A Colorful Old Gal, I Hope They’ll Say

So just for fun, let’s revisit all of the colors I’ve brought into my house so far.

The "garage bathroom," freshly painted and beautiful.

The “garage bathroom,” freshly painted and beautiful.

First there was the lovely blue green in the “garage bathroom.”

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Now you can’t see that wall. Books stacked all against it, waiting for their big move.

 

Next we moved on to “Autumn Moon” in the living and eating and kitchen areas.  It took a few days, but it is done and I still know it’s the right color.  Seven years of marks and dirty hands and baby prints gone.

You’d think, as sentimental as I am, that I might be a little sad over that.

Ah, but no.

I am celebrating the absence of the green marks on the beige wall where Cooter beat it with his little green wooden hammer.  I am ecstatic that the tape marks from the pictures and signs that my girls have taped up are gone.  And those pencil marks, which someone tried to erase, outta here!  Even Miss Sophie’s baby prints (gnawing marks) are gone.

Heartless Mama maybe, but things are being put in order, looking fresh and crisp, made anew.

Yes.  I think my soul was craving this.

We have moved on to the next room.  The room that never really earned a name beyond the “big room” because of its multi-purpose or lack thereof.  It’s soon to be called that lovely and glorious name of “library” or “reading room.”  Books and more books.  All in there together.

Yes.

As I was contemplating what color to put in this room, I came across a picture on Pinterest that took my breath away.  The walls were…..

pink.

Or as I’ve been calling it–PANK y’all.

And the color immediately brought back memories of my Great Great Aunt’s home in the historic district in Macon.  I was fairly certain she’d had a pink room, but it’s possible that I was only recalling the dainty chair with the pink pouf as the seat.  How I LOVED that chair.   I emailed my siblings as to whether they remembered a pink room there.  Sister wrote back.  “Yes, there was.  And there was a picture of a lovely woman in that room.  And green carpet.  If there wasn’t, don’t tell me.”

Aren’t our memories precious and dear, all that they contain? And what gets fuzzy around the edges?

So I began to look at more pictures of pink rooms.  I felt compelled to create a room to remember Aunt Maye in.  She was a petite, quiet spoken love who never had children of her own.  She fell in love with the old house near Coleman Hill shortly after saying “I do” to her husband.  He knew it, and he bought it for her.  They were very sweet together and happy.  Until age caught up with him and Alzheimer’s took the joy away from her eyes.

But the pink is about celebrating her and the treasured memories.  Having Co-Colas in the kitchen with her and then her saying, “Let’s go into the house.” (She was raised in the time when the kitchens WERE separate from the rest of the house.) Oh how I used to wonder why she said that!  The Fruit Stripe gum she kept for us, and the alphabet blocks stored behind the glass of the bookcase.  The Church’s chicken picked up special for us for our lunches with them, and the sitting quietly while she and Mama visited in the hopes that they wouldn’t change the channel, and that we might catch a bit of Aunt Maye’s “stories” on the TV.  The huge furnace grate and the basement below that seemed a bit scary at times.  The way she made us feel so special by letting us play with her lipstick.  She never complained that we mussed up a stick or used one down to the nub.  She was a lovely person, and pink is a lovely color to remember her by.

Three quarters of the way there--with this lovely color called "Sweet Baby's Breath."

Three quarters of the way there–with this lovely color called “Sweet Baby’s Breath.”

So crazy or not, the room is 3/4 of the way there.  By this time tomorrow night the pink will be all done.  And the books will be in place by a week from then, barring anything unforeseen.  The dark wood is lovely with the light, airy color.  I am surprised by my choice, (and by the family’s acquiescing) but not disappointed at all.  It suits.

It's a little softer by lamplight.  And the lamp, though you can't see it here, has sweet pink blossoms painted on it.  Pulls everything together.

It’s a little softer by lamplight. And the lamp, though you can’t see it here, has sweet pink blossoms painted on it. Pulls everything together.

The pink's a little softer by lamplight.  And after moving furniture I decided to bring out my sweet kokeshi dolls from Japan.  They make me smile.  Now that the littles are older and won't try to lick them or eat them *ahem* it's time to enjoy them once again.  I am getting into this fresh and anew thing.

The pink’s a little softer by lamplight. And after moving furniture I decided to bring out my sweet kokeshi dolls from Japan. They make me smile. Now that the littles are older and won’t try to lick them or eat them *ahem* it’s time to enjoy them once again. I am getting into this fresh and anew thing.

As can happen when these projects get started, now the foyer, the last of the common areas is looking a little, well, boring, if I may say so.  It’s beige.  And I finally bit the bullet and made the decision to change the color in there as well.

So here’s the question…..

All of these areas are separated only by archways–there’s the beige foyer next to the pink room on one side and the chocolate brown man cave/office on the other.  All are joined together so to speak. We are not touching the man/cave color.  It’s rich and lovely and does NOT need painting.  So it’s staying.

