Monday, August 6, 2012

Paint the Whole Vhite

My father liked to tell me funny stories when I was a kid. One was about a house painter named Mr. Senior, which I always thought was an odd name. I would imagine he had a son who was called Mr. Senior, Jr., which would make the father Mr. Senior, Sr. When I learned señor meant mister in Spanish, off I went. 'I'd like you to meet father and son, Señor Senior, Sr. and Señor Senior, Jr.' (My father enjoyed some of my mental wanderings and would usually join in or even be the instigator; my sister Dale would groan, "just shut up already"; Jerry begs me to "please stop" (he'd say "shut up" but he never uses that expression.) 

DALE, OUR FATHER, ME, AND FOUR OF OUR COUSINS.
BELMONT PARK, LONG ISLAND, 1956.

One of these days, I'll have to tell you about Doody's Farm Fresh Eggs in Branford, Connecticut — and Judy and Rudy Doody and the rest of the Doody family. But, I might have to hide that post from Jerry. I just about drove him over the edge with that one (he threatened to stop the car and make me walk home).

BACK TO TODAY'S STORY
Mr. Senior was a Jewish man originally from Eastern Europe. He painted houses and apartments in Brownsville, Brooklyn, in the '20s and '30s. One day, Mr. Senior was hired by Mrs. Krupnick to do some painting. She was also from somewhere in Eastern Europe. She gave him instructions in her heavily accented English and left Mr. Senior to do his work. When she got home she discovered that Mr. Senior had painted the entire apartment white. Mrs. Krupnick was furious.  
"But, vot did joo do?" she wailed. 
"Vot do you mean, vot did I do? Just like you tole me, I paint de houz," he replied. 
"But I din't vont you should paint de whole house!" she stormed. 
He looked at her and said, perplexed, "But Mrs. Krupnick, votta you talking gabout? You tole me, 'paint de whole vhite.' So I did." 
She said, "I din't mean paint de WHOLE vhite. I meant paint de WHOLE vhite. Just de WHOLE! De von to de bedrooms!" 
 Mr. Senior simply scratched his head.
NOTE: In Yiddish-American English, "hall" was pronounced "hole."

I always thought it was a funny joke and I loved the way my father did the accent. Then, when I was 10, we moved from Long Island to Brooklyn. It was a brand-new co-op and, coincidentally, a few people my parents knew from their childhoods in Brooklyn had also moved in. One day, when I was out for a walk with my father, we bumped into a little old man (thinking about it now, he was probably approaching 60!). My father,who was in his late 30s at the time, proudly introduced me to the man, saying, "This is Mr. Senior." I looked up in obvious surprise. Mr. Senior smiled at me and said knowingly, "De painter vas my older bruddah. He says it din't heppin like dat."

VEE PAINTED DE WHOLE TERRA COTTA, BUT JUST DE WHOLE.

In any case, our friend Miguel was here all last week to paint. And, although my Spanish may have confused him a few times, thankfully, he didn't paint the whole white. We love having color on the walls. White and off-white are beautiful, but they just don't fit our personalities. (Maybe we need something loud to drown out the noise in our heads.)

THROUGH THE ALCOVE AND BEYOND.

PAPIRO (PAPYRUS) AND ALBERO AMARILLO (MY NAMES FOR OUR COLORS).
IN MY NEXT LIFE, I'M GOING TO NAME PAINT COLORS FOR A LIVING.

ONE WALL OF THE DINING ROOM IS MORE BROWN AND LESS GOLD.
(TOO SUBTLE AND TOO DARK, SO WE SWITCHED TO PARCHMENT FOR THE REST.)

We had Miguel paint the "salon" (living room and dining room), the large alcove off the salon, the entry, and the kitchen (just a touch up there). We chose colors that sang to us and, not surprisingly, ended up with very Spanish/Sevillano colors. The gold on the walls is a dark version of "albero amarillo," the famed golden sand color of Southern Spain. The entrada (entry hall) is a rich terra cotta, like the tile roofs and much of the stucco in the city. We ended up choosing a parchment color for some of the walls in the living room and alcove, and a medium cork color for one wall in the dining room. We may have a bit in common with Mrs. Krupnick, however. The "hole" — the von to the bedrooms — is still vhite.

MOOSE AND DUDO, LOCKED IN THE "HOLE" AND BEDROOMS... AND NOT HAPPY ABOUT IT.
MIGUEL WAS PAINTING THE WOODWORK ON THE OTHER SIDE OF THE DOOR.

32 comments:

  1. You leeve een dees place? Ver are de books, newspapers, and all de trappings of livink?

    Who knows what accent that could be. But seriously, it's beautiful. I know, all the papers and books are under the sofa. :)

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    Replies
    1. Walt the Fourth:
      You think I'm going to share pictures of the mess? Actually, though, remember we did a major down-sizing a year ago. We've got some books in the bedrooms and a bookcase in Jerry's office and in "de whole" to the bedrooms. No newspapers (Kindle). AND... we just painted... which means, we just put everything back where it belonged, and cleaned and washed. A perfect time for pictures!

      Delete
  2. LOL, your story is priceless and the accent came through brilliantly.... I LOVE the color, omg. I have been looking for a gold for my living room, that could be perfect...

    have a great one Mr B :)

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    Replies
    1. Monkey Man:
      I was worried no one would know what Mr. Senior was saying. My father had to explain "the whole" to me the first time he told the story.

