Wednesday, April 13, 2011


"Opinions just go around bothering people." The Buddha

My friend Marsha was uncharacteristically just about drunk and maybe that is why she saw peach instead of yellow.

"Marsha, our living room is yellow. So are the curtains."

"No, peach."

She is certain. I turn to her husband.

"Norm, yellow, right?"

"Somewhat," he says. Tentatively.

Two hours before, over chicken marsala, Marsha asks when she and Norm will come to Provincetown.

I hesitate."Of course, anytime," I say, and I mean it. "But remember the conflict we had there last summer? Let's straighten that part out beforehand."

"What conflict?" I don't remember any conflict," Marsha says.

"Remember how we disagreed over when to eat those pancakes and whether to eat lunch at home or out? And all that food you insisted we eat when we didn't want to?"

Marsha looks bewildered. "I don't remember any of that. Do you, Norm?"

"No," Norm says.

JB and I are astonished. Last summer we talked for days after about how hard the visit was, how bad we felt about it, what we should do to forgive and forget.

Who knew Marsha and Norm had no problem forgetting because what JB and I remembered, they didn't remember to begin with.

Which brings me to this morning.

Beginning last night.

The low budget kitchen makeover means that we did not replace all the cabinets, just a couple.

So the couple have to match the ones we left.

Not so easy.

We tried different varnishes.

Our nice carpenter tried wax.


Too dark.

Then JB, who hates paint, went to the paint store and came home with white stain.

She experimented on a two by four piece of unfinished wood. Vanish. Wax. One coat of stain. Two coats of stain. One coat of stain and one coat of varnish.

Last night around midnight we put our best solution on a larger piece of wood.

We matched it!

What joy.


I came home this afternoon to find not the matching color at all.

All the new wood was painted.


Does it match the other cabinets?



Too white.

This is feeling vaguely familiar.

What seems certain, what looks certain, what should be certain...


I don't know what will happen.

"Let it dry," our carpenter said. "Then we'll see what to do."

He's right.

Remember I said I don't want to worry in advance anymore?

And it's just kitchen cabinets.

It's not cancer. It's not Iran.

But still.

I've suspended my excitement.


I'm hoping for another strange phenomena I discovered some time ago.

Besides the fact that Marsha sees peach when I know damn well it's yellow:

Sometimes things fix themselves.

Sometimes they just do.

That would be nice.

Love kj


  1. Ain't life grand? Hey, I say you're lucky you *have* cabinets, and don't sweat the small stuff.

    Interesting, what we select to remember, and what we select to forget.

  2. Yes, I agree with Barbara - some people choose to forget stuff! Sorry to hear about your kitchen cabinet dilema - something similar happened in my kitchen with floorboards. The builder and I tried to stain new floor boards to match old - a few drops of food colouring went into the mix!!

  3. Everyone has their own truth. because it is all about perception.....
    That paint/color thing would drive me crazy!!!

    Hope you are doing ok and the kitchen will be ok in the end! How about giving them all a little bit of that white?


  4. You'll figure it out and yes - it's just cabinets. Doesn't mean it's not important or that your expectations may have to change but you guys will work it out and your warm lovely home will be even warmer and Lovelier

    I came home once off the red eye from Ca to find a painter in my kitchen painting the kitchen yellow. I had wanted yellow but not egg yolk yellow which was what he was putting up. I was shocked and the poor guy said " we know your not going to like this but we have to finish this coat". He also said "let it dry". I lived with that color till we moved.

    Another little story. At some gathering mr. T hung up my coat in the coat room. At the end of the night he went to get it and told the woman that it was a purple coat. When they couldn't find it I came over and said " no - it's brown". To me it is a brown coat. But to him it's really purple albeit a brown- purple. Go figure! Different rods and cones.
    Have a lovely day

  5. It is interesting rereading this; my two cents~~they did not remember the previous *conflict* because it had been an issue they either felt in control of or they are in denial over many things. (and I am laughing when I see the phrase "Do you, Norm?" because that is instant code for Norm isn't going to remember one way or the other....)
    Hey, I am one of those weird people that would not be worrying about the cabinets matching but would be seeing how they are put together, what type of joints on the wood, the rollers on the drawers, if there was electrical I would be hounding them on aluminum or copper? (and want the scraps...).....
    If the cabinets don't quite match, then get Lolo to paint something wonderful over them and make them really NOT MATCH and have a work of art.
    That's my solution to most everything; why match? Stand out!!!

    Anne.....obviously raised by a Dad who did a lot of repair work, and I am the bane of bad contractors! ;-)

  6. Perhaps these differences in perception are why it is so hard to negotiate peace and lesser agreements with folks. There is no right or wrong, only how we perceive. It may not even be an opinion, such as your friends "forgetting" the disagreements when for you it was a big part of the visit. Our minds all work differently. Maybe some of us just take these glitches in the stride of life and forget them and for others they become stories to be gone over and over.

    I echo that you are lucky you have cabinets and the where with all to redo your kitchen. Paint can easily be repainted which is actually why I like paint.

    I had one wall in a kitchen in a color called Santa Fe Sunset. At different times of the day and in different lights it looked entirely different. I rather enjoyed that, like watching a moving sunset.