So what color, do you think?  I’ve just about decided on one, so I suppose it’s a bit risky asking.  Let me just say Pinterest is a wonderful tool–you can look up just about anything–and when I looked up historical colors for the home, this lovely shade came up and I thought, that’s it.

It’s green.  Slightly in the direction of chartreuse.  I went and got samples tonight.  Y’all know me, I had to get three different shades to try.  (We are going to have a humdinger of a homeschool project at some point with my myriad of paint samples.)  We were moving furniture around tonight, so we haven’t tried them yet, but we will.

I am embracing my new colorful home.  Did I fail to mention that Aub’s bathroom is a lovely deep shade of purple now?  And it will be adjacent to the new green too.  So exciting.

It’s the little things in life, you know.  I hope that Mama is smiling at me, turning over a new leaf, being a lot less conservative in my choices and going for it.  “Dream big, baby girl,” she used to say.

In the words of the young folks, “YOLO–You Only Live Once.”

But instead of using it for an excuse to wreak havoc and not care, I’m using it as an excuse to let my wings stretch out and my spirit soar.  The color is coming back into my cheeks and my heart.  And my home.

Besides, as I told my painterfriend, I want folks to walk through here after I’m long gone and say, “Well, she certainly was a colorful old gal, wasn’t she?”

Yep, that would be just about perfect.

Love and vibrant colors to all!

ISO: Patience and Discipline

I believe I might have mentioned that we are in the middle of this painting project?

First of all, the Autumn Moon color, as it turns out, is the perfect color.  PERFECT.  Despite my Fella’s initial reaction of “It’s just like the orange,” and our Princess insisting it looks like macaroni and cheese.  It isn’t and it doesn’t.  Not at all.  (They both have since embraced the warmth of the color, and we are all loving it.)  I’ve been told this new color makes the house look like an old country house, and that it looks like one of those old antebellum homes with the colorful walls and high ceilings.

Seriously?  You had me at “old.”

My dream house is an old farmhouse with screen doors you are constantly reminding folks not to slam.  Yeah.  The memories.  Good times.

But I digress.  I’ve been watching the progress.  I’m not doing the painting myself for a number of reasons, the top one being that a twenty-foot ladder is needed to get all of the walls done in one room.  I’m good.  I don’t keep my balance well enough on the ground, let alone up in the air like that.  My Mama’s sweet neighbor who looked after her and helped Daddy when needed for all those years has a gift. He paints.

This is a gift I am growing to respect more and more.

His knowledge about paint and painting is amazing.  What kind of paint to use, how best to clean a painted wall, which direction to paint, what tool to use when applying said paint, and how to prepare the area for painting.

That last bit?

That one’s a doozie.

I’m not kidding.  With each area he has painted, the prep work takes through to lunchtime.  The painting happens after lunch.  He washes the walls and baseboards, tapes off certain areas, removes switchplates and outlet covers (and keeps up with where he puts them…..how does that even happen?), and primes where needed.  He pulls out nails and picture hangers and covers up the holes.

He has patience y’all.  In surplus.

It is then, and only then, that he steps back, takes a moment to think through all of the steps again, and then he commences to painting.

The one time I remember painting a room in a house, it was a tiny, tiny bathroom.  It was tiled up to the sink level, so that made it easy.  Instead of doing all the steps above, including checking on what kind of paint to get, I bought me a quart of the brightest teal green, very possibly high gloss (I don’t know, it was shiny though) and commenced to painting.  There was no washing or taping off or anything like that.  It was me and Mess Cat getting it done.  And I didn’t worry about painting too close to the tile or ceiling because I had a P-L-A-N.  I had bought some of that contact paper type border.  I was going to cover up my edges with that.  And it would look like I’d painted it just like I should have.

Sigh.

Good-ness that was one bright room.  When the light hit that shiny paint it was almost blinding, from the reflection and from that green sending all kinds of brain circuits to spinning.  Needless to say, I had not researched that color as much as I did to finally choose Autumn Moon.

But I loved it anyway.  Most of the time.

In watching this skilled artisan with the sponge rollers and tiny brushes and blue painter’s tape, I am being reminded of the beauty of knowing how to do something properly.  How to make a plan and follow it.  How much of a difference preparing can make in an outcome.  That is huge.

Too often I think of a project, an idea, a plan, and I want to dive in and Make. It. Happen.

Sometimes that’s okay, but more times than not, it could go so much better if I had the patience and the discipline to take a few minutes and wash some walls and tape around the edges.  First.

When I was growing up I used to watch M*A*S*H with Mama and Daddy.  I can still remember crying watching the last episode ever–the very first time it aired.  Mama liked to quote Charles Emerson Winchester The Third many, many times over the years.

“I do one thing at a time, I do it very well, and then move on.”

As I watch our talented neighbor friend take it step by step, and then “step back” and make sure he’s done it correctly before moving to the next step, I think of Mama.  I know why she appreciated all the help he was to her.  She could appreciate someone who was a good soul and did a job well.

And if patience and discipline don’t get a job done well, I don’t know what will.

