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“Rowe.” I say, sitting down on my bed and taking everything in. This must have taken three gallons to get it covered so well, and they must have worked on this all day. The paint smell was still fresh. I have to admit, I am pretty damned impressed.

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I want to know if the "taking everything in" here is literally that meaning or means he is thinking everything about this.

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When someone is "taking everything in", it means that they're reflecting on everything that's happening to them as well as what it might mean. I would imagine this person is immersed in his current experiences and might be somewhat lost in thought.

In this particular case, the narrator is talking about how they're realizing how much work was required to paint the room and how impressed they are by the level of effort.

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