Tuesday, February 09, 2010

Paint Shopping with Grandma

(Disclaimer:  I love my Grandma dearly, but we are about as opposite in personality as two human beings can be, and events like the ones I'm about to describe leave me humored, and perhaps slightly bewildered by and at those differences.)

As I've mentioned before, at the end of this month, I'm moving into a large room in my Grandma's basement.  There are lots of reasons for this particular move, at this particular time in my life, and lots of angst to go with it.  (After all, who moves in with their 80 year old grandparent after several years of independent, parent-free living?)

The particular room I'm moving into has one tiny window.  It's definitely not up to any current construction code.  One tiny, ground level window, maybe two feet high by four feet wide.  Up near the ceiling.

The room itself is done in wood panelling.  Dark mahogany colored wood panelling. 

Now I'm a girl who prefers mood lighting - candles, small reading lamps, that sort of thing, but the thought of spending the next six months or more of my life in a a room with dark pannelled walls and only one tiny window was daunting even for me.  So I asked if I could paint the pannelling - lighten it up in there a bit.

Grandma was amenable to the idea of painting, but, since it was her house, clearly was in charge of color choices.

Last night after work, we went paint shopping.

Paint shopping with my Grandma, it turns out, is a lengthy and arduous task.

It took three stores, and two hours, to buy 2 gallons of paint.

After assuring her that no, I didn't need to go grocery shopping, and no, I didn't need any dinner, the first stop was Walmart.  Not exactly the first place that comes to mind for buying supplies for a large painting project, but this was Grandma's deal, and I was just along for the ride, and to offer some opinions on the color of the future room I'd be living in.

So, Walmart it was.  We found the paint department, picked a color, and waited.  And waited.  And waited.  Then I waited with the cart for the next 15 minutes, while Grandma wandered the store, trying to find an employee to help us, and even having one paged to the department.  No one showed up.

Time to move on.

I told Grandma that my aunt (her daughter) who does lots of decorating projects had recommended a paint product from Home Depot, that was a combination of paint and primer in one, thus requiring less coats to finish the task. (My aunt was pretty sure that this product was a Home Depot exclusive.)  Grandma liked this idea of paint and primer in one.

Her reasoning however, is that if Home Depot carried it, Rona must too.  And hey - Rona was at the opposite end of the Walmart parking lot.

So, off to Rona it was.

In the meantime, Grandma was regaling me with the story of a former neighbor girl who is now no longer a neighbor girl, whose dad always wanted to move back to the neighborhood he grew up in, which is the neighborhood that my parents live in, and how she and her brother used to come to church, but her brother stopped coming, and so now she still comes on her own, and recently she a "little friend" with her.

You got that?  Yeah, I wasn't following either, nor was I particularly certain what this conversation had to do with me, since I've never met said neighbor girl, and I'm not likely to.  But hey, this is a pretty par for the course conversation with my Grandma, and as long as she's telling me about a random stranger, she's not asking nosy questions about the details of my life, ready for broadcast along the family grapevine she so deftly controls!

I also now know all about the family of the nanny to the three little boys that my grandma picks up from school every day.  I didn't actually know she picked up kids from school, but now I know all about their nanny, and her husband and children, and how she brought them over from points unknown just before Christmas, and the children are working at various places, possibly including either Starbucks or Tim Hortons.  What I'm not clear on is why my grandma drives the children home from school every day if there is a nanny in the picture.  I tried asking, but the details got more convoluted the longer we talked, and I gave up after a while.

So we were at Rona, where we again found the paint department, again picked a color, and then approached the nice guy manning the paint counter.  Turns out that the product is, in fact, exclusive to Home Depot, and we would save money by going there and buying it, because we'd need less paint, and less coats.

That didn't stop Grandma from sharing the entire story of why we were looking for paint in the first place with the nice guy behind the desk.  It's slightly awkward to be standing next to your grandmother in the home renovation store, while she tells the guy who is approximately your age that her grandaughter is moving in with her, but the room was very dark and so I'd asked if I could paint.

Also, it turns out, that logical thinking is not one of Grandma's strongest suits.  It took me quite a while to help her understand that we would have to buy less buckets of paint if we went to Home Depot, but eventually I managed.

As we left the paint counter, the story (which I'd really thought had reached it's conclusion) picked up again.  "So, I was telling you about this little girl..."

We made the trip to Home Depot, and here's where you get the next insight into my quirky Grandma.  It's about a five minute drive from Rona to Home Depot, down one semi-major road.

Except that Grandma only learned to drive in her fifties (which granted, means that she has 30 years of driving experience now), and she basically doesn't drive on roads that have a speed limit of over 50 km/hour.  It took us 15 minutes or so to get to Home Depot, with her chatting to me the whole way.

Once at Home Depot, we repeated the process of picking a color.  Twice.  Turns out the first color we picked is actually not available in the paint/primer combo we were after.  After four rounds of gently convincing Grandma that lighter was definitely better when it came to a paint color choice for the room, we officially settled on "natural almond".  Not as light as would have been my preference (I'd have gone white, personally), but definitely much lighter than some of the ones that immediately caught Grandma's eye.

This paint counter representative was, thankfully, spared the life story.  However, I did step in again, to make sure we had the right kind of roller for applying the paint.  Because Grandma was telling the paint lady that the pannelling was quite smooth, and, having run my hands over it that very night, I knew that that wasn't the case.  We bought a roller for "semi-rough" surfaces and got out of there with minimal extra conversation.

All that was left was to get me home.  This, because of the aformentioned driving restrictions, was another 15 minute process (for a 5 minute distance.)

I walked in the door, my roommate (who lived with my Grandma for about a month, before moving in with me two years ago) took a look at me, and at the clock, and simply commented, "Your grandma was chatty tonight, huh?"

Understatement of the century.

Two hours, three stores, and two gallons of paint later, I'm hoping to recover before I have to spend the weekend in close quarters with her, painting the rooms!


shallowfrozenwater said...

nevertheless, that was a nice story. happy painting.

Lisa said...

Thanks Ian!