Now, Muriel, no one said that moving was going to be easy. It’s been a chaotic time for all of us. And, true, our new place isn’t perfect. It doesn’t have the crown molding you wanted. There’s no central air. And, yes, every night at 3 AM, we’re awakened by frantic scratching sounds from inside the walls. It’s just the house settling, sweetheart! You know, like we did in ’96.

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Okay, I admit it, Angela: the space gets a little drafty. And the roof leaks into the attic when it rains. And all the water stains look like faces. Buyer beware, I suppose! I’ll go to Home Depot tomorrow.

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Sometimes, BethAnn, to get a historic home at such a steal, you have to take a few lumps and bumps. Or rashes. Or unexplained bite marks.

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Sandra, I know you miss the city, and your friends, and your law career. But think about what’s good for the family! I mean, when’s the last time the kids have been around this much nature? Not a soul for miles!!! With views like this, who needs cell service???

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Glennifer, you say you didn’t come here to scrub ectoplasm out of the upholstery or sweep piles of dead birds off the front porch. I hear you. But all of us are making sacrifices. My daily commute is twenty minutes longer!

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Elise, I think it’s a little hypocritical that you want to check into a hotel. Weren’t you the one who wanted to spend more time together as a family? That means you, me, Harper, Harper’s new invisible friend, and the swarms of flies that periodically pour from our open mouths. Do you really want to ruin Taco Night?

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Mary-Jo, I know that Liam has been bouncing off the walls lately. (“Crawling up,” you say? Tomato, tomahto.) But that’s just little boys for you! Personally, I was hoping football would be his sport, but, with those backbends, the kid’s going to be a heck of a gymnast. And he’s learning Latin? Hello, scholarship!!!!

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Sherrilynne, I’m sorry to hear that you feel “on edge.” And “trapped.” And “like the wallpaper of your psyche is peeling back in ribbons.” That’s heavy. It sounds like you could use some more self-care, darling. Like when I go to the basement in the middle of the night and stare at the furnace with no expression. That’s my “me time.”

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Blertrude, of course I’m listening to you! I mean, it’s kind of hard not to with all that screaming. Can we talk about this later after you’ve calmed down?

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Leanne, I know exactly what you mean. Sometimes, I look into the mirror in the morning and think, “Who is that old man with the receding hairline and glowing red eyes staring back at me?” Parenthood — it’s not for sissies!

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Janet, I know we’re in a bit of a rough patch, but I’m surprised at you… Of course I’m not seeing someone else! And if I was, she definitely wouldn’t be some suicide blonde with a French maid outfit and half a face who lives next to the furnace. You’re the only girl for me, honey-bunny. Even if you do get jealous.

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Angela, try to look at it this way. Eventually, we may outgrow this place. Or I may get the ax from the woodshed and, at last, act out my violent dreams. But even if we’re not here forever (though we could be!!!!! Who knows???), we all need to put in the work if this house is going to become a home. Right? Now, if you excuse me, I think the furnace is calling me.