Believe me, the irony of where I was and with whom was not lost on me. The last time I'd been here was about 17 yrs. ago when I was dating my ex-husband. Now, I was here with Carol, his wife, and their almost two year-old son, J.
We were on a mission: find a coffee cup that looked good next to one I'd found the day before at Goodwill - a lime-green number with golden-yellow insides. The object was to find something in another color, but complementary. Different, but not too different.
J. was armed with two sticks (he loves to carry things in pairs) and we headed into Breed and Co., a now chi-chi home decor and old-timey hardware store combo. Used to be, David (my ex-) and I would wander up there on a lazy Sunday morning after first heading to Texas French Bread, where we'd down an entire, pillow-sized loaf of fresh Walnut-Raisin Bread.
Inside Breed, we wandered through the maze of aisles, amongst pricey place settings and bursts of color and ornate, sometimes funky designs. Nothing seemed to work - the cups were the wrong color-family (too pastel, too florescent), the wrong size (too small, too big, too fat, too skinny) or... the wrong price (sorry, but $35 for one cup is like driving down the highway at high speeds and throwing bills out the window just for fun). We were Goldilocks embodied. Just as were about to leave, we spotted the blue cup. Mottled, speckly, a warm, deep blue; wide, cartoonish brim. We set it next to the green cup on a fiery orange-red placemat. Voila! Perfection!
We walked out of the store happy and excited. Carol would paint them that weekend.
She sends me the jpeg by email, with foreshadowing in her words: uhhh, this didn't go so well. I'm not thrilled.
I study the picture....
Disappointment. The cups seem sad and morose, the whole picture is much darker than I imagined....
Now what do I do????? I cringe as I think about how to convey my reaction to Carol. I don't want to step on any toes, hurt any feelings -- I know what it's like to create something out of thin air and then get a tepid response. Eeek! How to handle this?
I review the picture again and see what I actually *do* like about it. There are several things that I can genuinely point out, and I do.
She agrees with my feedback, even the "negative" stuff, and I breathe a huge sigh of relief. We're on the same page! Whew!
That same day, she goes back to an antique store to buy a red pitcher that we're going halfsies on (we split the cost, she gets to paint the object, I get to keep it; it's a no-brainer) and spies the perfect cup. No, this time, the REAL perfect cup.... A saturated red, nice upstanding lines, I love it.
She tosses off another painting (how does she do this so easily) and THIS ONE I LOVE!
You'll see the end result above...
One more tricky situation successfully navigated. We get better and better at this all the time.