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September 03, 2002: Groundwork

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Yesterday night, after the game was over and people were packing up to leave, I roped all the guys into helping Richard move the china cabinet away from the wall in the dining room, because it is very large and tall and heavy and I wasn't sure he and I could manage it by ourselves. Then this morning, after Richard went to work and I had fortified myself with my usual breakfast fare from Starbucks, I dragged all the remaining furniture out of the dining room. The little bookcase full of cookbooks was easy to drag, and is now sitting at the end of one of the counters in the kitchen, in just such a position as to startle anyone who walks in the garage door. The grandmother clock, which hasn't worked in months, I put against a wall near the front door. The simple process of moving it shifted something in the gears and it began to tick, and then chime the hours at random throughout the day, despite the fact that apparently the pendulum fell off. All the chairs I stacked in awkward duos against walls in the living room and breakfast nook, until all that was left was the china cabinet standing in the middle of the room, the top nearly touching the chandelier, and the dining room table.

I taped the entire room first. I lined all the baseboards and ceiling molding, and the molding around the doors, and the window and windowsill with thick dark blue painters tape. And only when that was done did I pull on shoes and grab my little color strip and drive off to the hardware store to buy the paint, where I realized that I had forgotten to measure the room and only had a vague idea of the square footage. Luckily I guessed right. It took me just slightly less than a gallon of paint to cover all four walls, and the painting of those walls took me until just about 3 in the afternoon.

I know myself too well, being the sort to whom messes happen with great regularity, so I was prepared with a damp towel already set aside on the plastic sheeting that covered the dining room table when I managed to drop a glob of paint on the floor. And I was also ready when I realized that there were tiny little blue paw prints leading off underneath the table, where lay a small black and fuzzy cat with blue toes and a spray of blue in his tail. I'd assumed, you see, that the cats would find the smell of paint repugnant and avoid me while I was working. I hadn't counted on the fact that the need to be right where I am is stronger than mere paint fumes. Thankfully Azzie was the only one who managed to decorate himself; the others tended to watch from the doorways, or perch on the edge of the china cabinet, careful to keep toes and tails clear of the paint.

Colors always look darker once they're on the wall, and this one is no exception. But comparing the color strip to the walls, and comparing my practice chunk of sheetrock (2 feet by 4 feet - this is a big chunk), it really is the right color. The room is very blue right now. It's a nice blue, although neither of us cares particularly for the additional blue of the painter's tape that must remain up for a few more days. But at least phase one of my project is complete. And as soon as this coat of paint dries, phase two can begin.

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