Color Me Done

Another cold and drab winter morning In Northern Virginia. I’m honestly tired of this nonsense.  Temps are finally up from days of lows in single digit degrees, though freezing rain last evening made for pacing the floor and nail-biting as I worried over husband and son making it home safe.  I didn’t like winter weather when I lived here fourteen years ago–the worry factor high among the reasons– and my feelings have not budged since.  Those eight years in Southern California quite possibly have ruined me forever against winter.  The only snow I want to see is in Hallmark Christmas movies.

So now, as The Poodle slumbers in a chair nearby I am thankful for minutes of calm from intermittent barking that began early this morning with a knock on the door.  Oh boy!  The fun begins!

It is now anything but quiet in the house.  I’ve got pleasant Baroque music playing as I type away on this keyboard (i.e., not too much of the harpsichord in play to make it sound like nails on a chalkboard).  But music by one of my favorites, George Frideric Handel, is facing undesirable–but necessary–competition from the floor just below me where Latino music is making a team of four quite happy.

What’s the deal? you ask.

So I’m having three rooms painted on the first floor; husband’s study as well as the living room and dining room.  If you’ve been following this humble space at all you’ll recall that every room in our new old house needs painted.  We had the foyer and hallways painted back in September, just a couple of months after we moved in.   The painter we hired through a referral did such a phenomenal job that we now want him to keep going as finances permit.

Which brings us to this week.

I had just gotten out of the shower and was hurriedly dressing when I heard my husband greet the painter, Elstan, at the door.  With my hair dripping wet I scramble to make my face look half-way presentable as I mutter repeatedly Shit!  Shit! I’m not ready!

This had nothing to do with various stages of getting dressed. It had everything to do with paint color.

“So, You’ve got your color(s) selected, right?” was Elstan’s question at precisely 8:02 a.m.   An obvious question a painter would ask the very morning he is set to work, right?

What I know is this:

I’d rather have a root canal than choose paint colors.

Yep.  After weeks (yes, weeks) of searching on-line, more days than I care to admit of head-splitting scrolling through Pinterest, multiple consultations with my sis (her artistic background makes her far more qualified than I am when it comes to color)….AND finally…not one…but FIVE excursions to Home Depot (in practically sub-zero temperatures, I might add) for paint samples… I am still not ready!  How on God’s green earth is that possible?!

Will it be Benjamin Moore’s Alexandria Beige?  Hmm….Too much gray-brown for everywhere….but perfect for hubby’s office.

How about Benjamin Moore’s Bleeker Beige which looks positively lovely in my foyer?  Nah…I want color.

In my Alabama home I had eye-popping Salsa Dancing red in the dining room and I loved it.  With a new year however, I am ready to tip-toe outside of my box once again.

Let’s try Benjamin Moore’s Charlotte Slate, an earthy color that with my lighting looks blue-dark turquoise-gray.   O-ooh…now we are getting somewhere! 

Benjamin Moore Charlotte Slate


I throw a sample of the color on the wall and call my sis over for her to opine.  “It’s not bad,”she says.  “But you’ll have to see how it does throughout the day, in all the changing light.”

So the full strength color worked in the mid-morning light but by early evening I may as well have painted the walls black.

“Wow that is really dark CC,” said my sis as we looked at the sample after the sun went down.

“I know. Clearly that’s not going to work,” I lamented. “I so love the color during the day though.”

“Well go and get another sample of the same color but lighten it up,” sis offered.  “What a brilliant idea!” I said and off to the store I went.

Again and again and again.

My first trip to Home Depot had me bringing back a 30% lighter formula of Charlotte Slate.   That turned out to be too blue in the morning light but lovely in the evening light.

Oh for heaven’s sake.  Back to Home Depot for 50% lighter….

and just to be sure…” you ought to get an 80% lighter sample too,” sis said as I drove off.

Over the course of last week all the samples went on the walls.  I’d stare for hours, so it seemed, in total frustration at one wall of samples versus another.  How the color changed with light as the day progressed had me waffling at every turn.  Rocket-man wasn’t much help.  Remember, he’s the guy that had only ONE picture on his wall in his townhouse when I met him years ago: Albert Einstein.

So here I am.  Why yes!  The 50% is perfect…err…no it’s too dark at night too.  Wait…I like the 80%, I’m sure of it…

Until Elstan chimes in with his two cents, knocking me back to the beginning.

I’m going to lose my mind!

Why don’t we try a 65% solution?” offered Elstan.  It should be a happy medium between the 50% which seems too dark at night and the 80% which is too blue during the day.

Back to Home Depot I went.  By now I’m practically family with the paint dude at Home Depot.  He’s been very helpful indeed although I’m sure he thinks I’m just a bit off.

Once home I slap the 65% on the walls.  I stand back and consider the color but my brain is suddenly overwhelmed by it all.   Yep….it doesn’t take much these days folks!

So, I now have a patchwork quilt of indecision on my dining room wall.  If I have to go back to Home Depot I’m sure the paint dude will be inviting me for Thanksgiving dinner.

My patchwork quilt of indecision

“What do you think?” asks Elstan as he chomps on a chocolate chip cookie from a box I’ve left out for his team.  “Personally, I’d go with the 80%,” he adds.

I stare at the wall,  drilling holes into the colors with my eyes, as if such laser focus would somehow transform me into a color expert.

I don’t know….I don’t know… I DO NOT KNOW!


Is it me or is Elstan getting a tad annoyed over my indecision?

“Elstan, surely I am not the only client you’ve had that goes back and forth like this…am I?”

He laughs….just a little too nervously.


What can I say. Unfortunately, it is my Libra nature to be undecided.  But pick and stick I know I must.

“It’s 65%,” I say emphatically to Elstan.  He smiles. “Think about it overnight and we’ll finalize the selection in the morning.”  I know he prefers the 80%.

As a new day dawns and then turns into afternoon I can feel the cloud of indecision hanging over me once again.

What am I afraid of?  It’s just a paint color for goodness sake!   I’ve wasted so many hours agonizing over 65% and 80%.  Enough!

I think of quote I read just this morning by Poet and philosopher Mark Nepo:

“When we keep choosing between right and wrong. We spend our energy sorting life rather than living it.”

Pick it and stick.  Color me done.  I’m going with the 65% and I am just going to love it! Period.

i. think.  🙂



2 thoughts on “Color Me Done

  1. Having sold paint in my hardware store 87 years ago, I know of what you’re talking about. There must be 27 million shades of white, the big difference generally being do you want a $9 gallon can or a $50 gallon. I jest (for the most part) but have had that quilted look up for weeks on my walls in the past. I ended up switching to paint boards that I can move around the room rather than having the swatches mocking me from their wall while a decision is being made. Good luck with the 65%, I’m sure it will be lovely. And lighting can help with the cast in evening light as can other accessories if you think it’s too dark or light. Just saying.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. All the prep has been done as well as ceiling and molding. Tomorrow the color goes on. It’s a nail biter to be sure. I’ll start scouring Amazon and such for more lighting which I’m sure I will need. Thanks for the tip. P.S. The Poodle is tuckered from barking. He’s fast asleep in his…err…I mean my…favorite chair. ❤


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