I am cleaning out the workroom. In a large cupboard, on the workbench and on the floor are tins and tins of paint. Now is the time to sort out which paints rattle around solidly in their “sealed” container, which contain just an inch, and which will never realistically be used for the touch-ups we have never gotten around to making. Tomorrow there will be a car trunk-load going to the waste transfer station. Before they go, I am taking a last look at the colors.
There’s the sage green of our living room and the darker shade for the fireplace “focus wall.” We felt so sophisticated at the time.
There is a box of small pints of four audacious shades of blue- a midnight blue, sky blue, royal and something in-between. The blues are from when we made our youngest son’s room truly his; taking the baby clothes out of the dresser, getting a bigger bed, installing cool floating wall shelves from Ikea… making his room so nice that he sardonically asked his big sister home from college, “Is there something they’re not telling me? Am I dying?!” He got his choice of colors and each wall was a different blue, with contrasting color on the closet doors. Now that he’s finished college himself and many years past using this room, it is our study and newly painted a soft gray. So the remnants of the four blues can go.
There are the paints from the failed marbleizing effect that is now only to be found hidden behind the kitchen stove. There is the bold and beautiful deep iris that is on the kitchen baseboards, in an attempt to harmonize with the counter top that was supposed to have lavender hints in the gray but instead was just plain light purple.
There are remnants of quarts of deep turquoise and a rich coral-orange, from the summer each daughter decorated an old bookcase exactly as they chose, including collaging magazine pictures and bright pennies onto the tops.
There is some of the tawny, adobe color that warmed up our dark basement family room. There is the wheaten-yellow of the basement bathroom. We should have used that to cover up the wallboard patch, from when we had to cut a hole out of the wall to rescue the hamster that got loose and found it’s way from the unfinished laundry-room to get stuck in an interior wall. The hamster lived. The patch stayed unpainted for the next 12 years.
I find tins of the dill pickle paint that covers the long attic walls, and the colonial blue-green of the garage. I remember pulling the vines off of that garage and prepping the cheap siding with my son. I don’t know if I can get him back to work with me now that it needs it again.
It is hard to let go. Hard to let go even of old dried up cans of paint from the workroom. So I am saving a memory of them, and our home they have brightened, here.