I have a small Toronto home. There is a family (mine) that lives in this home which includes 2 dogs and 2 + 1 + 1 kids. In case you are wondering about the number of kids – here is the “new math” explanation: 2 kids are living at home presently + 1 kid who is currently in Africa + 1 more (god)kid who is with us temporarily til she can move into her first apartment.

Every year at this time, I put together a list of projects that I want to try and tackle. This list varies from year to year but this year included re-doing my “sun porch.” In a moment of inspiration I thought it would be great to have the room painted. I have this idea in the back of my mind wherein the sunporch is transformed into a small sanctuary of sorts where I can come and sip flavoured coffee and read the paper in some sort of fluid yet flattering lounging pyjamas. Of course they keep forgettting to deliver the papers and I am not all that crazy about flavoured coffees – and there is no such thing as fluid AND flattering lounging pyjamas – but one hill to climb at a time. Painting this teensy room is today’s hill.

I was walking through a local shopping mall last week with my Mom and we came across a booth in the center advertising painting services for $189 per room (with some restrictions and exceptions.) Perfect! I approached the woman in the booth about the special and she said that it could all be explained to me at an in-home “consultation”. In a moment of lunacy and clearly against my better judgement, I agreed to an appointment.

Promptly at 10am on Monday the estimator arrived, or as I like to call him the P-estimator (or P-Esty for short). He took a cursory glance at my sun porch and commented on the 4 windows, screen door, french doors and front door – all in a room that is probably 7 by 9 feet. In other words, not a lot of wall and therefore not a lot of painting.

So P-esty asked me if there was anything else and I thought since he was here why not have him take a look at the rest of the main floor. His first mistake was walking into my family room and commenting that “with a room this small you should never use a dark colour” – my back went up a little. First of all my family room is the “big” room in my house AND I really love the warm golden yellow colour on the walls. He started to flip through his stack of colours to show me what should be on the walls and as he headed to the whites and off-whites, I said in a way that was reminicent of the most petulant three-year old “I LIKE COLOUR!”

He realized he may have stepped in “it” and said “well if you want to live this way….”

So, then came the moment of truth: “I don’t even need to measure the sun porch to estimate.” I said “Great” He said: “It would cost $1,400.” I said :”WHAT???!!” He looked surprised (not as much as I was I can assure you.) He said: “More than you thought?” “Um…well . YES…only because your flyer said $189!!!” He said “Oh”

I wonder what the exceptions were – was it that mine is a house for humans and not dolls?

Truth be told, P-Esty did me a favour. With the $1,400 I saved – I may be able to make the French Riviera yet.

In the meantime – if you feel like painting – lie down til the feeling goes away.

The solution to my sun porch problem came in a gin and tonic, a new throw rug and a couple of toss cushions.

It looks like a brand new room – especially when you walk through it quickly!