Friday, March 26, 2010

Chaos Theory

"One never knows what one is going to do.
One starts a painting and then it becomes something quite different."
Pablo Picasso

I have just finished putting the second coat of primer on 3 walls in my bedroom. Even before this month's hullabaloo, I'd been thinking I was ready to change the dark, mossy green walls of my "cave" into something lighter and brighter. I was thinking yellow. Sweetie nixed that before giving it even a cursory bit of consideration.

When I painted the room four years ago, I figured a dark color would cover just about anything. What I didn't know was that it can take at least two if not three coats of paint for a good coverage. Of course that could have as much to do with the expertise of the painter as it does the quality of paint. Now I'm discovering the same is true of covering over a dark color. I guess that makes sense. Especially since the color I finally decided on is none other than your basic, apartment Navajo White. I may go for an accent wall in a darker shade but it will still be a neutral shade of tan!

Unlike other members of my family, I am not a planner. I don't give much forethought to my projects. I get an idea in my head then jump in. With nothing in mind except a nice sale price, I headed to Bed Bath and Beyond yesterday to see what they had in the way of new bed linens. I opted for a foreign made quilt of variegated shades turquoise. It reminded me of the color of the ocean in some of the Hawaiian pictures Johnson has sent lately. What could be better for relaxed sleeping than a room that conjures up a tropical sea?Marine blue spread, sandy tan walls, white trim the color of puffy clouds. Mmmm, I think I could take a nap just thinking about it.

I'm a messy painter. Even with a drop cloth under the paint pan and a rag in my pocket to catch drips, I seem to be wearing as much primer as I've put on the walls. I'm speckled in white. This makes me wonder why painters wear white when they know they are going to soon look like something from a polka dot factory? Perhaps I've smelled too many paint fumes, but this thought leads me to another? Who exactly is in charge of deciding who wears what to work in? Why do chefs wear black and white checkered pants? And what's up with that hat?

Do you remember when only women were nurses and they used to wear white dresses, hose, shoes and funny looking hats? The person who came up with the concept of brightly colored, novelty printed scrubs for nurses, lab workers, and veterinarian assistants has got to be resting in a hammock on some tropical island drinking mai tais and looking at the luscious turquoise sea. But there is always an exception to the rule, isn't there? Yesterday a hospice nurse came to visit dad, dressed head to toe in what appeared to be starched white cotton, just like the good old days. I must say he looked quite clean and neat.

Getting back to painting and my lack of expertise. Today, as I worked from the top down, I began to wonder which is the more correct way to do it? Does one neatly trim the joints where the wall and ceiling come together (or wall and baseboard) then feather in with a roller? Or should you roll the paint on the entire wall, then feather in with a brush to finish? Does it make any difference? I've always done the brush work first but I'm not sure why.

I think it is going to be good to have a fresh new room to sleep in. It will be a quiet, tranquil place for Sweetie and I to retreat to when the world around us is going crazy. I also think it's been good for me to be doing some physical labor. I've still got a lot of emotion churning up inside of me. Stuff I'll have to deal with sooner or later, but right now I'm opting for later.

One night when we were homeless, staying in the Homestead Suite and I couldn't sleep, I tried to count all the places I've lived in my lifetime. Where I live now is the house we moved in to when my dad retired from the Navy in 1962. It's the place I've always thought of as home, even when I lived thousand of miles away. Home as in where my roots are. Home as in nothing much changes. Or didn't until Sweetie and I moved in 4 years ago and I tried to incorporate our "new" style with Dad's "old." I can see now how over time, Dad might have felt edged out, while my reality was all about putting a "fresh" face on things. The drapes in the living room have been here for at least 30 years and the wallpaper in the hallway nearly as long. Maybe because I've moved so many times, I'm just not used to being so settled that everything stays the same; every few years I seem to be ready for a change. Because Dad hasn't moved in 48 years, home is just another habit that he has grown used to. I think when you are old and begin feeling uncertain about how much time you have left or have trouble remembering how to do the things you've done for years, old habits must be a comfort.

The room where I sleep is the room in our house that was traded down from sister to sister. When we first moved in, three of us shared the space. As each sister aged into her own room, the walls would be painted to reflect the personality of the girl(s) remaining. When I was standing on the ladder this afternoon, painting above the closet door, I could see three distinct paint colors - peach, light blue and mossy green. Someday an anthropologist might scrape down to the bare plaster and have a field day trying to tell the story of the people who slept in that room just by the all the paint colors.

Sweetie has tried to make a path to get in and out of the room safely in the middle of the night. I suspect his desire for neatness and order is at odds with the room's dishelvement. I will have to remind him as we tuck ourselves in that there is a theory that chaos breeds its own kind of order. I wonder if he'll buy it!

Wishing for you a calm seas and relaxing vistas,
Merry ME


Fire Byrd said...

When I was a staff nurse back in the day I wore a lilac and white stripped dress. Starched collar, starched pinny and a starched hat that sat on the top of my head was about 9 inches tall and had a fall at the back of the same.The uniform was vile to wear, but I was very proud to wear it as it meant I was a qualified nurse working in a big teaching hospital in Cambridge and not my provincial training hospital in my home town.


Hope the tranquil bedroom arrives soon!

Pamela Jones said...

I'm loving the chaos theory thing! It justifies a whole lot of my life...thanks!
Navajo White, eh? When we got ready to paint our kitchen a couple of years ago, replacing the ancient wallpaper of the '50s, I looked for HOURS through paint chips until I found the perfect background for our colorful life (my excuse for choosing neutrals -- feel free to use it). It was called Arabian Sand, and it was soft and mellow and more-than-beige but less-than-brown. I savored the moment when I put the finishing touches on the first wall, stood back, and looked. OMG! It was RESTROOM BEIGE!! It was exactly the color of the restrooms at the building at our community park! Be sure you have those beachy colors ready -- just in case.
Here's to new beginnings!

AkasaWolfSong said...

I love the Chaos Theory! Birds use it so it must be A-O-K!!! :)
As for painting I don't think it matters what you do first Mary...I've painted and cleaned for a living (own business) and I just always did what my spirit prompted me to do at any given moment so as not to get bored cuz lets face it painting can get very boring, ha ha ha.
As for the color scheme I'm spot on with you! Restful Sea Colors sounds wonderful! Makes me want to plan a trip.
I'm with's to New Beginnings!
Blessings going out to All of You!