My dad is very Blue. Growing up, we learned that there was a proper way to do things. There is a proper way to load a dishwasher…and wash a car…and tackle a painting project. As much as I love color (and hate plain white walls) I dislike painting. This week I realized that my dislike of painting is rooted in personality differences. Let me explain.

While I was speaking in Canada last week, my husband took the opportunity to empty everything out of our office, paint the walls, and install new flooring. It was a huge project, and long over-due. I am very grateful for all the work he put in to making it happen. My husband is a Green/Yellow, and an artist by trade. The walls in my office are now orange and purple. Probably not what I would have chosen, but the color scheme is growing on me. It is fun and different, which appeals to my Yellow side. But it isn’t very practical…says my Red self. Arriving home in the middle of this project was a wee bit stressful too.

My dad, the Blue, taught me that there was indeed a proper way to paint. It involved proper tools, proper preparation, pre-cleaning the surface, tarping and taping everything, lots of tape, applying primer, and having a “paint rag” handy at all times. There were rules about how far into the paint you could dip your brush. There were rules about which area of the room was painted first. There were rules about proper application techniques. There was a system. Being half Red, I could embrace a lot of these rules in the name of efficiency. But mostly, these things were drilled into me and fall into the category of what I call “learned skills.”

This picture perfect painting process that I had witnessed as a child, wasn’t really the reality that I came home last week. I can accept that my Green husband started this project while I was gone because doing it alone was actually going to be easier than having me around telling him that he should be doing it differently. That’s just a part of our reality…and reflects some of my weaknesses that I’m still working on. The added chaos actually came from my independent teenage daughter (also very Red) who decided, in the name of efficiency, that she should paint her bedroom at the same time. I’m sure it had nothing to do with the fact that I was out of the country and not there to remind her that I had specifically asked her to wait until school was over to begin said project so she wasn’t sleeping in the front room when she was supposed to be finishing projects and getting ready for final exams.

But, there is color on walls there were once white. My husband installed beautiful new flooring in the office. My daughter has more pride in her room having invested so much in painting it herself. And her dresser has been moved to cover the big teal paint stain on her carpet. Now if only us Yellows could focus long enough to get everything out of the living room and back where it belongs.

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