      If you want real gold, check out Ralph Lauren's metallic colors. We used them in Santa Barbara and they were wonderful.

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  3. What a gorgeous place! I'd be living there for a Looooong time after putting all that work into it!!! As much as I enjoyed seeing your abode, the kitty shot at the end was the best. Those guys just crack me up... they KNOW something is going on just the other side of the door... how DARE you not let them check it out?

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    1. The Odd Essay:
      Fortunately, Miguel did all the work, which means I guess we can mean whenever we want! Dudo and Moose are so entertaining. I have so many funny, cute, and/or entertaining photos, I could create a separate blog just for them.

      Delete
  4. So funny...poor Jerry...oh well....colour is very important...our boudoir is a butterscotch tone...too much info...nah...we love the warmth of the tones!

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    1. Ron:
      I love the color of butterscotch... and the taste.

      Delete
  5. Those colors work beautifully there. And if I ever move to Spain, you can help me out picking some paint. Deal?
    m.
    p.s. Those cats remind me of those twin girl from The Shinning.

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    1. Mark:
      Now that you mention, that shot of the cats is a little unsettling!

      Thanks for the compliments re the colors. Not as easy to select paint colors here. They don't waste paper by letting everyone help themselves to color sample chips and there aren't hundreds of cans of pre-mixed colors on the shelves. You look at the pantone samples at the paint store and select your color or, as we did, you bring in a sample and have them match it. For the gold and brown, I brought in a needlepoint pillow from our living room. For the terra cotta, I mixed colors in Photoshop and then printed a sample. For the parchment, I brought in an envelope!

      Delete
  6. I love these colors! So much life to them...And I love the concept of loud colors to drown out the noise in your heads...Should I try this? Would it work...Nah, I think it's just back to some Buddhist meditation for me. I need to find someone to hire to take down the wallpaper from the 80s!

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    1. Kristi:
      After justifying the use of loud colors, I have to admit they haven't stopped the noise in our heads. Meditation is a much better idea. But the colors are still fun.

      Ugh! Outdated wallpaper! Our house in Connecticut was filled with bad American Colonial patterns (from the 1960s and '70s). What a nightmare to remove! I would hate to have to do THAT again.

      Delete
  7. I must say that the place looks awesome...colors are like profanity...they impart a little flavor in the otherwise bland subject. Pastels are ok but just like you, I am too bombastic, too outrageously outspoken to be surrounded by muted colors.
    great place you got there Mitch.

    saludos,
    raulito

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Raulito:
      Thanks. We really do love those place and were very lucky to have found it. Yeah, I can't imagine you surrounded by pastels!

      Delete
  8. Love it! The colors are fantastic and the way the ceiling detail becomes more visible now is just stunning!!

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    1. Bob:
      The ceiling is amazing and we really wanted to make it pop. Thanks so much!

      Delete
  9. You must have an amazingly understanding landlord to let you paint all the walls. They do look good by the way.

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    Replies
    1. Archguy:
      We have a great situation here. Very fortunate ... and very grateful. Thanks!

      Delete
  10. Your home is beautiful and I love the color choices.

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    1. Stephen:
      Thanks. After a year, we still really love this place. We had no idea how lucky we were when we found it last year. The color makes it feel like us!

      Delete
  11. I loved your "crossed-accents" story. It reminded me an elderly woman I once met who immigrated from Germany to Brooklyn before coming to Minnesota. Her German-Brooklyn accent was priceless! The two boys sometimes seem like clones. They are so funny in the way they copy each other's behavior.

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    1. Ms. Sparrow:
      Yes, Dudo and Moose; me and my shadow. But we never know who is going to be "me" and who is going to be "my shadow"!

      Accents can be so entertaining. I can only imagine what people say about mine here in Spain!

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  12. Mitch, you crack me up!!! I could listen to you ALL DAY!!! Just like Jerry!!! lol
    LOVE the colours you chose, they are lively and vibrant....just like you two!
    That last photo of the cats is priceless.

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    Replies
    1. Love the new colors on the walls - beautiful!

      But I have to ask (sorry Jerry) - was that the same Doody family that owned Doody's hardware in Sheepshead Bay? Also - there was a girl who went to Shellbank Jr. High and Sheepshead Bay HS named Rosemary Doody.........

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    2. Jim:
      I'm so glad SOMEONE could listen to me all day. I sure couldn't! I had a couple of other shots of the cats looking adorably miserable during the week of painting. I'll save those for another day (or four)!

      Delete
    3. Carole:
      I didn't ask Mrs. Doody of Doody's Farm Fresh Eggs if she was any relation to Doody's Hardware (because Judy Doody was a bit snooty?)... Jerry will groan out loud when he reads this! As for Rosemary Doody... not a very good use of the last name!

      Delete
  13. Oh, it's all so good! The accent! The story! The gorgeous colors! The apartment! The furniture! Dudo and Moose! and even Walt's accent :))) I loved it all!
    Judy

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    1. Judeet:
      Aw, thanks! We are so happy! I also was very impressed with Walt's accent!

      Delete
  14. Is Mr Senior also who painted the vhole town red?

    BTW, love the colors, the one in the hall/hole is a nice contrast to the toecan painting.

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    Replies
    1. Peter:
      Mr. Senior didn't sound like the type to paint the town red!

      Glad you like the colors. We were thrilled when we saw how much more powerful that bird print became with the newly painted wall. It was kind of lost and out of place on the white wall.

      Delete
  15. Love the new paint! Your piso looks big and beautiful! :)

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