Color Stupid


July 30, 2002

Well, I obviously got this thing up and working, not that any of you would know. As previously mentioned, I've lost my notify list. What's a girl to expect?

One of the perks of my job as a facilities manager, besides the obvious (having a whole stable of cute, handy men at my beck and call) is access to a variety of vendors that perform tasks a homeowner would consider useful: plumbers, electricians, contractors, etc.

One of my long-time vendors recently became my favorite, the carpet rep. My extra super favorite when I found out that I can get carpet from her for my home. Not only carpet, but top quality carpet. For dirt cheap.

Here's how it works: you make a selection from what they call "op stock". This consists of extra yardage, overruns, etc. Some of it is custom. It's commercial-grade, low pile, and really nice. You tell them how much you think you need, then they send this handy guy to your house to measure, he goes back to the mill where he picks up the necessary yardage, comes back, removes the old carpet, and installs the new carpet and pad for less than 1/3 of the retail price.

So, we're going to recarpet our house.

Today I made a trip to the carpet mill. It's huge. It's hot. It's loud. Think Norma Rae. When the looms are running everyone wears these big protective headphones. I saw spools and spools and skeins and skeins of wool. I saw looms. I saw this totally cool machine that pours latex onto the back of the carpet. This is apparently what holds the weave into place before they put the backing on it. I saw huge vats filled with every color dye imaginable. All said, it was totally cool. But all a precursor to the real event of the day--the Op Stock Room.

We go into this room and against the back wall are swatches from about 100 different carpets. Each has a tag that tells you the available yardage. Since we're starting with three rooms I need about 75 yards.

There were some totally cool patterns and some really wild colors. I've pretty much decided we're going to go fairly neutral since we're planning on selling our house fairly soon.

I made some choices. Two are the same carpet in two different colors. A dense, low pile, one in loden green and the other a sort of cement color. The third is camel colored sisal-looking carpet, and the final is a dark slate blue sculpted, low pile, with a box pattern.

I was so excited I couldn't wait to tell Chuck. I called him from the parking lot of the mill and was dismally greeted by his voicemail.

When we finally did speak I couldn't wait to tell him about my finds. Then I had a grim realization: Telling Chuck anything beyond the fact that I'd found some potential carpet was pointless. Absolutely pointless because while I say loden green and 99.9% of the population is going to understand what that means, my husband absolutely will not.

He says he's color blind. I say he's color stupid.

This dismal fact has been driven home to me more times than I care to admit over the course of our relationship. One example is most illustrative of this fact:

Shortly after we moved into our old house Chuck decided he wanted a dog. I was cool to the idea. If some random dog showed up at our house, though, Chuck knew he'd have me.

Armed with this knowledge he went to the animal shelter. I was unaware of this until I came home from work one night and he informed me that he'd found a dog he wanted. OK. I'm game. What are the details? He then proceeds to explain that he found a really cute brown and white dog, blah blah blah blah blah. The rest of the details are beside the point. The point is that he described a dog, now known as Bill and a member of our family for about eight years now, as BROWN and white.

I'm here to tell you, there's nothing brown about Bill. Pitch black and bright white yes. Brown, not so much.

Gray is often labeled green. Purple is virtually unidentifiable.

I don't understand how he can get these things so wrong. He manages to dress himself. I can only guess that when all the other kids were sitting in kindegarten learning the names of the colors he was absent that day.

Until next time...