All couples have at least one hot button – that topic virtually guaranteed to be high octane, with a high risk of devolving into shouting, followed by periods of silent brooding.
For Gilles and I, that topic is painting. Not the actual act of painting itself, but the seemingly harmless process of selecting a colour.
You see, I like cool colours of blues and grays. Gilles, on the other hand, prefers a warm palette of what I tend to think of as endless shades of oatmeal.
Our family room/kitchen has been in desperate need of repainting – partly because I’m sick to death of its vaguely orangey colour and partly because, well, it’s been a long time.
For the past year (I wish I was kidding), there has been a parade of various colour swatches taped to the walls as I attempted to coerce Gilles into a decision.
None has met with his approval.
Finally, in frustration (with a healthy dash of spite) I proceeded to start painting anyway … MY colour choice.
Now, there’s always a risk in stomping off to do things your own way in spite of opposition. In my case, I made a couple of unfortunate mistakes.
After having painted the largest wall in the room, I discovered that I had bought the wrong paint. I now had a very shiny, GLOSSY wall in a south-facing room that was already very bright.
In addition, the soft gray I had selected was now being completely washed out in the bright sunshine. I resisted the urge to put on sunglasses in this room with its shiny, virtually white wall glowing like a beacon.
I quietly cleaned up and put everything away. For a week – a week Mother Nature decided to bless us with blinding sunshine everyday – neither of us spoke about the glowing elephant in the room while I contemplated my options.
I could pretend nothing was wrong, that this paint choice was exactly what I wanted, and proceed with painting the rest of the room (just kill me now).
…. or, I could swallow my pride, admit to my mistake (the horror!!), and re-open the discussions on colour. If you knew how volatile this hot button really is for us, you could appreciate my extreme reluctance in doing that.
I finally decided that – pride, be damned – I could not compound a mistake with a bad decision.
The bottom line is – miracles do happen.
We had an almost civilized discussion about colour choices and a compromise was found with which we both could be reasonably happy – or at least, not miserably unhappy.
I am now in the process of painting … with a smile on my face. Neither of us think it’s perfect, but we found middle ground and it works.
… for now. I haven’t the heart to bring up the issue of a new colour choice for the bedroom. Maybe next year …