Home improvement stores have a particular smell to them. If forced to describe it, I suppose I'd say it's a combination between paint thinner and fresh wood with top notes of fertilizer. Over the year since my husband, Scott, and I bought our first house, I've become familiar with Eau de Lowe's.
Home improvement stores are also one of my least favorite places to visit. I guess it's because I feel overwhelmed by the idea of being in a constant state of improvement. Anyone who's owned a house knows that there's always something to be done. The possibilities are endless, and it's easy for me to get caught up in all that is left to do. Any time I feel like our house is "finally coming together," all it takes is one trip to Lowe's to undo that feeling. By the time I leave, I'm newly stressed by the 23,098,348 new "small project ideas" bouncing around in my brain.
Before spending so much time in stores like these, I lived my life blissfully unaware that there were so many different shades of brown paint to be had, ranging from Tea Stain (ew) to Dust Bunny (double ew--who names these things?). My kitchen light seemed just fine until I saw the approximately 76 other options on offer, their florescent lights glaring at me with the same admonishment of those bare bulbs used in movies for police interrogation scenes.
Despite my feelings towards home improvement stores, many weekends (such as this one) find me accompanying my husband to one. In our case, most of our pilgrimages to the mecca of 2 by 4s and carpet samples are motivated by the decor sins of the previous owners, who had, uh, eccentric taste (that's a nice way to put it).
Today's trip is for paint for our TV room, which is currently a particularly awful shade of putty pink (I call it Band-Aid) with an aggressively purple accent wall (Violent Plum). The hues sicken me so much that I am, dare I say it, eager for this long overdue visit.
My husband, who is always prepared, has already done research, saving me the stress of picking through the thousands of paint colors. Bless him. He presents me with two options: Glowing Green (a misnomer; this is decidedly subtle) and Ancient Olive (another misnomer; it truthfully looks neither ancient nor olive).
I squint at the two. They look the same. A pale, creamy gray-green. I hold them next to each other, first close to my face, then at an arm's length, hoping to spot a difference.
They still look the same.
I tell my husband as much, but he wants me to decide.
I decide to look beyond the shades and focus on the words, a true English major move. Ancient Olive makes me think of fantastical Roman parties of decadence, branches in the mouths of doves, and a particularly sage fruit that nods its head wisely, saying, "Impeccable taste in paint colors, Katie."
So I pick Ancient Olive. And I rationalize it like a pro to Scott, using the words "undertones" and "saturation" like I know what I'm talking about. He nods. Ancient Olive it is.
Later that evening, after several coats, our TV room looks positively serene. And for a moment, I forget what still needs to be done and feel happy for what is done. As I breathe in Eau de Freshly Painted Room, I think to myself, Ancient Olive was a good choice.
They look really similar, right?