Sunday, June 08, 2008


So it was time to begin painting our old farmhouse. Before making the long trek out there, I stopped at Sherwin Williams here in town with my blue paint chip in my hot little hand, the one I'd taped beside the huge bay windows to watch the effect of the light upon it all day.

I'd made up my mind to buy a low-toxic paint this time, first time ever in the thirty years I've been painting our rooms, so I walked into the store and asked the salesman if they carried one of the new low-toxic paints. He reached for a can on the shelf and gave me a neat little spiel about how it was low in this and that, plus, it was 25 percent off price-wise. Nice. I was out of there in less than five minutes.

But on Saturday, also on my way out to the farmhouse, I first stopped at our local Value Home Center to see if they, too, had a low-toxic paint, but perhaps for a bit cheaper. A rather elderly salesman asked if he could help me, so I asked if they carried a low-toxic paint.

Immediately, I was sorry I asked.

He rolled his eyes and told me all paints are safe. Well, except for oil paints. With virtually all paints, the smell disappears within 24 hours. ("That's not the point," I thought to myself. "I want to inhale the least amount of toxins each time I dip my brush into the bucket and stand nose-to-wall.")

He went on to say that oh, yes, (a certain company) carries paint which they say is safer (he smirked), but he'd heard they were all junk. "You're practically going back to the days of milk paint and that stuff was poor." Then he laughed.

I thought, "Most likely, this guy thinks 'going green' is a big fat joke and anyone who eats organic is a deluded moron."

After just nodding and smiling and stepping away, I tried matching a different paint chip to one of theirs, but couldn't and this salesman guy practically hovered over my back. He spoke as though I'd never painted a wall in my life. I felt about 20 years old (and not in a good way, either).

Oh brother. As soon as he walked away, so did I. Right out the door.

Why am I sharing this? Because if I was like I used to be, I'd have argued with him about trying to stay away from as many toxins as possible. That's it's not just about the scent of wet paint, but a lot more. I'd have told him about my success with the lower-toxin paint I'd bought from Sherwin Williams--how, even on an incredibly humid day, it had covered quite well. I'd have told him I'd been painting rooms for 30 years and knew my way around a paint can and a paint brush. I'd have said, "Just humor me, all right? Grab a can off the shelf and tell me it's the safest one your store makes."

All spoken sweetly, of course, but I'd have told him.

But you know what that urge is called, don't you? It's an urge called Pride. Pride of having to defend oneself so the other guy doesn't think you're an idiot. Pride of having to make certain that the people around you know and understand your opinions because, hey, your opinions matter a whole bunch in the grand scheme of life and all people--if they are smart--should listen to your wise words.

But yesterday when I considered saying any of the myriad thoughts and opinions and clever retorts swirling around my brain, I just sighed. Spouting off seemed way too tiring. A complete waste of time. There was no way I was gonna change this guy's mind, so why try? He'd been around longer than I have and--most likely--is one of those people who believe, "if it hasn't killed me after all these years, then there must be nothing wrong with it."

If I'd felt God nudging me say to something, well, I would have. But alas, no nudges. No anything. So I said nothing. And I walked out to the car rejoicing that I'd kept my mouth shut. Because for me, that's progress.

Big-time progress. And big-time freedom, as well.
***
Here's an article about saving money at the supermarket (I've been reading this kind of stuff for 30 years and never tire of it).
Here's an article I found interesting about saving money on buying organic food.

11 comments:

nancyr said...

Oh, I love that picture of a farmhouse kitchen. I'd love to have a kitchen that looks just like that. Actually my non-farmhouse kitchen has cobalt blue paint on the upper walls,and white bead board and chair rail molding below, and that is nice, but that picture calls to me!!!

Can't wait to see before and after photos of your new, old house!

daisymarie said...

How neat to be able to see our growth and know that it is such a gift from God!

I love the blue in the pic...will that be the color of your kitchen?

Saija said...

and i'm waiting for the photo's ... :o) ... to see the before and after ...

re being peaceably quiet - i know what you mean ... one of the reasons i smile alot (and probably look simple!) is 'cause i want to keep my own peace ... and God is our Defender, isn't He?

blessings on you as you paint away!

smilnsigh said...

Please tell us that you have already and are going to be taking every possible "Before" picture. The beginning of a wonderful Memory Book about Your Farm House.

Then add "Progress" pics.

And "After" pics.

And many "Maybe" pics, along the way... Even after you have it 'just so,' the first time. :-)

Please and thank you ~ assure us of this.

You have waited too long for this dream, to not keep a fun photo record of it... To put in a Memory Book. {Which Memory Book, would be good to get soon and have on hand.} So you won't get carried away with "doing." And forget about "Recording." :-)

Yes, you will remember. But won't it be fun to show people, who haven't lived it?

Happy times wishes,
Mari-Nanci
Smilnsigh

smilnsigh said...

And so glad to notice that you have installed Comment Approval. I had to, a while ago. Too much *crap-ooo-la* going on in Blog Land, not to do so. Yishhhhhhhhhh... :-(

I don't make people 'fight' with Word Verification either. But the Comment Approval is a permanent thing, I now feel.

Mari-Nanci
Smilnsigh

Hummingbird Chats said...

I'm like you, I have started to walk away rather than waste my breath with people who are so set in their way.
The farm and house must truly be a dream come true. And saving money and be ready for anything is the greatest. Katie

Roses and Lilacs said...

I just love that picture. I would kill for that floor;) My old farmhouse kitchen could use a touch up but it will have to wait at least until the fall.

jar said...

Will you have the metal box also? - to keep things cool if you are not at home when the delivery comes? Thats what I remember.

Nan said...

Have you ever visited?
http://www.milkpaint.com/

It still is a viable choice. Good for you not bothering to fight. Sometimes it just isn't worth it.

martha said...

Just love that "farmhouse kitchen" picture. Who is the artist? My eyes can't make out that tiny print.

What a pleasure to read of your adventures. You're living my dream....

Anonymous said...

Unfortunately there are people who just don't get the need to protect ourselves and the earth I know what you mean about telling him. I think when we get a little older we get a little wiser Taking your business elsewhere made your point..By the way i have used the Behr(top rated by Consumers Report and JD Power) low vox paint. The results were excellent. It was not cheap nor was it horribly expensive. I bought it at Home Depot.Home depot is my least favorite home improvement store but this paint was worth the aggravation of going there.