  7. UH strip them all down to nude wood and dress them any way you want?

  8. haha, intuitive Anne should know you've already asked me :)

    Marsha and Norm,well I remember last summer and the discomfort of it all. Yipes. I hope this summer you all make better memories.

    So, what's the solution for the cabinets?
    I like suki's answer too. It's only paint.

    You easy-peasy renovation has to have some glitches. That's just life PP :)


  9. The kitchen cabinets will be fine - no matter if there are small diferences in colour... but Marianne's idea is sound....why not add an extra coat of white to all of them?

    As for people and their perceptions (or lack of) is almost fascinating to see how differently they can react. That's a tough call - but I have confidence you and JB will handle it well!


    ♥ Robin ♥

    p.s. your home IS a warm, glowing yellow!!!!!

  10. Hey, I see yellow :-).
    I agree with Barbara, you are lucky to have a house of your own and cabinets to paint. Worse case you paint them again. I would give anything to have a house of my own. There is a zen koan I read once and I am butchering it, but basically it says, he is happy who has no opinions :-).

  11. I'm just stopping by with a hug because I think you need one.


    Just sayin'.


  12. Um yes, most things do fix themselves don't they...
    Gee I enjoyed reading this post...are you working on a book yet? You're such an entertaining writer...not many people can write dialogue so well...but in the entertainment are interesting things to mull over as well...ta sweetie...

  13. Yep. FIRM believer in things fixing themselves.

    Particularly when no one is looking!

  14. He dear kj,

    This made me laugh, but it felt uncomfortably is all about the Ptown visits and the Maine visits, sometimes things just stick in your crop and your brain and the causers forget about it. Yet there it is like a thumb that somehow made its way under a hammer.

    Anne Lamott's Bird by Bird would suit you (I think). I bought my copy in 1994 and have returned to it often. She is painfully funny and truthful and hse helped me get over some writing humps (deadlines) that were driving me nuts.

    Sending love from Hummingbird Heaven,

    Sharon (I love the hardware on cupboards-artsy)

  15. I hope they come out in a way you're happy with, even if it isn't what you were planning. (Life metaphor!)

  16. yay you found me, and it is so good to be back. you are my first new/old visitor...not old, just 'old'. always enjoy reading you, say hi to JB from me.

  17. Exactly. I actually really like decorating with things that don't match. I have been called 'eclectic' by a decorator I know, because if I had my way, matching cupboards, sofas, furniture, etc. drives me around the bend. It all comes together in the end anyway, I figure.

    You did say Marsha had drunk more than her usual. Perhaps that is why she didn't remember the problems associated with their visit. Her husband sounds like a man who will take the easy way out and always will agree with her. She sounds as if she has a strong personality!

    I have to say I love the white reminds me of the milk stain we used on the hen coops and barns when I was little. I thought it was warm and comforting. Don't worry...they'll blend in. Please give yourself and JB a really warm hug from me!

  18. Subjectivity is so human. I really have to work on not perceiving negativity when it wasn't intended--or at least try to shake it off. You must have been so graceful about the food argument that they didn't even recognize it. You would think, though, that they would be more objective about color. Your walls are yellow on my monitor! Is the cabinet contrast between photos 1 and 2? If so, they aren't identical, but they do match. Another thought I had was about the lighting: if you put the darker doors on the bottom and the lighter ones on top, would they appear more alike? Thanks for your posts, kj, which make me think things through... xxox

  19. oh dear kj, i hope you find a solution to fit you both. it may not be big in the scheme of life but it's usually the little things we live with that weigh on us the most.
    and i agree, your writing is fun and so interesting to read.

  20. and have you seen what fun olive has had?

    there, that makes twenty.

  21. barbara, i know. sometimes it's the little things that seem so big and that alone makes things worse!!

    caroline, the problem is solved. no unkind words were spoken! our carpenter felt bad about it, and JB and i offered to do our own pickling and varishing, which we've done.

    marianne, couldn't paint them all white without sanding down all the old ones, and we didn't want white! i didn't even want the old cabinets but low budget is low budget :)

    mim, i KNOW it's just cabinets so it double upset me that it upset me!! funny story about your purple brown coat. it was good and confusing when i learned that absolutes aren't really absolutes!! ♥

    anne, marsha is one of my best friends and i'm actually glad she lost no sleep over the whole silly issue. i've learned we'll just handle this like that instead of that like this! i know what you mean about quality, anne. i'm a perfectionist about many things. i want at least a B-plus in work done on my behalf!!

  22. suki, you are wise as ever....xoxo

    mark, not so easy! plus i could hear the poor wood moaning...

    lo, discomfort then, but marsha and i are good friends and always will be. norm too. i shouldn't have used their names. i hope they would think this story is funny! the solution for the cabinets: we did it ourselves!!!!

    wrobin, thank you for the vote of confidence. actually, we and the carpenter handled the problem very respectfully. no blame, we all sanded the damage away together :^)

    annie, i'm glad i have a house for sure. i feel blessed, but i also know i earned it, which i did. xo

    "in the entertainment are interesting things to mull over as well..." aww, chrisy, you've made my heart sing. thank you for getting me!