The time has come at last. We delayed and delayed, I insisted I could probably do it, but we both knew this would happen sooner or later. It was for the best. Inevitable. Finally, we took the plunge and hired a decorator. His name is Chris and he is brilliant. He is downstairs now transforming the face of my living room.
“Has anyone else had this colour?” I said, pointing to our new rather bold, dark, Hague Blue doors.
“It’s an unusual colour choice…” he admitted.
We do like unusual. Our dining room is yellow, and not the subtle kind.
“People go for greys and beiges..” He added.
I steered away from grey, partly for this very reason.
My attachment to certain colours borders on unreasonable, childish even. I actually found myself getting emotional at the thought of not getting what I had envisioned. (In other words: not getting what I wanted.)
“We’re obviously not going to go with a pinky shade for the bedroom if you hate it Joel!” I said, only half-convinced myself. Surely there could be a compromise.
“Well I’d prefer grey…” He said, knowing full-well where this was going.
“I HATE GREY FOR THE BEDROOM….” it came out almost involuntarily.
I am now sat in our pink bedroom. Joel became so tired with the indecisiveness he gave up, barely putting up a fight. (If anything it’s more of a peachy beige really, a lovely soft muted tone..)
Our front door will also be pink, but distinctly less muted and a little more eye-catching. A rosy shade.
Again, this was not Joel’s first choice.
Chris finished the bedroom in under a day, a task that would have taken me several weekends to complete. And even then I’d probably leave the edges till some point in the Summer. We were beyond impressed, but then we’d only heard good things about his work ethic.
There is an awkwardness to having a stranger working in your home. Do they want to chat? Would they prefer to work in silence? Would the hum of a radio help at all? I offered him some tea and asked how he’d like it. “Splash of milk” he replied, unaware of my tea-making anxiety. Well no that’s not specific enough, I thought. A drop of milk with barely any brewing? Or slightly more brewing with more of a literal splash, so a few more drops of milk? I hesitated, knowing my tendency to drown a perfectly-brewed cup with far too much milk.
In the end I went for medium-brewing and reasonably strong, trying not to overthink the whole thing. (Bit late). He drank it all so it can’t have been that bad. Tea is tea after all. I’ve made several cups since and they’ve all been slightly different based on my momentary interpretation of the word “splash”.
As well as making sure our decorator is well hydrated, there’s also managing a toddler around all the chaos. I was on the downstairs loo having my 15 seconds of privacy when Leo opened the door to come and find me. (No lock). Our downstairs is mostly open-plan so Chris was effectively in the same room. He would have heard the whole episode, not least “No Leo! No not whilst Mummy is on the toilet!!”.
But then that’s part of the deal. A professional will come to your home and paint your walls for you, but they will also unwittingly experience a snapshot of your life. Chris will have heard me sigh to myself 27 times throughout the course of 90 minutes as Leo’s nappy leaked, he refused to eat his breakfast then insisted on putting his shoes on all by himself, without any socks. I frequently caught myself thinking “What MUST he think of me, babbling away to my son like a mad woman..”. But then at least Leo is another person. I had to make a concerted effort not to begin babbling away to myself as I sometimes do. It was all worth it, he’s done a stellar job.
Now he’s gone, I can go back to talking to myself again.