Last summer, about a year after moving into my house, I decided it was time to do some painting. The boring kind, not the Picasso kind. I thought it would be a breeze. Because of all the excitement about my first big home project, I had a lapse in brain function and forgot that I was a perfectionist. I would soon be reminded of that fact.
The lucky rooms receiving make-overs would be the kitchen and connected living room. The first order of business was to pick a color. Child’s play, I thought. Oh me, woman of little intelligence. I went to my local Home Depot to begin looking through colors. I had to pick just one out of a sea of probably hundreds, if not more. Ok, no big deal. After perusing the stacks of colors for probably an hour, I walked out of the store with two handfuls of color sample cards. When I got home, I made notes on each card, quickly developing a color-eliminating system that I was quite proud of. It was like The Bachelor for paint. Eventually I settled on about 4 colors that I wanted to test, gave them each a rose and made my way back to HD to pick up the samples.
Soon after, I had slapped each color on the kitchen wall and watched them dry. It’s every bit as exciting as they say. After staring at the wall for a while, I realized I had no idea what I was doing. I might as well have been picking players in the NFL draft. Clueless. I’d probably employ the “eenie meenie miney moe” method and men everywhere would become suicidal as football season approached.
Anyway, the colors looked nothing like I had hoped. Not even close. I agonized over my color cards, selected a few more colors, headed back to HD, picked up those samples and tried again. Repeat about 5 times.
When I called my sister to ask for her color advice and told her how much money I had spent on samples, I heard an audible gasp. That was followed by our typical conversation in which one personality extreme (super laid back) tells the opposite personality extreme (not quite as laid back) that she’s being a perfectionist. I told her I can’t help it and politely hung up so that I could fetch more samples and continue to abuse my bank account.
In the midst of all this, I asked my dad to come over to help me narrow down the choices. When he walked in and saw all the colors on the wall, he burst into laughter. My previously never-been-painted white walls looked like patchwork.
He commented that most people only need a few samples before settling on a color. Yeah, most people. Perfectionism: it’s a curse. All in, I had come home with 25 samples.
Just as I thought I had settled on a color, my dad would ever so kindly tell me I was making a huge mistake. Oh, the agony!
There’s actually more to this story. Before I started this painting adventure, my dad had made a comment to myself and the rest of my family in which he called me “Beige Carly.” And everyone laughed. Except me. You see, I’ve always been the cautious one in my family. Everyone was convinced I would pick the most boring color possible. Truthfully, I probably would have had it not been for that comment. I’m surprised I didn’t paint the whole house neon green for the sake of proving them wrong.
Anyway, I finally picked a color and loved it. This was one that my dad was certain was a poor choice. I didn’t care, I had to follow my heart. I bought my first gallon and went to town. After discovering the painstaking process of laying down plastic sheeting and learning to tape it down well, I covered the wall in the chosen color. And I hated it. Hated it. And I thought my arms were going to fall off. It was all just too much. I went to bed, hoping to wake up to see it in a new light in the morning.
I woke up and it was still awful. Blast! After making a few more trips to HD, I found a toned-down version of color #1 and loved it.
After hours of taping everything off, the painting eventually started. My dad came to help and after hours and hours of laboring, I thought I had discovered the cure for obesity (assuming obese people are willing to paint). What tiring work. From that moment on, I stopped to give a hug to every manual laborer I passed on the street.*
I painted on and off for about a week. I was on vacation from work, so this was all-day business, not just evening work. I wasn’t sure it was ever going to end. After removing the tape from the tops and bottoms of the walls, I decided it just wasn’t good enough. That’s when I went back with a little baby brush and repainted around the trim with more care than I ever thought myself capable of. I didn’t think I would ever make it off that ladder, especially after 2-3 coats in most places. But, finally I did, and I love the color. It was worth it, but I don’t think I can ever move houses after all that work.
You may be wondering why I decided to tell this story after all this time. Well, after a long break from painting, I’ve decided to tackle my office. And it will be beige. Yes, Beige Carly is sticking to her roots this time around. I don’t care what anybody thinks either. Beige is simple and I love simple. And you better believe I won’t stop until it’s perfect.
*This is a blatant lie.