On Saturday I came home to find Kyle had bought flowers, puffs of yellow and spiky strands of snapdragons and naïve little carnations, and I tried to figure out how to squeeze them into the vintage blue mason jar unearthed from the basement of Old House. Thank you, Old House, I thought. Because life is like that: unequal in its pleasures. And somehow this new-old vase, which I adore, can blanket the pain of everything Old House has asked.

In addition to (badly) arranging flowers, this weekend we painted our floors in Oldest House. Or we started, anyway. Because those that said the floors were pretty beat up, they weren’t wrong. And also, we would like to have a usable upstairs sometime in our lifetime—a big goal, I know, but just can’t stop the ambition—and our refinishing attempt was going to take us the rest of our lives.

So we prepped—sanding and washing down with TSP and letting it dry—and then we layered on a coat of a floor paint. One thing I’ve learned from this process is that British people are way ahead of us on the painted-floor curve (perhaps because they are used to dealing with wonky old floors) and so it’s not a surprise that what seems to be the best floor paint comes from a British company. Which, for bonus points, is no VOC and doesn’t give you a headache as you lay it on.

And, one coat in, we have this:

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I know, I know. Painted floors are a love ‘em or hate ‘em thing. Eventually, if resale comes, we will lay something new down. But we like then and we are the ones living here right now. Which is exactly what I can picture the homeowners back in the 1800s saying, as they swabbed emerald green on the boards, and then the folks who painted the floors scarlet a decade or so later. I mean, we have to live in these houses, but mostly we have to live
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We left the floors to dry and went downstairs, and because I no longer had floors floors floors on the mind, I could take a fresh look at our life. On the dining room table sat the new flowers. Next to last week’s flowers, edging into decline. Sitting beside two other vases of fake flowers that haven’t yet found their forever homes. Four flower arrangements on one table and we hadn’t even noticed, because Oldest House is still barely-tamed chaos.

Hm, I said. Maybe it’s a little much.

It’s a little excessive, Kyle agreed.

Too many flowers. Too many things to do. But it’s a hard thing to be upset by. I can picture the upstairs: a blank, calm place. Waiting.

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