I am a commitment kind of girl. I went to the same hairdresser for 15 years, I worked for United Airlines for a decade, I have been a lifelong devotee of Baskin-Robbins mint-chip ice-cream. So it came as somewhat of a surprise to all concerned when, barely two years into our marriage, I had a one-night stand.
Oh, sure, The Husband knew about it. He actually introduced us. He subtly encouraged me as we stood there looking at paint chips at Home Depot.
“What about this blue?” he offered enthusiastically. “You said you were attracted to something really bright.”
He held up a paint chip that was the exact shade of ocean and tears and sky and hydrangeas and blue jays all rolled into one. It was cerulean perfection: I wanted to dive into this color and swim.
“Yes, that’s it!” I cried. “What is the name of that color?”
And thus began my ill-fated and torrid fling with “Big Sky Blue.”
I walked up to the so-called paint expert slash Home Depot employee. I held the chip out for him to admire, like a Princess Diana sapphire engagement ring.
“I must have this,” I said, breathless.
He didn’t even question my judgment, or try to stop me, or beg me to reconsider. He just shrugged.
“How much do you need?” he queried.
“I'll take all you’ve got.” I always wanted to say that, like Oprah.
“Uh, I have to custom mix it for you. You need to tell me how much.” He was already bored with me and my newfound Blue partner in life.
I was really really bad at guestimating paint amounts.
“Twenty buckets, uh, I mean cans?” I squeaked, hoping it might be right.
The Husband overheard me. “Hon, I think we need three gallons.”
“Right. Yes. Three gallons should do it.”
“Which room is it for?” asked the clerk, all of sudden being all nosy and in our business. Why did he care now? Was he planning to copy my decorating brilliance in his own house?
“Kitchen,” I said proudly. “We are looking to make a statement.”
“Oh, it will make a statement all right. A statement of what the hell were you thinking,” he mumbled under his breath.
“I said, do you want an egg-shell or satin finish?” he replied.
“Uh … satin?” How was I supposed to know? Why did buying paint have to be like being a contestant on Jeopardy?
“Okay,” he said robotically.
He grabbed a couple buckets of paint off the shelf behind him, and shook them. I watched him key top secret code numbers into the computer to achieve the correct formulation for “Big Sky Blue.” He opened the first paint can up and set it under some sort of metal tubes where the pigment drips into the base color of white.
Now, I had studied art in school for one whole semester, so I knew that different shades are mixed together to create the perfect color. I was waiting for burgundy to drip in, or a hint of yellow, perhaps some black for depth, and maybe a touch of green. No. All that dripped in was blue, blue, and more blue. When the paint bucket was full, my corneas were already sizzling.
“Sir, stop!” I pleaded before he had a chance to open the second can. I was immediately regretting this dalliance with an unfamiliar color. “Uh, uh, let me just buy one gallon of paint to, uh, to make sure it looks okay.”
“No problem.” He was still uninterested in my now-faltering relationship with Blue.
Maybe it will look better when it's up on the wall, I kept telling myself on the short drive home. To The Husband I said, “I adore that color!”
We immediately got to work cutting in and rolling. The paint was like a neon assault on all our senses. If that color blue had been a noise instead of a color, it would be a jet-engine vacuuming at a rock concert while jack-hammering and simultaneously holding a crying baby.
And that was just the first coat.
“Oh, dear,” I groaned, “I’m not so sure about this ‘Big Sky Blue’ after all. What do you think?”
The Husband took off his sunglasses for a moment to study the color. “Maybe it will dry darker?” he said helpfully.
Nothing he could say would console me. We started calling “Big Sky Blue” “Big Mistake Blue.”
“How late is Home Depot open?” I asked The Husband tentatively.
“I think until 11?”
I grabbed my purse. “Let’s go.”
I now realized that my fling with “Big Mistake Blue” was destined to be only a one-night stand, a fluorescent memory of good intentions gone very wrong.
We pulled into the parking lot of Home Depot at 10:55 PM. We zipped into the paint department just in time before they turned out the lights. I thrust a paint chip at the beleaguered employee, and said,
“I’ll take three buckets of ‘Barely Beige,’ please.”
(“Mauve, Orange, Violet”)