15 October, 2008

Waste Not, Want Not: A Tale in Mint Green

When I was in junior high, my dad said he would paint my room whatever color I wanted. I chose chocolate brown and mint green, thinking it would look like an Andes Chocolate Mint, one of my favorite candies at the time.

My dad, bless his heart, came back with a can of flat, dirt brown and another of Granny Smith Apple green. I was ungrateful in the way that only a 13-year-old girl can manage. I grumbled, I complained, I wrung my hands and sobbed. I tried to get my mom on my side, but she was smart enough to stay out of it. Despite all my dramatics, there was no changing things. Dad just growled at me and said, "The paint's fine, we're using it."

I was stuck with these colors throughout most of junior high and high school, until I convinced my brother to change rooms with me my junior year. His was painted in shades of navy and baby blue, much more pleasing colors overall. Even though he was less-than-thrilled with the brown and green color scheme, he was willing to swap because the window to my room opened a few feet from the garage roof, and after a bit of practice he was able to swing out onto the roof and escape down the mulberry tree to go off to whatever mischief it is that teenage boys in suburban Chicago go off to.

As an adult now, I realize I was battling my dad on a few fronts. The first was probably simple pride, or stubbornness. He didn't want to go back to the Ace Hardware and admit he got the wrong colors. I understand that. I hate admitting mistakes, took. The other front was financial. Paint is expensive. He would have had to shell out money for more paint, doubling the cost of the project. Why do that when the paint he bought was perfectly good? So what if it wasn't exactly what I had in mind?

Fast forward 27 years, and I'm standing in the basement of The Box House, staring at one of the walls in the storage room:

About 25% of the walls down here are made of tongue and groove boards. They're pretty cool, although they are all covered with paint, a blah, dingy, dirty whitish yellow. Two of the walls in Ted's office are comprised of these boards, the other two are brick and concrete. We are toying with the idea of stripping his walls to show of the wood grain. I think that it would look very cool. (The walls in my office are/were plasterboard.)

Stripping the walls of the storage rooms would be a waste of time and effort. But they are so dingy, and it would help me feel like I can keep our stored items cleaner if I could paint the walls.
If I had my choice, it would be a pleasing neutral color, something that reflects what little light filters into the back of the basement. But with all the other expenses going on with the house right now, it doesn't seem prudent to buy several gallons of paint to paint a room no one else will ever see--in fact, once we cram all of our stuff back in, we won't see the walls, either.

Now, the previous owners left behind nearly thirty gallons, quarts, and jars of paint. We've been grumbling about this, because the paints are, for the most part, too old to bother with or are some gawd-awful hideous shade, like mustard brown. We need to get them to the recycle center to dispose of properly.

But poking around the cans of paint this week, I did find nearly a full can of mint green paint! It's pretty much the exact shade of my childhood fantasy room. There isn't a single mint green painted surface in this house, so I'm not sure what it's doing here. I tested it out on a few surfaces. These pictures were taken at night, so the lighting isn't at its best. However, if you close your eyes and picture the cool minty goodness of that delicious layer in an Andes Chocolate Mint, you'll have it.

For the bottom picture, I dashed on a few streaks of white paint, which I also found in the basement, to give it some extra texture.

While I am sort of grooving on it, Ted is not overly impressed with the color. And I find myself saying things like, "We've got the paint, it's perfectly good paint, and we should use it rather than throw it away and buy something new." Dad, if he were here with us now, would probably laugh at me, because I now sound just like him.

Ah well, at least I finally get a mint green room. I'm thinking of painting the door and window frames a delicious chocolate brown.


Jennifer said...

Yummy! It's a fine color, nice and light for a storage room. I think pairing it with chocolate will give it an air of retro modernness that will really make it look cool! :)

Anonymous said...

I agree so very much. Even if no one will see or appreciate the minty green room, except Jo, Ted and myself. Especially with milk chocolate trim. For you see, when I was a little girl I had a mint green and chocolate room that Jo's grandfather painted. Brings back memories for both of us.


Karen Anne said...

Sigh, when I was 8 or 9, we moved into a new house, and my Dad let me pick out my wallpaper. Well, he did until I picked out one he didn't like :-)

It was a Victorian-like paper, a grey background with pink roses on it (I know, it sounds horrible, but it was beautiful.)

You won't like that, he said, that's an old lady's wallpaper. He was right about the second part, I must have had the old stuff gene from birth, but I would have loved that wallpaper.

So he picked a "cheerful" wallpaper, a white background with butterflies (aka bugs), for a kid who had a bug phobia :-)

When I got to high school, I got to scrap it all off (this was in pre-strippable wallpaper days, so you know I really wanted it gone), and I painted the walls a medium blue. The ceiling was white and the floor was a golden wood of some kind.

Poor Dads, they try hard :-) It must be hell having young daughters :-)

Anonymous said...

my Dad let me pick out my wallpaper. Well, he did until I picked out one he didn't like :-)

Karen Anne, I have the same dad! When I was 11, a new baby came along, so I got moved from my cute, comfy bedroom to an enclosed back porch. Let's just say I walked around with storm clouds and lightning bolts over my head for months.

My dad said, "Honey, we'll paint your new room whatever color you want." So I promptly said "Fine. Black."

After several lectures on 11-year-old girls not having black bedrooms (and the obligatory tantrums, slammed doors, and howls), and after my secondary color choices of brown and "Cubs pinstripes" were also vetoed, I ended with my stepmom's choice of lilac walls and "cheerful" yellow and purple flowered curtains.

I never liked that room.

Now that I'm of an age where having a black bedroom would be sooooo cool, I have... lilac walls. My 11-year-old self is shaking her head in disgust.

But my bonus room... ahh. People always comment about how much they love my "Cubs pinstriped" walls. ;-)

Jean Martha said...

Loved this story and reminded me of the high gloss red ceiling I begged my Dad for. He did it. Then he thought it would be cool to throw silver sparkle into the damp paint. I wasn't so happy with that. Looking back though, loved that he took it an extra step.

Marilyn said...

That's a great tale, Joanne, and of course, well-told. It's surely fate to have mint green in your life again. What a yummy Andes wall!

Joanne said...

Dads--ya gotta love 'em. These stories were great!

eliza_bee said...

Your storage room sounds like it will turn out lovely. Ignore your husband and let him find his own storage room to paint :P

Jen said...

Great story... The paint color was mint to be....(sorry)....

Sometimes I am goofy like that.