Otto is a visual person, and I am a make-with-the-many-words person. Somehow we manage to communicate pretty well, though occasionally I’m sure Otto wishes I would just stop talking and every so often I do feel compelled to ask how a visual guy ends up deciding that THAT shirt looks okay with THOSE pants. These are minor blips. On the whole we have managed to forge our own language, an awesome perk of having known each other for nearly two
decades dozen years (whoops, hey, we’ve known each other over half our lives).
Today Otto surprised me by suggesting we go out to lunch, which was a rare treat. When we eat as a family the conversation tends to center around the kids and their activities and how really, I MEAN IT, when I said I don’t want to hear any more jokes involving barf WHILE I AM EATING, I was SERIOUS. We have not had enough time as just a couple, lately, and when we do get that time, we tend to be discussing heavy Necessary Stuff, and not just kind of enjoying each other.
Naturally I tried VERY HARD to ruin our lovely lunch with some discussion of Unpleasant Yet Necessary Things, but eventually we did come back to a less depressing topic: My office. Specifically: As we come up on the 6 year mark of living in this house, am I finally ready to paint it?
We embarked on a painting marathon when we first bought this house, spending 48 hours covered in paint, taking care of the main living area and the kids’ rooms. We went mostly neutral (with an accent wall) in the family room, let Monkey pick the blue for his room, and neutral plus a deep pink wall in Chickadee’s room. I did not agonize over color choices at all.
The following year, I completely redid the walls in the dining room, and because we knew we wanted something that looked like Tuscan plaster and because that room opened up onto the room with the copper wall, we ended up (after one thing led to another…) with terracotta colored walls, mostly. Below the chair rails there’s a deep navy that Otto picked out, because I became somewhat paralyzed when faced with the Big Wall O’ Paint Chips. It looks fine.
We’ve gotten through multiple other smallish renovation projects over the years, and it’s a testament to how much we like each other than those adventures never result in us sniping at one another. I mean, yes, usually at some point I end up crying, but not because of Otto. Just because… nevermind, hush.
Anyway. My office was a shared office for years, and then Otto moved upstairs and now it’s all MY office, and we’ve changed it around a few times and nowadays it’s exactly how I like it. Except. See, the walls in my office could best be described as “baby poop brown.” LOVELY. I hate it. Haaaaaate it. Thus far, I have dealt with this by hanging various colorful items on the walls to distract me from the walls themselves. For several years I’ve made offhand comments like, “COULD THE WALLS IN HERE BE ANY UGLIIIIIIIIER?” and Otto will say, “We should paint your office,” and then I will point out that I don’t have the time and it’s a hassle and wah wah wah, I don’t wanna.
Well, I think I finally wanna. Paint is cheap, summer is coming, and I really, REALLY hate the color in here.
So we went out to lunch and Otto asked me what color I wanted to paint. For some reason, “Not brown” was not a satisfactory answer to him. Otto immediately rushed to suggest that I go with a warm color to keep it bright and cheery in here, and I agreed, even as I realized I was not entirely sure what would constitute a warm color.
“Like… maybe… yellow?” I guessed. He said that would be a good choice.
“But not a YELLOW yellow,” I said, before launching into my own neurotic wall of words about how YELLOW, MAN, you have to be CAREFUL with yellow, because too much is WHOA, HEY, YELLOW and not so good. Otto reminded me that he’d painted a yellow room in his house before we got married, and I said OH YEAH I REMEMBER, indicating that he had gone a little too yellow for my taste, at which point his brow furrowed because he LIKED that yellow just FINE, y’know.
Here’s the thing about me and color: I don’t really get it. I mean, I know what I like, sometimes, and I definitely know what colors I like to WEAR, but most of the colors I favor to WEAR are all colors that are way too bright to go on a wall. I love purple, for example. But I am not 4, nor do I want to put Taylor Swift posters all over the room, so I do not want a purple office. And I NEVER EVER actually WEAR yellow, because I am very pale in a way where wearing yellow makes me look like I am dying. But for the walls, sure, that might be okay.
My office is off of the kitchen, which has a predominantly blue kind of thing going on, though someday (when we win the lottery) (which we never play, HA) I would like to redo the kitchen and then maybe it won’t be blue. WHO KNOWS. But for now it’s blue. And I feel like the office should at least… not clash with that. Yellow and blue would be okay, I think.
But HOW TO PICK THE RIGHT YELLOW?? Must I go face the giant wall of paint chips? DO I WANT AN ACCENT WALL???? I kind of do, but then what color would THAT be? (My first thought: something kind of… melon-y? Orangey? To go with the copper wall in the family room and the terracotta walls in the dining room and WHAT THE HELL, ME, I DON’T EVEN LIKE ORANGE.) And which wall would be the right one to accent? And and and and.
Otto listened to me ramble. Eventually I pointed out that it’s possible I should be spending more time working and less time agonizing over the colors of the place where I work. He remained silent, possibly because there was nothing he could say there that wasn’t going to get him in trouble. He’s a smart guy, my Otto.
ALSO: Do you paint closets? I only just got my office closet completely outfitted with new shelves and organized a few months ago, and the thought of pulling everything out again makes me want to chew off my own leg to escape. But Otto was all, “The walls in there are in terrible condition, we should definitely patch them and paint” whereas I was more of the “There’s so much stuff in there you can’t even SEE the walls, WHO CARES?” persuasion.
It’s not that I think this is going to put a strain on our marriage, you understand, because we’re stronger than that. But if someone wanted to tell me exactly what to do (down to the acceptable color of yellow or substitute therein, yes please and thank you), when we get to the point when we’re painting and I’m crying, I won’t have to blame Otto. See?
I knew you’d understand.