It was 5:10 a.m. when I laid down in bed.
Big A was supposed to be getting up at 6:00, and then waking me up at 7:00. We had arrived at this decision when she'd awoken at 4:15 and found me still painting.
Except I woke up at 7:32. I ran to Big A's room, where she was blissfully unaware that she'd reversed her a.m. and p.m. settings on her clock. The rush out the door was ugly, but I did remember to grab the paint can.
When I walked through the door of the hardware store, the paint kid, whom from here on out I shall call Bill/Ted, was working.
"Oh, dude! I told my manager you'd totally be back!"
"Yeah, turns out that you still have to do the primer-thing, but then it will only take one coat of paint after that. I totally got it wrong."
"Right. It was more like five coats--"
I was interrupted by the sound of him "shaaa-ing" and smacking his head.
"Yeah--I was like, oh, man, I totally told this lady that it would only take one coat and she was all, are you sure because I've never heard that before and usually dark paint needs primer and I was like, yeah, it's guaranteed and stuff and she was like, so I can get my money back if it takes more than one coat and I--"
"Please quit talking."
I'm not sure who was more surprised that those words came out of my mouth, him or me. I'm going to go ahead and blame it on the time change on Saturday, not sleeping on Sunday and the exposure to paint fumes.
We stood there for an awkward second.
"Is your manager here?"
"Yeah. I'll go get him." He started walking away when he turned to me and said, "But he totally said he is not refunding your money."
"I'm totally sure he did." To which Bill/Ted gave me a thumbs up; apparently mistaking my sarcasm for an act of unity.
I tilted my head to the side to get a view of the two talking. Bill/Ted made what appeared to be a circular motion with his pointer finger by his head, which, to the manager's credit, he did have the wherewithal to slap away.
I waved and smiled at the manager, as though to signal, "Yes, I am probably as crazy as he is saying, and you will be coming to talk to me and give me my money back."
The manager smoothed back his hair and began walking towards me, Bill/Ted in tow. He had probably been quite the lady killer back in the day, and had the potential to still pull off some excellent moves while masqueraded by the smoky atmosphere and dim lighting in a bar. However, it was Monday, and the lights were florescent, and I was freaking out that maybe I had drool on my face from my solid two hours of sleep and that it would be hard to taken seriously were that indeed the case.
"So, I hear we had a little mix-up."
"If by mix-up you mean that I was told that this was guaranteed to cover in one coat and I bought it and then stayed up until 5:00 this morning applying coat after coat, then yes, I guess you could say that 'we' had a mix-up".
"Right. Well, I think Bill/Ted told you what happened--that paint is actually guaranteed to cover in one coat without first using a primer."
I just stared at him.
"I guess what I could do is go ahead and refund you the $12 extra that you paid for that gallon."
As soon as he said those words, the telepathic conversation between he and I went like this:
HE: I should not have said that.
I: No, you should not have.
HE: You are going to kill me.
I: Your sense of perception is far greater than I would have given you credit for.
HE: Yeah, I've got six ex-wives, so I have a real good sense of imminent physical danger.
I: Your vocabulary is also much better than I'd have expected.
HE: Wife Three. Professor. Wanted to marry a bad boy, but then couldn't handle it.
I: Right. Okay, where were we? Oh, yes, I am going to kill you.
HE: Will you make it fast and merciful?
I: As fast as my painting project last night.
Then, out loud, he proclaimed that he had an idea. Bill/Ted glanced up at him, eager to hear what he had to say. I could pretty much envision the manager telling Bill/Ted that he wasn't about to refund some lady for a gallon of paint, etc, and I think that is what fueled Bill/Ted's great interest in the upcoming proclamation of his manger.
"I know you probably don't want to think about this, but you're probably going to need to paint some other things, right?"
I nodded my head.
"How about a gift certificate for two cans of paint and some brushes?"
At that moment, what I really wanted was Bill/Ted to come to my home and apply five coats of paint to a wall without sleep, but the thought of all of Big A's Cheetos coming up missing stopped that little fantasy.
"Throw in a can of primer, and you have a deal," I said.
"Done." He reached his hand out and shook my navy-blue coated palms.
Then he turned to get the certificate and gave Bill/Ted a wink, as though to say, "And that is how you handle the ladies." Bill/Ted nodded his head.
Truth is, by that time, I'd calmed down and the fumes had worn off and I reminded myself that I had a house with walls to paint, and that within those walls live people that I love more than life itself.
I've got it good.
And I've also got it in any available color that I desire, with primer and brushes to boot.