Sunday, November 23, 2008

11/23/08 A colorful day

Julian and Katrina playing this morning. Or rather, Julian inserting himself again into her world, and she permitting it for that particular 5 minutes.

She's obsessed with toothbrushes these days and is always walking around with one.

I went test-painting at the house this morning. Not so much to choose colors, but to work on color schemes -- that is, should the paint in the hall match that in the living room, or be its own color? What sorts of colors go where? This was very instructive, especially seeing how the natural light falls into various rooms in the house. Distinct zones that should be one color just presented themselves. It's tempting to make each room its own color, just for fun, but this is a house, not a scrapbook. Rats.

So far every time I paint a sample, it matches the teeny paper int chip exactly. But that doesn't mean it looks anything like I'd thought. The Kelly-Moore color "Vintage Find" looked perfect on paper: a light sage-y green, Craftsman-y without being dark or depressing. But on the wall, it looks almost light blue (3rd from left).

The original dining room and living room should be the same color, but a strong rich yellow color that looks great against all the wood in the dining room is too bright in the living room.

(Photos are just to put you in that place momentarily, they can't possibly convey what the colors really look like.)

The guest suite is challenging because it gets so much sunlight. It can tolerate a darker, more somber color, but for some reason, when I think of a sunny room, I think yellow!

For the office, I had in mind something sort of mauve-y, calm, grown-up. "Mauve Star" definitely isn't it.

Choosing paint colors is a real first for me. Since moving to California in 1988, every place I've lived has had white walls, until 2006 when we did our upstairs. The colors I picked for our upstairs bedrooms now look very bright, kid-like, but I love them. The hall was an off-white, but I'm rebelling against that now too. No more white walls. It's going to get painted. So there.

This will also be the first time I'll live in a house in CA with adequate lighting. I've always accepted the the ritual of entering a room and circling it to turn on all the lamps scattered around; tripping over extension cords, and struggling to pull power strips out from behind furniture. I think I've resisted colors because the rooms I lived in were lit with a single dim ceiling fixture, and I thought anything other than white would be too dark.

I sure could do without Katrina's nightly dinner tantrums. Come 5:00, dread starts to spread over me, because I know I'm in for at least an hour-long struggle. She demands something, refuses it, then screams in outrage when it's put away. Bib, no bib, milk, no milk, red cup, no red cup, peas, no peas, napkin, no napkin. She's impossible. I could live without her eating anything, but the tantrum that spans demanding food, rejecting it furiously, crying to get out of her chair, then screaming in anger about being put down, are unbearable.

I don't give in to her demands for cereal or orange juice, instead bitterly listening to the experts in my head, claiming that if you're consistent and don't give in to them, they'll eventually stop asking. Yeah, eventually, but at what cost in the meantime? She'll stop asking because she'll outgrow the whole scene and become reasonable, in 2 years perhaps, not because my refusal to give in has taught her anything.

Yet I also don't accept the other view that says to give them what they want, they'll outgrow it. I don't know at what point it tips into her knowing she's controlling me if I give her Puffins for dinner every night, so I err on the side of giving her a few choices, all dinner food that everyone else is getting or got recently. It's a painful, costly choice.

Gabriel helped me make breakfast this morning, with great enthusiasm. 6-going-on-7, that's much more my speed. 2's sucked the first time around, and it's really really getting old the second time around.

I'll dream in color tonight. Specifically, "Dustry Trail."


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