All the Colors

This is the story of how my new shed became pink. It is not a short story. It really happened.

Let me start by saying that I like pink about as much as the next dad.  Precisely…not too much.  I mean, for most things, like basketball jerseys or cars or ties or slips, pink is out.  But then sometimes, pink is in, like in basketball, and then there’s not much else to say.

We had to get a new shed to store all of the gear that used to be in the entry room on the back side of our house.  We had all sorts of things in there.  Motor oil, catcher’s equipment, a set of hand weights, a bunch of half-used cans of Benjamin Moore sateen interior paint, Samson’s kibbles, two or three bicycles and big wheels, and whatever other stuff was not in the car or the house.

We got a lot of stuff.  Most of it was in that room

Then we redid our kitchen, and that slab of concrete became the foundation for our new sun-filled eating area. This was better.  Except, now we had no place to put our stuff. I have a shed, already, but it’s full of grass seed, lawnmowers, screwdrivers, and various semi-lethal insecticides. Also, several mixes of gasoline.  So, not the place for children to store their things.

We bought a new shed.  It is a nice shed.  It is 12 feet long and 9 feet tall.  It is about 8 feet wide. It has a shelf running along one side, and two in the rear.  It holds all of that stuff.  Now it holds more stuff, including my worm farm.

If you paint it, they give you a free warranty.  I had a vision for it, a color scheme rooted in the multiple-shaded bungalows that adorn our neighborhood. Something that matches with the magnolia tree right next to it. I was imagining a sandy hue, with a rust red for the door and perhaps a un-saturated yellow for the molding.

But a four-year old had a different idea.  At least, that was what I found out when Susie called and gave Rosie the phone.

“Pink,” she said, in a perfect dead pan. “And purple.”

That was all she said.

I played it dumb.  Easy job.  “Pink and purple for what, Rosie?  For pajamas? For cotton-candy?”

“Daddy, paint the shed pink and purple.  I want it pink and purple.”


Well, time passed.  I put on some light primer.  I guess that gave me plenty of options. But there was no resolution.

More time passed.  I asked Rosie again.  Her response was simple, direct, maybe somewhat monotone:

“Pink and purple.”

That was it.  But, I don’t mind a delay.  We took two years to redo our kitchen.  Time did not erase anyone’s initial stance.

The new color of my shed.

The new color of my shed.

Except that I found that my eyes were wandering.  Like any middle age guy, my eye was wandering to real estate that I don’t own. And it came in a variety of subtle hues.  None were pink and purple, although at least a few did include some periwinkles or grape shade.

This weekend the crew went to Salisbury. It was too cold to go on a long ride. And there was the shed. I thought some more, and I thought about the sun-bleached homes along the coast, in Charleston and the Cape, or in Portugal.  A lot of them have pink, albeit a very washed out pink that is powered by its contrast against an ivory pure white.

So, I went to Home Depot and bought some victorian pearl, satin enamel exterior. It was fast.

I did it. I painted my shed pink.  No runs, no drips, no errors.  The molding still needs to be done, and so does the door, but there is no turning back now.

The next day, we take separate cars back from church.  Susie got there well before me.  She parked in the back.  As I understand it, Rosie and John got out to examine the shed. Again, its a light color, and the primer is somewhat greyish, so there is not a lot of “pop” in the pink yet.

“Its not pink,” says John, “its white!”

Rosie is looking at the shed, but not quite.  She swivels her neck to look, but holds back.  Could it really be pink?  How did that happen.

I arrive a few minutes later.  Rosie is now standing on the concrete court, near the back door.  She seems, well, muted.  I am expecting an exultation, a sound of joy. In my mind, there is a scene where she runs across the court, arms open, saying “thanks! It is pink! You are the best daddy, ever.”

But again, reality doesn’t square.  She pivots on one foot and does some sort of half-pleit. Hmm.

“So, Rosie,” I implore, all sense of moment having been lost, “any reaction on that shed?”

“Where is the purple?” she says.

“Er, its coming.”

So, I guess I have some mixed reactions on the state of my shed.  As much as anything, I realize that I am hopelessly ready to be manipulated by the opportunity to witness the joy of a child.  Its a powerful force.  Love rules.

At dinner, Rosie has more to say.

“If Hannah sees the shed,” she says, “she won’t like it.  But if it is pink and purple, she will love it.  I sure hope she loves it.  Pink and purple are her favorite.”

“Rosie,” I respond.  “Are not pink and purple your favorite, too?”

“No,” she says.  “I like all the colors in the world.”  She giggles.  Then, she stands up in her chair, puts her hands on her rosy cheeks, and makes a smile with gritted teeth.  “I like every color the same.”

“Daddy,” she adds, “can you go downstairs and get us a trash bag?”

I am a little down now.  John reaches over and puts his arm around my shoulder.  He pushes his lips together, nods, and says nothing.  His eyes communicate sympathy.

“Rosie, hmmph.   I painted the shed pink.  You get the trash bag.”

Susie points out that its really just basic Mars and Venus.  Painting the shed is one point.  Reading a story is one point.  Letting her have a chip on the way out the door, oh, that’s one point.  I remember Mars and Venus.  The frustrating thing about Venutians is that they don’t let you bank any points.

Nonetheless, she gives me a very tight hug at bed time.

“Thanks for painting the shed pink,” she says.


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