It’s obvious that I have been working more since my blog gets neglected for weeks at a time. But I have had some funny stuff happen while working lately, and I thought it would be fun to convey a day in the life of a dorky designer. There are diva designers and dorky designers. There is no sense in me trying to be a diva because the only people I can be really mean to are my kids. So, thus, I am the latter…
I got a referral recently to help someone with interior and exterior paint selections. Great! Easy money! It was simply paint colors, nothing else, but that can be a really hard decision for people who don’t repaint their rooms weekly! After years working in the paint industry, I got plenty of experience and ability with how color works in different rooms with different light sources and surfaces. Thank GOD! Because my first little condo had terracotta floors and I tried to pull a lighter paint color in the same family for the walls. But the reflection of the two made my walls look like the art deco district in Miami—pink—bubble gum pink! The best part was that I painted 90 percent of the place before I finally surrendered to the realization that it was horrible and to kiss the money and hours laboring goodbye–time to open up the wallet and invest more time and money. I got it though, and it was charming. First lesson: always choose a muddier version of what you think you want on the walls if your selection isn’t already the color of some type of dirt.
Anyway, I digress…So I went out to the client’s home on a Saturday morning when Florida is already beginning to crank up the temps. Another reason I can’t be a diva designer. Nobody is buying how totally awesome I am and stumbling over themselves to do everything for me when the sweat is pouring off me, and my makeup is sliding off my face like a rubber clown mask. They are not probably jumping to the conclusion that I’m peri-menopausal and standing in the sun in 85 degrees—they probably think I am just out of shape and nervous as hell. Okay, so the former is sort of true.
When I got into the house, it definitely needed painting, and both decision makers had different opinions of what they would like. One wanted color, the other neutral. We found a middle ground, but the whole collaboration was awkward and I was feeling off my game as far as making the clients feel comfortable with their opinions and ideas. After the bathroom and bedroom colors were selected, I left their bedroom without half of the paint samples that I had brought in there, and the homeowner had to remind me. Okay, so not ridiculous—I’m an artist, and a certain amount of flakiness should be expected.
Back at the table we were both scrambling to find pens, so that I could write down a paint schedule for two different brands of paint in case the contractor had trouble color matching one company’s color into another company’s paint base. Then it was going back outside so I could sweat under that giant heat lamp that parks itself over Florida from April to October.
At the risk of being ugly, I do need to say that the landscape around the home had been neglected for some time. A lot of it was overgrown, and there were piles of yard waste close to the house making it hard to put up my samples. Both the husband and wife seemed like they just wanted something selected, ANYTHING selected, and to be done with this little adventure. Nothing I communicated (through the sweat running down my face and into my eyes) could really engage them. However, I don’t JUST select paint for my clients unless we are doing a full design. They have to live with the decision, so I make them help. I’m not going to be the spot where the finger points if they don’t like the outcome—they need to participate in it.
When we agreed on something that would work, I turned to walk down the driveway to my car to get some larger samples of what we selected. Two steps forward in my awesome platform sandals that I thought made me look so smart, I stepped on a large piece of mulch which is like kryptonite to high-heeled wedge sandals, and fell ALL THE WAY DOWN TO THE GROUND IN FRONT OF MY CLIENTS! It hurt my knee,too—not to mention my self-esteem that was already waning over the course of the past hour. Naturally, my clients were very shocked and concerned wondering what caused my fall and if I was okay (and probably wondering how much this consultation was going to cost them now!) As they are asking me if I am okay, I am trying to recover by simply replying with it was just embarrassing. I got up and walked (carefully, oh so carefully) off to my trunk to dig out the samples. It was really time to wrap this up, now.
After walking all over the drive and yard with careful and great trepidation, we settled on a palette, and I sent them back inside while I went back through my trunk to find all of the large versions of paint swatches that I could give them. I have one of those plastic bins full of Benjamin Moore paint swatches and other fan decks that surely weighs 30 pounds. After a very long 5 minutes of sweating, digging, cursing, and worrying about my ego and sore knee, I realize that two of the colors that I wanted were on sample rings that just happened to NOT be in the stupid bin. Can I be less professional? Well, I suppose if I farted or burped, but by the grace of god, neither of those things happened.
After a stupid amount of time hoping I was wrong in my suspicions about the MIA paint samples, the wife comes back outside, because she wasn’t sure if they were supposed to come back outside or if I was coming in. I laughed and said that I was coming inside, but I had been tearing my trunk apart to find two colors. With a smirk, I asked her if she was worried I had fallen down again. Once again, my awesome sense of humor seemed to simply draw forth humorous pity rather than a good laugh.
Once we got in the house to finish the paint schedule, and settle up, their poor little tot fell down and got a knot on his head. It was awful, I know they were alarmed, and I felt terribly for them, having been in that situation dozens of times with my own kids, and also quite recently with myself in their driveway. Admittedly, I found myself secretly hoping his knot helped them forget my vaudeville act in the driveway.
As dad was dealing with the little one, it was really apparent that I needed to wrap it up and get out of there, because the Mom needed to go to her child. Once again, I grabbed my things and headed for the front door as she chased me down with two of my paint decks that I had left behind.
Seriously…I bet there is rubber on the street in front of their house, considering how quickly I tried to put that experience behind me.