I think I might buy myself a roll of that blue painter’s tape and hang it where I can see it just to remind me.  Plan. Prepare.  And if that doesn’t work, I can always use it to hang this sign up:

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Love to all, with a healthy dose of patience and disclipine along for the ride…..

 

All Those Shades of Gray

The theme for this week has been gray.   Or grey.  Either way, that’s been the theme. All the shades of it. A lot more than fifty.

It started with going for paint chips.  It seems that we will be making a few improvements to help in the selling of my great Aunt’s house.  A little paint?  No problem.  Finding a color, fairly neutral, that will work in both rooms that need painting, well…..we’re dealing with carpet a yellow gold color (circa 1968? one friend asked–ahem, I’m thinking that’s a big ol’ YEP) and a light mint green.  So gray it is.  But which shade? I’m taking the chips down to the house to decide which shade best matches both and we’ll go from there.

A few of the many shades of gray that have been on my mind this week

A few of the many shades of gray that have been on my mind this week

So the color has been on my mind anyway.

And then the word should came into play.

We had a busy time last weekend and the beginning of this week–family visiting from out of town.  On the go.  All sorts of things going on.  Then Wednesday.  Quiet.  Back to some semblance of normal.  Whatever that is.

And I started contemplating the day’s plans.  What I wanted to do, what my body begged for, was to have a crashout day.  Full of nothing but the bare necessities (everyone clothed and fed as needed IF needed).  But there were other options.  Things I thought I probably should do.

It was when I talked with my Aunt last night that I realized it–“should” was a lot easier when we were little.

The shoulds of childhood, at least in my neck of the woods, were pretty much comprised of what was expected of you–

You should pick up after yourself.  Clean your plate.  Say please and thank you.  Yes ma’am and no ma’am, yes sir and no sir.  Mind your manners.  Don’t sass your folks. Be kind and don’t leave anyone out.  Take care of what you have.  Tell the truth and don’t wipe your nose on your sleeves.  Say excuse me when you burp.  All good shoulds.  Clear cut and not really open to debate or interpretation.  The end.

But the shoulds of my life today?  Without someone to lay down the law, it gets a wee bit fuzzy.  Cloudy.  There doesn’t seem to be a lot of black and white–it’s all a lovely shade of gray. Many, many shades. All over the place.

The shoulds in my day to day are so constant, it gets a bit overwhelming.  This world of all the shades of gray.  The decisions of what should be done in any given moment are not always so clear cut.  I try to function on a take care of business first, then rest/read/relax mode, but that’s not always easy.  Should I continue cleaning house or do I give in to the aches and pains that beg for a moment of respite?  Should I plan and cook tomorrow’s lunch or plan our weekly meal out for that time?  Should I rally the troops and my get up and go, and go do {name the activity} or should I make it a day to be home? Is the timing right for the puppy I’ve been wanting, or should I wait? Should I call the attorney handling some business for us, or should I wait for him to call me?  In any given question or decision, there’s not really a right or wrong, just varying shades of grays–pluses and minuses and maybes.  And no one to tell me what I should do.  Maybe it’s the season of life I’m in right now, but even the simplest of “should deciding” can be quite overwhelming.

When I was little there were consequences if I didn’t do what I should.  Woe be the child who didn’t ma’am or sir a grownup in our house.  And sassing our parents–well that didn’t usually have to happen more than one time.  CONSEQUENCES could be memorable at times.  The thing is, in this hazy world of grownup shoulds, the consequences are not always clear.  It’s not always readily apparent that one choice or another was a poor one.  Or a good one.  It just is.

Then today I was visiting with a sweet friend, and we were sharing about people in our lives who can be challenging, who can be hard to be around or to understand at times.  Then other times we catch a glimpse of their story, of maybe why they are where they are, and there come those shades of gray again.  It seems that the older I get, the more I have to let go of the Disney-esque idea of villains versus good guys.  There is simply not a black and white, clear cut category to put most people in.  People are not absolutely 100 percent evil, and for sure there are none who are 100 percent lovely and fabulous and all things good.  No, most of us have varying mixtures of good and evil, light and dark, floating around inside, and, depending on the day/circumstances/amount of sleep we’ve had, one or the other will come out at varying levels.  It’s easy to be angry at someone, but when we hear the story behind what they were thinking or why they were compelled to do what they did–it all gets fuzzy and gray again.  Absolutes end and compassion begins.  We do not live in an Ursula vs. Ariel world.  Oh, how I wish we did sometimes, but it’s just not that easy.

So tomorrow when I lay the paint chips on the carpet–the many, many shades of gray I have to think about and try to choose just one, I’ll be doing something I should do.  But there will be gray area in choosing the right shade of gray because, being a grownup, I have to make some decisions all by myself, many of which I don’t feel qualified to make.  I don’t know what consequences my choice will lead to if any, but, like so many of the shoulds in my life, I’ll just have to make a decision and let the paint chips fall where they may.  Our lives and the decisions we make and the people around us are not all good or bad, black or white.  There’s an awful lot of in-betweens.  And that’s where I live.  In the shades of gray.