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Thirty-three steps.

It takes me thirty-three steps to walk from the watermelon welcome mat my husband bought for me through every room in our house and out the backdoor to the patch of grass we call a yard.  It helps that there are no doors to slow me down, minus the bathroom and the closet, both of which have the same bi-fold, louvered door so we can still see each other when they’re closed.  I’d recommend this for any new couple – it is a real sink-or-swim approach to your new found lack of privacy.

When people ask about our house, it doesn’t take long for a sweet smile to play on their lips.  They call it charming as they reminisce about where they started with their spouse, the places they lived when they were just starting to build a life together.

I suppose there is a lot of charm.  We put a lot of work into making it our own, sometimes sacrificing our own happiness as we fought over throw pillows in Pier 1 and sanded down furniture until our hands bled in the DIY project from Hell.  It was only after we finished everything, our dining table looking a bit like a bad pedicure, that we discovered electric sanders.

In the end, it all came together.  A hodgepodge of hand-me-down furniture and discount decor became our home.  Those thirty-three steps hold so much of what I love: the hundred-year-old player piano my husband used to wake me up with, peddling away and singing the Chattanooga Choo Choo; the old brown leather recliner whose arms hug me when I write; the throw pillows I fought for because the colorful owls on them were just so darn cute; our favorite Mardi Gras throws including the Muses shoe I waited years for; all the pictures of our life together, of our families and friends who made us who we are; the mice in our ceiling…

[disgusted shiver followed by gagging]

One day when we look back, we might have that same sweet smile thinking of where we started.  We may even be envious of our past selves, the simplicity of their life, how deep we slept under the roar of the window units.  For now, we are just thankful to have everything we need just a few steps away.

And for exterminators.   Thank the Lord for exterminators.

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