I talked my so-over-it husband into helping me get the first coat of "Firenze" paint up in our dining room Sunday night. He hates to paint and reminds me whenever the subject is raised that painting is my hobby but simply work to him.
Still, under the pressure of a deadline (we're hosting Thanksgiving), I was able to talk him into painting, so long as he could hear the Major League Soccer championship game from the T.V. in the living room. Go Rapids! (our Colorado home team won).
It didn't help when I suggested he paint in a "Y" pattern versus his strict "Karate Kid" up and down strokes because he may leave streaks. I know, I shouldn't be kicking gift horses in the mouth. Or kicking husbands with my mouth.
The name "Firenze" evokes fire, but not passion. It's one of this season's Pottery Barn paint colors. I like the color, it's a deep pumpkin that says, "clean your plate!" in a warm, understated way.
I promised Chris the roller, so I tried to stay ahead of him with the trim work. With each measured brush stoke along the bright white trim of baseboards and windows, I covered surfaces formerly dripping in a burgundy, bordering on ripe cherry, red. That red was bold, it had something to say.
To me, it said, "Welcome to our Italian bistro. Amore! Sit down under our faux Tiffany light and let Mama bring you some gravy."
Unfortunately, my best spaghetti sauce still comes from a jar and I'm always aiming for an earthy, Asian aesthetic in my decorating. Emphasis on aiming. And that's really the problem, isn't it?
Not so much the aiming and missing, but that over a couple of decades of adulthood, the message we're trying to get on the wall doesn't really say much. Slap up a nice, tactful color that won't offend potential buyers when we're empty-nesters. Avoid getting too heated in a political discussion because of the anxiety that we may not know enough facts to support our positions.
Actually, I find that these days, I avoid conflict of almost any kind because I'm just too tired to duke it out or afraid of the later consequences when I have to make small talk to that same person I pissed off at a park day. You never know. Better to just play it safe. Go with the colors closest to the embers. Dark, smoldering. Nothing flashy.
Maybe it's just age. That transitional moment between fired up youth and a state of zen, but I find that I'm floating - not necessarily lost - somewhere between the preordained color that's just understated, and my red, the one that sometimes laps out beyond the encumbrance of the fire pit and makes a mark that can hurt.