Saturday 01 Oct 2016

The Colour White
Jennifer Flaten

I didn’t realize there were five hundred different shades of white until I went paint shopping this weekend. Isn’t white just white? Apparently, it is not.

I love the colour names, whisper white, fluffed cotton, toasted oatmeal. Personally, I can’t tell the difference between whisper white and icy white, which is just one of the many reasons I am not in the interior design field. Hey, give me a break I’ve rented for the past ten years, this is all new to me.

Remember in the rental world there is only one shade of paint, I like to call it cheap white. It is usually the cheapest paint available and it is white in name only. About five minutes after you move in it turns an alarming shade of gray. This is especially true if you have children, children who are incapable of walking down a hallway without dragging some part of their body against the wall, usually it is their hands, but I could tell you stories, but I won‘t.

Now that we own the house, we are giddy with the thought of painting any colour we want, but the sheer number of colours available is overwhelming. We can’t really find a colour we want.

I take that back, even with such a large assortment of colours available I can’t find a colour I want; yeah, yeah I‘m picky. The kids, on the other hand, have a large assortment of so ‘hideous you want to run away screaming’ colours selected for their bedrooms.

So far, the kids’ colour choices range from hazard warning yellow, for my son, to Pepto-Bismol pink, for whom else but the girls, with every ugly, I mean vibrant, shade in between. No honey, I don’t think painting one-half of the room bruise purple is a good idea, it would clash with your sister’s choice of insanity orange.

Needless to say, they aren’t allowed to have an opinion or suggestion for that matter, for the communal spaces. Honestly, I never thought I would be spend any time, let alone about an hour so far, discussing the merits of café au lait versus ecru. Is there really a difference? Hell, if I know.

I also realize that should I not like the paint, I could, in theory, paint over it. I say in theory because paint is so expensive. I am reevaluating my opinion of cheap white.

The actual application of the paint presents a completely different set of challenges. Three of them to be precise, three little kids who want to help paint. I know what you‘re thinking, it is sweet they want to help. Just shoot me now.

It is all “Little House on the Prairie” for about five minutes, then one kid gets bored and wanders off leaving his paintbrush stuck god knows where. After about ten minutes, the remaining kids get into a fight and end up rolling around in the paint.

Oh yeah, while cleaning up from that, the dog wanders into the room and rubs up against the wall. Now, the whisper white is now beagle white. Imagine your guests at Thanksgiving “Is that a new faux painting technique? It looks like almost like hair.” That’s because it is.

Jennifer Flaten lives where the local delicacy is fried cheese, Wisconsin. She writes about family life, its amusing or not so amusing moments. "At least it's not another article on global warming," she says. Jennifer bakes a mean banana bread and admits an unusual attraction to balloon animals and cup cakes. Busy preparing for the zombie apocalypse, she stills finds time to write "As I See It," her witty, too often true column. "My urge to write," says Jennifer, "is driven by my love of cupcakes, with sprinkles on top. Who wouldn't write for cupcakes, with sprinkles," she wonders.

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