We try to speak 'paint language'

The unemployed poets of the world have found a niche in the paint industry. Simply look at the names of paint on any brand's color palette.

We discovered this after, having off-loaded our son at his first college apartment, my husband and I lost no time reclaiming our space.

I was determined to not be like our neighbors. At the expense of garage parking, they stored their daughter's belongings for 20 years. That wouldn't work for me. We limited our son's storage space to a few boxes and sent the rest off to his new apartment with a "do not bring it back home" order.

His bedroom was to be our new "home theater."

Departing from our generally cautious buying patterns, we splurged on a TV taller than I am, couch-potato chairs with matching couch, and fresh wall-to-wall carpet. For the walls, we merely needed to select a paint color to tie the room together.

Unfortunately, paint choices are so numerous that it's difficult to make a selection. If we opted for yellow tones, we could choose from Golden Summer Straw, Wispy Lemon Chiffon, Joyous Enlightened Outlook, or Prairie Mom's Love.

If we wanted pink tones, our selections included airy Cotton Candy, Betty Grable's Lipstick, Raspberry Lemon Tart, and Topiary Dahlia Blossoms. If we reverted back to the ever-popular neutral tones, we could select Franciscan Friar's Robe, Braided Raffia Bows, Bohemian Allspice Bouquet, or Swiss Mocha Cappuccino.

Thankfully, the colors were adjacent to the names for the sake of clueless customers such as me who had skipped Poetry 101. A "painting associate" approached to help me through the kaleidoscopic maze. "What room are you decorating?" she asked. "What color is the furniture? What color is the rug?"

This helpful salesclerk had good questions. And I wanted to respond in a language she would understand, paint language. But I am an old-movie lover, not a poet.

"We are putting together a small home theater," I said. "Our furniture is a 'Gorillas-in-the-Mist' brown; the carpet will be a 'Lawrence-of-Arabia' sandstorm color with accent specks of 'Saving-Private-Ryan' tan. So far we have decided against 'On-Golden-Pond' yellows."

Finally, I asked: "Do you have a 'Dances With' ... salmon?"

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