Friday, November 5, 2010

A Crisis of Color

"I'm having a Color Crisis," LK said as she ran into the family room, rummaged through her folder for some color patches, grabbed them plus a sample of cloth and bolted back upstairs where the painter was working.

Turns out Jonathan, our painter, is the sort of guy who does not want to paint cupboards Fair Bianca White if there's a better shade available. In our case, the oven, which looked like a light cream color in the brochure, evidently has more yellow in it than LK had thought. Or so I found out later that night when we reviewed the executive decisions that had gone into resolving the Color Crisis.

LK and Jonathan came to the conclusion that using the shade of white we had originally chosen would make the oven stand out too much. "And it will make it look very yellow," LK told me.

I nodded, trying my best to act as if I too thought it was a bad thing if the oven looked yellow and stood out. I even offered a bit of post-Crisis philosophy. "But if you moved into a place with a beautiful new kitchen with white cabinets and already owned this oven, you wouldn't think twice of just plonking it in. Right?"

I guess that was a Men Are From Mars sort of thought for it merited a befuddled look, a brief pause in LK's conversation and then no response as she made a decision to act as if she had not heard me.

This may have been in part because at one stage of this whole process I had laughed loudly at what I thought was a funny joke when LK told me there were dozens and dozens of shades of white.

Or perhaps it was my earlier decision to decline a seat at the table for the Crisis Management Team. Early in the Crisis, LK asked if I would like to come up and get involved in the decision to switch colors. I smiled and asked her if she thought I would have anything to contribute to such a decision, and she nodded briefly and left the room quickly.

I was able to help with the Lighting Crisis, though. As so often happens when one thing goes off the rails, it seemed as if some other problem pops up. In this instance our lights (also known as the last things we had ordered that had not yet arrived) arrived.

Shortly after resolving the Color Crisis, LK opened one of the boxes and took out the lights that are going over the kitchen island.  "It's supposed to be 30 centimeters," LK said. Even though I still deal with centimeters by mentally multiplying by 40 inches to figure out what that would be like, I knew the little light in her hand was closer to 30 millimeters.

(OK, Yanks. I'll give you a break. It was supposed to be about 12 inches and it was closer to 1.5 inches.)

LK grabbed the invoice, went online and came to the conclusion that the folks in Italy had sent us the wrong lights. This made the Color Crisis look like a trivial problem. She had me look through the web site to see what the light was supposed to look like.

And that is where experience saved the day. Sure, younger people may have more enthusiasm, energy and other stuff like that. But I have experience, and experience trumps youth every time. As I looked at the lights it reminded me of several times in my life when I had panicked because some self-assembly piece was not what it should be. And in nearly every instance it turned out that I hadn't emptied the carton or read the directions.

"Have you looked in the box to see if there's a 30 centimeter part you haven't unpacked yet?"

A few minutes later the Lighting Crisis was officially over as LK showed me the metal shade that looked to me to be just about (.30 x 40) inches wide.

Two crises in one day. No wonder LK was tired last night. But she would have slept well knowing how good her lights are going to look in the kitchen - especially with those cabinets now a creamier shade of white officially known as Milan.

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