A hair rock band, and a red-haired girl

When we went house-hunting in 1999, we deliberately chose to look for a three-bedroom house. Not because we planned to have children, but to slake our burgeoning computer habit. A bedroom for us, a bedroom for guests, and a bedroom that we could turn into an office of sorts—a home for our computers.