by the way

50 shades of gray? More like 150 shades


I just came back from a walk with my dog and instead of enjoying the sunshine, I was fixated by Lily’s red-white-and-blue leash and collar.

I had tied some unused green doggie trash bags onto the handle of the leash, and I was bothered by the colors.

Eww. Green doesn’t go very well with our patriotic colors. Luckily I caught myself. Don’t be ridiculous! The doggie trash bags do NOT have to match the leash and collar.

My over-concern with colors was a direct result of my working for two days with one of my dearest friends, whom I’ll call Darcy, who agreed to help me choose a color for my house interior. “I’m looking for a nice grey,” I told her. “Not too dark. Not too light.”

She has a wonderful eye for colors. Her own house, which she has decorated herself, is beautifully done. I was in good hands.

Actually, I wasn’t sure I even wanted to change the color of my interior.

It seeming like a huge undertaking. I’d lived with the same beige color for 23 years. But I’d never really liked it.

I’m not a beige girl. I’d always cottoned to white, but if I was going to make such a big change I thought I should do something other than white.

Darcy came over armed with palettes and books and pamphlets of interior color collections.

My trusted painter, Tim Rees, “The Paint Man,” who’d painted individual rooms — and my exterior — was at my house and dutifully painted three different shades of gray on my walls — in eight or nine places — so we could see the grays in different lighting.

He applied several coats of paint samples to a large area on the wall so we could test it out. (Ask for his phone number at any paint store if you need a painter.)

It occurred to me that I was obligated now.

Unless I wanted to live with a patchwork quilt of colors on all my walls, I had to paint them.

Darcy and I waited until the paint dried. I was stunned.

The grays I thought were gray were blue or greenish in hue — not that there’s anything wrong with blue or green, but … My whole house would not be the gray I’d envisioned. It was quite an education for me.

I was sure I could make a decision on that very day. I mean it was only paint, right? But I realized I wasn’t ready.

I went to the paint store and got a couple of other samples of gray paint.

With each sample I was sure, crystal sure, that I had found the right hue. But no! Still the grays were too purple, too reddish, or too white. Without Darcy I would have made a terrible mistake. “Well, Mimso, this will intensify to blue,” she said. I wanted gray. Not blue. She was absolutely right.

The next morning, I had to go to the Mayo Beaches Primary Care for a blood test.

And there on a screen it was: the gray of my dreams. Or was it? I took a few pictures for Darcy and sent them to her.

“I’ve found it!” I told her, but she very wisely and gently said it wasn’t right. I trusted her. Again, she was right.

That afternoon she traipsed over to my house and said “I think you’re going to love this.”

She found my gray, and by the time you read this, Tim will have painted the whole interior.

If you’re interested, it’s called Essentially Gray SH 6002. Imitation is the sincerest form of flattery, so go right ahead and use it if you like.

It’s going to be my … “Field Color…” I never knew I would have a “Field Color.” Impressive… (It simply means the main color of the walls.)

I’ve noticed I am eyeballing colors a lot more now.

For instance I was looking at an ad in a magazine and noticed the models wearing gray sweaters. Nice grays. Two women were walking in Target. I said to them, “I love your grey.”

And in the evening I checked out some TV shows. I didn’t care what the storyline was in sitcoms, movies or dramas. I was only interested in what color people had on their walls.