The day started early with Bruce trying to get downstairs as soon as he heard Phil stirring to go to the bathroom. I don’t know how many times either Amanda or I picked him up to get in bed during the night, but he was pretty obnoxious. When he got me up at 6:00, I hardly got back t o sleep.

By 7:00 I was in the shower and by 7:30 my father-in-law, Phil Mercer, and I were at Home Depot getting Phil a new saw and a few other little things. At that same time, Amanda was getting us bagels from Atlanta Bread Company. We got home, ate the bagels and began.

Phil started spreading the glue and I was laying down the planks. My grandparent-in-laws, Earl and Peggy Lemons, arrived at some point and when they did, my brother-in-law Michael Mercer got up. Amanda got her mom and grandma out of the house and we menfolk developed a pretty good system, which worked until noon when Carolina played (and ultimately beat) my Kentucky Wildcats. At that point Michael left us and Earl and Phil took a lunch break. By then I think we were mostly through with the living room.

The system was this: Phil put down the glue, Michael and I laid down the bamboo planks and Earl cut pieces for us. It shifted at some point to me doing the glue and Phil helping out with pieces that needed to be specially cut.

Once we got to the hallway it was hard for everyone to work together. Eventually Earl was cutting beginning and ending pieces for us, Michael and I alternated gluing and laying down the planks as well as scraping every last little bit of glue we could get out of the four gallon bucket, while Phil ripped boards for the last narrow little part. Michael and I were effectively done around 4:00 I’d say, while Phil and Earl worked on getting some specialized wrap-around-the-door jamb pieces cut. While they finished that up Michael and I played some Gears of War, then I took all the boxes the wood had been in to the recycling bins at Lowe’s Food. I drove Earl’s truck, a Chevy S-10 like my dad used to drive. It kind of took me back.

Amanda had a full day as well. First she got her mom and grandma out of the house by going Christmas tree shopping. I haven’t seen it unwrapped yet, but I’ve heard several times that it’s a very pretty tree. They then ran out to get us some paint remover- some pretty hardcore stuff, since some glue had gotten on some wood and Phil realized that the remover we’d gotten earlier today was actually more glue. (No, he didn’t spread it to come to this realization.)

When they got back from that the three ladies were all in the tiny open area left in our kitchen. Our kitchen is already small, but when you throw a couple couches in there to boot, there’s really just no room. Amanda mentioned getting them to go out to do some Christmas shopping, at which point I told her I loved her and gave her a kiss. We menfolk just didn’t need the added stress of having them offer extra suggestions and second guessing anything we were doing. We were all doing that to ourselves quite enough.

We were almost completely finished by the time the ladies came home. To be honest, it took a lot less time than any of us expected. Having all the extra help was of course a major factor in that. I hope everything is okay though- there was a lot of light traffic on those floors before there was supposed to be.

Everybody left shortly after it got dark. The three occupants here all took showers. Amanda picked up some food and Michael went out to eat with his now-just-friends friend Sarah Denning. At 7:00 I watched Duke play Georgetown, who beat a #1 ranked Duke Blue Devils last year the same week Pup Pup (my maternal grandpa, for those who don’t know) died.

Duke didn’t play too hot in the first half. The vaunted Duke defense was hard to find and the offense was almost nonexistent. Georgetown went on something like a 12-0 run or some such terrible thing. There were some very good points in the first half though- namely the early performance of Demarcus Nelson, who always seems to start the Blue Devils off right, and the fact that Martynas Pocius had some really sweet shots finally. I’ve always heard he can be an offensive asset, but he’s never really had much playing time. Unfortunately he had two quick fouls early in the second half and had to sit.

Duke had a much better second half. While turnovers still plagued them, Josh McRoberts and Greg Paulus finally stepped up big time. It was great to see them do that and I really REALLY hope it’s a sign of things to come. Freshman Jon Scheyer also had a nice night, but the big story in Duke’s 61-52 revenge victory over Georgetown (which also tied them up 6-6 versus each other all-time) was the coming out of the sophomore team captains, Josh McRoberts and Greg Paulus.

I’m going to go downstairs and play a game of something with Michael and Sarah now. Amanda went to sleep right after the game.

Man, that bamboo hardwood floor looks nice!

Michael, Sarah and I played Scrabble. The two of them played quite a bit of Scrabble and know all sorts of tricky two and three letter words, so I was expecting to lose. However, I won. I had 239 points, which I feel is decently impressive. Michael and Sarah had 180-something and 170-something, respectively, although Sarah lead Michael most of the game. I won because Sarah kept leaving the Triple Word Score Squares open for me.

Zach Dotsey