Thursday, November 29, 2012

It's Been Harder Than High School Algebra Class

I've been through a terrible ordeal. It's been painful, traumatic, and tear-inducing. Seriously. I broke down in a parking lot and cried.

I've been trying to find a neutral tan/beige/brown to paint my family room.

Laugh if you wish, but if you are laughing, then I'm betting you've never had to try to find that magical color that doesn't read too brown or too yellow or too gray or too muddy or too swine colored. I'm sure it's out there. Others have claimed to find it. But it's my Bigfoot--it has eluded me.

This past weekend, I began to paint our family room. When we moved in, it was painted like this:

It was a green that I could deal with. It was similar to a green that we had in our old house, but a bit darker. I could and did decorate with this green. But after several years of green in the old house and 4 years of green in this house, I was greened out. What had seemed refreshing and neutral (did you know that some greens are considered neutral?) was starting to turn muddy and cave-like. Every time I looked at the paint, which was, you know, DAILY since we live in that room and it connects to the kitchen, I started to get hives. I just couldn't stand it a minute longer. And so it was that I embraced my insanity and declared that we would be painting Thanksgiving weekend so it would be out of the way come Christmas.


First, my beloved painted the ceiling. He has a thing about needing the ceilings to be bright white. I could give a flying fig about how white the ceilings are. I mean, seriously, I'm not all that concerned about the whites in my laundry staying white. Bright white ceilings!? Pffft. So Patrick spent Saturday painting the ceiling. Then on Sunday, while the paint hardened and I twiddled my thumbs in impatience, I went to Lowe's and bought a gallon of what I was sure was going to be the perfect neutral beige paint and some tinted primer.

On Monday, after removing blinds and cover plates and taping every piece of trim AND the fabulously bright white ceiling, I began priming. I started to paint the first coat of paint just as the first children were arriving home from school.

You know what's great about children? Their honesty.

You know what sucks about children? Their honesty.

After the third one came home and said, "Mom, did you mean for the walls to be the same color as the trim? It looks kinda blah in here," exactly like her siblings had, I was teetering on the edge of The Abyss of Losing It. When my husband walked in and said "Are you doing a second coat of primer?" I dropped my paint roller into The Abyss and nearly jumped in after it.

Thankfully, I had only done one wall. I grabbed my car keys, yelled "Order pizza for dinner!" and headed back to Lowe's. In rush hour traffic. In CHRISTMAS rush hour traffic. Hey, do you know what they don't sell at Lowe's? Booze. And it's probably a good thing, as by the time I got there I was ready to sit in a corner with a bottle of anything alcoholic and snarl at people when they came near.

I had with me a pillow with the same shade of brown that I was looking for. I walked back and forth past the paint chips, pulling out anything that looked promising and then discarding it in disgust, until finally, FINALLY I found one that was a near match. I don't know if the other shoppers heard it, but I could distinctly hear angels singing as a golden glow of light enveloped the paint chip in my hands. I took it to the counter and said, "Give me a gallon of your best satin, my good man! And make it snappy, good sir, as I must hasten to slap this paint on the walls before they install me in the loony bin!" Or maybe I just pointed and grunted. I can't be sure. It's all a bit of a haze.

As I was walking through the parking lot with my paint, my phone rang. It was my beloved who told me he would help me paint so that I wouldn't be up until the wee hours. And that, my friends, was when I cried in the parking lot. Little did I know that it wouldn't be the last time that night...

We started putting the new paint on the walls and remarked that while it certainly was darker than the first paint color, it didn't seem as dark as the color on the paint chip. It was at this point that I started to curse Lowe's and their computer. Even though it says the right color on the computer label on the paint can, I think it was mixed wrong. We kept painting, knowing that paint dries darker than it appears when you first apply it.



I'm not sure what color is on our walls. Lavender Swine? Gray Haze Pink? Barely A Notch Above Cream? Whatever it is, it ain't Tattered Sail like the paint chip I picked out. There's a better chance of a monkey leaping out of my butt and singing Jingle Bells than there is of that color resembling the paint chip.

Not that I'm bitter. Ahem.

We decided that we'd take the tape down before the paint hardened, because have you ever left painting tape on too long? There's nothing more frustrating than finishing a paint job and having half of it come off with the tape.

Nothing except choosing the wrong color. For the second time.

We're keeping it the way it is until after the holidays. I just don't have the time or the will to tape everything again and try to find the right color before Christmas. I'm hoping that by putting enough sparkly Christmas decorations up, everyone will be distracted from the paint. Ohh! Look! Shiny!!!

This color isn't true. I think it looks darker here than it really is.

Don't mind the missing cover plates. They'll get put back on. On Christmas Eve. Along with the blinds. And the curtains I have yet to make. Anyone have wine? Anyone? Anyone?

What's an "after" shot without a dog with a vacant stare in it?

See those mirrors on the mantel? I just thought it would look pretty. I had no other motive in my little brain at the time. But it turns out that it was another of my very excellent ideas. Do you know why? Because we are all highly entertained by the Dumb Dog when she chases the beam of a flashlight. Y'all. Those mirrors make it look like a DISCO in here! The poor dog has no idea what just happened. Her tiny little mind is blown. We may have to spend the holidays with the lights off just so she doesn't run herself to death.

Still. In some small and totally sadistic way, it makes up for the paint color.

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