Friday, September 18, 2009

17 Quart Samples, 7 Weeks and 1 Doctor's Office Visit Later

When we first started this remodeling project eight holy mother of Sponge Bob weeks ago, I never dreamed it would take this long get everything finished. But keeping carpenters, electricians, painters, masons, window hangers and toilet setter uppers lined up and on schedule is an ordeal that just has to play itself out. As my friend, Mia, joked at the doctor’s office last week, everybody you hire says their job will take “two weeks”. It doesn’t matter if it’s hanging cabinets or fixing a light switch. How long will it take? Two weeks. Two weeks becomes three. Three becomes four…and you get the picture. We’re probably about two thirds of the way through this project, but we’re making real progress. In fact, I don’t want to get carried away, but GREAT GERTIE I HAVE A TILED KITCHEN BACK SPLASH! (Pictures coming soon to a blog near you.) While I whine about how long some of this takes, I have to be honest and admit that at least one aspect of the work has been slowed by….me. Yes, me. The lashing with the wet noodle begins now.

Weeks ago I made a comment on this very blog about being swift in my choices for all of the materials for the remodeling. Remember how I bragged about being sure and decisive? And I was decisive. Flooring? The man dropped off samples, I examined them in every room and by the next day I gave him my selection. Granite? I spent twenty minutes in the granite yard looking at each piece and made a choice with confidence. Tile? Not a problem. Ten minutes. Grout? Easy cheesy. Light fixtures? An hour in Home Depot and my cart was full. Another thirty minutes in Lowes and I had all of my ceiling fans. See, decisive. Except for one thing. Paint. And that has been a boil on my backside for seven, yes I said seven, weeks.

When I wrote recently about how paint keeps me up at night, I was not joking. I haven’t had this much trouble making a decision since I went prom dress shopping in 1982. I know some people say, “Oh, it’s just paint. If it doesn’t look good, paint over it.” Well, I’m paying a pretty penny for this painting and frankly, I don’t need them rolling on any more coats than I have the funds for. Also, I can’t stand to live in a house with wall colors I don’t like. Call me quirky, but it makes me uncomfortable to live with certain colors. So this decision is big. Really big, and I’m afraid of screwing it up.

When this project began we hired our painter right away, even though he wasn’t going to start for a while. We’ve used him before, and he’s great. Knowing that he uses only Sherwin-Williams paint, I went to the local Sherwin-Williams store and grabbed a sample card of every color. From the beginning I knew I wanted two things: lighter and brighter and shades of yellow, green, red and blue. While the old colors in the home were beautiful, they were dark. Very dark browns and oranges. In order for us to live there, the house needed to have a brighter, happier feel than when Sissy lived there. The very first time I sifted through those cards, I came across one that had the exact look I wanted, a pale creamy yellow foyer leading into a living room that was a slightly darker shade of gold. I put it in the keeper pile and started planning other items around those two colors. I bought a quart sample of each, along with two similar shades for comparison and rolled them on various walls of the house to see what they looked like, and I made a bad mistake. I second guessed myself. Neither shade seemed quite perfect enough, so I bought more samples and rolled those on the wall. And more and more, seeking the perfect shade of gold until I had so many that nothing looked right. I was also buying samples of blues, reds and greens for other rooms, so before you know it I had seventeen quart samples of various shades sitting on the kitchen counter. Seventeen! Paint store clerk Jason started laughing at me openly when I would walk into the store and would ask, “Have you picked a color YET?” Now, I have taken leadership classes, have been a manager for years and worked in fast paced environments where I had to make decisions about high risks or big expenses quickly. I can evaluate and act fast. I do it all of the time. But this stinkin’ paint thing just paralyzed me. I was about to throw my hands into the air when Hubby called me at work one morning to tell me he had found THE gold. He had taken Papa T. to the audiologist, and Hubby swore that the gold on Dr. Tony’s walls was the exact shade I was looking for. So the next day, which was a Saturday, we drove to his office and peered into the doors and windows, checking out the paint. And I hollered Eureka! It WAS the right color. It was beautiful and exactly how I had pictured it in my mind. On the following Monday, I called Dr. Tony’s, and the sweet receptionist opened up their last can of paint in the back closet and smeared some of it onto a piece of white cardboard so I could take it to Sherwin-Williams for a match.


Jason was almost as excited as I was. He mixed it up and gave it a special name, just for me, Butter Cream.
“This is IT!” I declared to him and rushed home to roll it onto the walls. Which I did. I put it in the living room, and the kitchen and the bedroom and sang the songs of angels while I did it. Then I went home to sleep and dream of butter. And when I came back the next day I sat on the floor and screamed because the paint looked like C-R-A-P. Crap, crap, crap. Orangey, dark shinola. Butt ugly, my baby pooped carrots shinola. It just didn’t look the same in my house as it did at Dr. Tony’s.

The next day the painter called and asked for my paint colors because he was ready to start. I gave him the ceiling and trim colors, the green for the dining room and the red for the guest bathroom. I begged for a little more time on the yellow/cream thing. He agreed and started with the dining room. The green was perfect. It was just the shade I wanted.
And I felt a little better.


The red was fine, too. (It's not this bright in real life.)

Just what I wanted and I felt some relief. As a last ditch effort I tried two more shades of yellow, but they were too…well….yellow. As I eyeballed all the colors on the living room wall, sweating over the fact that I needed to HURRY UP AND MAKE A DECISION BECAUSE YOU’RE OUT OF TIME DANG IT I noticed something. Two colors suddenly seemed right. You guessed it. The first two colors I started out with. So I sheepishly called the painter and told him to get some Cottage Cream and White Raisin and get to rollin’, and he said, “Coooool.”

His crew starts at 5am. Yes, I said 5am. At least we’re not living in this house while he’s painting it. We were when he painted for us the first time, and staggering to the front door at 4:45am in a tea stained robe to let him in every morning was painful. He does a great job though, so we lived with the early start time. Anyhoo, his crew was well underway by the time I headed to work on the day they started painting the living room. I drove past the house and tried not to look. I swore I wouldn’t worry about and that I would drive straight to work. Then I circled the blocked and pulled into the drive. I hesitantly walked through the back door, peeked around the corner and breathed a great sigh of relief. It was lovely. Beautiful. Just like I wanted it. Buttery and creamy.
And just a little darker in the living room. Much better than before.
I heard angels singing. I walked on air out the door and spent the next two weeks admiring the lovely golden and green and red walls of the new house. And we all lived happily ever after.

Until this week. When Hubby called and said that coat of blue they had finally gotten around to putting on the master bathroom liked like C-R-A-P. I thought he was joking. Then I went home. And sat in the floor and pulled out a chunk of hair. Because it looks like blue muck. Poo poo muck. Which means I’ll be back at Sherwin-Williams this weekend for yet another sample or two. You know, if they had those little cards you punched every time you made a purchase there, I’d be getting something free by now.

56 comments:

Mia said...

I love that color! As Linda Richman (a.k.a Mike Myers)used to say "Its just like buttah!!"

Jan n Jer said...

What a nightmare picking out paint. I do love your butter cream in the L.room. It s so warm and inviting.

Thena said...

I love the green. So fresh and crisp.

J.G. said...

You were right, right, RIGHT about the red, yellow and green colors. So all your angst paid off. They are gorgeous, BTW.

Blue is a tricky color but you can do that one, too!

By normal standards, you already have "years of experience" at this!

oreneta said...

At least the blue is easier to change than the tiled back splash....

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