Monday, July 25, 2005

How Many Shades of White Are There?

You may be able to tell by the title: we painted over the weekend.

In two weeks, we are hosting two Japanese scouts for a week: a Boy Scout and a Girl Scout. I haven't quite figured out who is sleeping where yet and the living room is a disaster area of major proportions. The hallway, however, does really need to be painted.

We have been in this house 19 years. For all 19, I have talked about using the hallway on the stairs as a family portrait gallery. Recently, on a commercial for a cable company, I noticed that the set designers had taken ordinary trellis, mounted it on the wall and hung pictures on it.

"What a neat idea," I thought. But rather than use redwood or cedar trellis, I wanted white trellis. Kind of a white-on-white or a white-on-off-white idea: the trellis would add texture, but not color because the hallway is rather dark and I wanted the emphasis to be on the pictures.

DD#1 was home from camp to do laundry. She has pretty good style and color sense, so she and I went to the major Big Box Hardware Store. We began to look at paint chips. I tried to explain my idea. She thought I was nuts. After about 30 minutes, I said, "Follow me," and we went off in search of trellis so I could show her my idea.

We found it, in lightweight plastic, in almond, in the right size, at the right price. This never happens to me. So, we grabbed it and went back to the paint section. She's looking at the two chips we had when I spot a booklet of paint chips. All "neutral"--which means, essentially, white and beige. Now, instead of two shades of white to choose from, we had ten, all subtly different under the glare of the distant fluorescent lamps of a massive warehouse. I had to buy two gallons of a shade that would look good in my darkish hallway with an almond trellis on it that will be covered with portraits.


Once we decided on a color, I then had to pick the paint. I knew what I wanted, but each manufacturer has a different name for their product. I want latex semi-gloss. Is that the same as satin? Is that the same as eggshell latex enamel? And there is white and white base--which one do I bring to the front so the color can be mixed? DD#1 has no clue either.

Finally, we get everything we need and pay. We stopped to do some grocery shopping, then headed home. Hubs & DS#1, who had been doing yard work in the back, helped unload the car.
"So what color did you get?" asks DS#1.

"It's that splotch on the can lid," I answer.

"What splotch?"

"The one next to the label."

"We're painting the wall bird splotch white?" Only he didn't use the word "splotch."

"Yes," I answer. I was hot. I was hungry. I was mentally drained.

Hubs and DS#1 finally got the hallway painted yesterday.

"Are you going to finish tomorrow?" I asked.

"What do you mean, 'finish'?" Hubs replies. "I thought you just wanted the stairway painted."

"Well, it looks kind of stupid not to do the hallway to the bedrooms," I point out.

DS#1 is home today. He is supposed to finish the hallway and maybe do a second coat, although this paint is good and we might be able to get away with just one.

"So when are you going to put up the trellis and the pictures?" DD#1 asked.

At the rate we're going, probably just before Hubs and I move into a care home!