Friday, June 13, 2008

Pink Palace, R.I.P.

The other night, I was sitting on my front porch, well hidden by the cedars, when I heard one of the neighbours telling her toddler that he was not allowed to go past "the pink house" on his tricycle. But the next time, he pedaled right on past, so she came out to scold him. He said: "what pink house?" She pointed up at our house and said: "This one. Right here. The pink one, with the white door. See." But the kid was still confused. I guess that salmon does not look pink to a toddler. He was likely looking for bubble gum pink, or possibly the raspberry, that our trim had been painted previously, probably before this kid was born. You see, our house was known as the Pink Palace -- the house that others used as a landmark, as in "we are two houses past the Pink Palace."

I thought about warning this mother that it wouldn't be the "pink house" much longer, but I didn't want to blow my cover behind the cedars. Plus, I wasn't sure when the painter was going to be available anyway. Who knows -- maybe we would be pink all summer.

When the snow melted this spring, I knew that it was finally time to get rid of the last of the pink. We had painted out the hideous trim two years ago, and now it was time to be rid of the less offensive salmon. We called College Pro painters, completely unsure how much it would cost. I would paint it myself but I'm afraid of heights. Anyway, the house is very narrow and it is only the front that needed painting, not the side or trim. The existing paint was in perfect condition -- no peeling or wear. Therefore there was no need for primer, just two coats of paint. So I didn't figure that it would cost too much.

One day our young College Pro Franchisee finally came over and after several long speeches from a perfectly memorized script and many measurements, he presented us with his written quotation, encased in some glossy corporate College Pro marketing crap. Seeing photos of students who look similar to Brad Pitt did not make me want to go with College Pro. Nor did the fact that he quoted us $800 plus GST for this job. We told him that it was higher than we'd expected, and that we'd look for other quotes before deciding.

Finally I remembered a friend of a friend who I had not seen for awhile who is a professional painter. Why not call him? But instead, I emailed him with a photo of the house and the fact that the house is only 13' wide. He replied that he'd "paint the pink" for about half of the other quote, and just fit it in when he had time. Sounded like a good deal.

A few weeks later, I arrived at work a bit early and checked my email. A new message arrived from my painter friend saying that this was the day. And when I rode up on my bike that night, the house was a new colour. Hooray! Bye bye salmon. Hello Nantucket Gray. The neighbours were full of compliments, and now finally I can hold my head high as I walk out the door. Who would have thought that half a day and 1 gallon of paint could make such a difference?