"Bring it back," an assertive woman said to me last year, standing in our new dining room. She was pointing at the ugly open wound between the brand-new, raggedly planked edge of the floor and the wall. Pale flourescent light from the cellar glimmered through the opening, and the stairs were visible if you cared to look.
She didn't care to. "You can leave the rest of it out there, but bring back the one piece that went along here," she said. So I went back out to the nail-studded debris pile beside the garage and selected "DR#10," the length of beaten, squat, hammer-marked and pry-bar splintered shitty pine that had formerly been the baseboard in that spot. I placed it back into its old location, where it handily blocked the view. Even stunted, beaten and ugly, it improved the room a little. But I wouldn't bring back its kin; no, I knew that in short order we would have new baseboards. I agreed because for the next few weeks -- just until the new baseboards were in -- I wanted my wife to be able to eat in the same room as the unfinished work without having to peer into the cellar, down near where the snakes live.
Yes, we'd get those new baseboards, just as soon as we got a leeetle extra cash together and then whoops we had another baby a month after moving in.
1.25 years pass. I think in that time I may've mentioned baseboards in this space. So you'll understand if my celebration of the matter seems out of proportion to the ease of the task, but I can say today, without fear of hyperbole, that THE NEW BASEBOARDS, INSTALLED TODAY, HAVE CHANGED MY LIFE. Ring the bells, ye givers-of-a-shit-about-the-baseboards, because that glorious day long foretold but oft scoffed at -- and even ofter ignored completely -- has finally arrived and I don't know about you but we are now complete beings here, as complete as the rooms in which our new, clean, tall baseboards stand proudly on the floor and hug the walls in a slow, slow dance.
That is to say, we look better, but we still need to be painted.