Monday, August 31, 2009

The House of Many Colors (or, How Even a Good Memory Can Hurt)

Years ago, we moved to the suburbs. Britt was starting middle school (6th grade) at a time when Savannah/Chatham County's middle schools were really struggling with security issues (drugs, random acts of violence, frequent lock-downs involving police squads and locker-sniffing dogs); in short, not the sort of environment we wanted for our girl. At the urging of her elementary school teachers, we sold our cool downtown town-home and hightailed it to the next county. For me, the move was disastrous. I found myself the only working mom on a cookie cutter cul-de-sac, with a one-way, hour long commute, and a brand new prescription for Celexa.

I starting painting the new house (decorated in seventeen shades of pink by the previous owners) and all the walls slowly turned to taupe. After the third room, Britt became a little alarmed. "Are all the rooms going to be this color?" she asked skeptically. "Mostly" I said. I pulled out all the designer talked I learned in my years at the design firm. Taupe is an excellent neutral. Taupe is a perfect backdrop. Taupe is timeless. Taupe, truly, was how I felt on the inside and I wanted to surround myself with its numbing sameness, one room at a time. "Ick" was her reply. And then, she looked me in the eye and "One day, I am going to have my own house and every room is going to be a different color, bright and flashy, and it will drive you crazy, mama." And then she flashed me a wicked grin and I laughed and allowed as she was probably right but that I would visit anyway and try to bite my tongue. But, that was a long way off and I did let her pick a vibrant blue for her room and we moved on.

Fast forward eleven years to this funky little farm house on the edge of town. I spent the weekend of August 8th and 9th painting the kitchen a bright apple green. And, as I wandered from room to room gathering supplies and taking short breaks, I slowly realized that - unconsciously - we have created the house of Britt's long-ago dreams. I was standing on the counter (not - regardless of what some people might say - an unreasonable place to be while a painting a kitchen) lost in the memory of that conversation and thinking how much she would really love the yellow living room, the red dining room, the new apple-y kitchen...and walked right off the counter into mid-air. Gravity being a law and not a suggestion, the moments that followed were not pretty. Urgent care visit, x-rays, sling....waiting for an MRI and hoping that I wont need surgery to repair a torn tendon or muscle in order to regain the use of my arm...yada, yada. I hope they get it sorted out and fixed soon, because the guest room is next on the painting list. I'm thinking a reddish orange...Britt would like that.

Finally, because no post is complete without pictures, here are a few shots of The House of Many Colors.

The living room:

The dining room:

And a couple of views of the kitchen (which still needs new curtains, but is otherwise finished, thanks to Dave who valiantly jumped in at the end and tied up all my loose ends):