Last Saturday, Erin and I went to Cleveland in their van to pick up the top part of our new entertainment center. Johnnie and I had attempted to get it three weeks ago but the trailer we rented was too small (by inches) and the top was dropped and damaged in the process of trying to wedge it into the trailer.
So Erin and I went this past weekend. By.Ourselves. No kids, no husbands. Just the two of us. Four hours there and four hours back. In between, a quick lunch with Ferd and Mare and a visit to the hallowed halls of Marc's, conveniently located in the same strip mall as the furniture store from which we needed to retrieve the top. Mike stayed home with their daughters. Johnnie stayed home to grout the floor tile in the bathroom we've been working on since February.
Got a call from Johnnie at about 10:30am. He's at Lowe's trying to decide on grout colors. (Sidebar: we had already bought a bag of too-dark grout, returned it and bought a second bag of grout in a lighter shade of gray earlier this week.) Huh??? The debate ensued with me not having any grout color chips to use as reference. (Sidebar #2:This is all complicated by the fact that Johnnie is red-green color blind. So anything red looks kinda brown and greens look kinda grayish. He's taught himself to almost unerringly know what the real color is he's looking at but sometimes he second guesses himself and needs help. That's my job.) We had already picked out a grout color and me -- the one who sees colors just fine, thanks -- said it was the right color. Whatever.
Seven minutes one second later I'm off the phone after assuring him that whatever color grout he got would be just fine with me. I trusted him, yadda yadda yadda. And I truly do trust him. Even if he doesn't always trust himself.
Erin: "Y'know, whatever he picks, you've gotta tell him you hate it, right?"
Me: "Yeah, I probably should. That would freak him out."
Erin: mischevious giggle and we resume talking nonstop all the way to Cleveland.
11:37 the phone rings again and it's Johnnie. He's ***still*** debating the grout color and he's still at Lowe's. OMG. He's settled on Smoke Gray, it looks like the right shade, and on and on. Six minutes 41 seconds later, I've assured him again.and.again. that the grout color sounds fine and don't worry.
Erin, smirking: "You totally have to tell him you don't like it."
Me: "Yeah, I'll do it."
We get to Cleveland, pick up the top, have lunch with Ferd and Mare, visit Marc's (it was kind of a let down for both of us, anticlimactic actually), gas up and we're back on the road. Erin sleeps from Cleveland to the Pennsylvania-New York border, then she awakens and we commence talking again, almost nonstop back to Rochester. We've spoken to Johnnie a couple more times and the grout is in and looks good, according to him.
Me: "Let's both go up and look at the grout and tell Dad that it looks kinda green."
Erin: "Oh yeah - if we both do it, without looking at each other, he'll really buy it."
Me: "Especially if we tell him it looks green since he doesn't see green well anyway. Yeah, let's do it!"
We get to our house and eventually go upstairs to look at the grout. Erin leading the parade, followed by me and then Johnnie.
Erin,turning on lights then looking at the floor: "Dad, it looks good but ... it looks kinda green ..."
Me, coming into the room: "Hmmmmm. Wow - it looks great, honey, but ... there is a sort of green tinge to it ..."
Johnnie, peering over our shoulders, seeming calm but a bit anxious around the eyes: "Really? No, I got Smoke Gray so it can't be green!"
Johnnie retrieves a plastic pail of grout to show us: "See? It's Smoke Gray. That's what I got. It was lighter when I put it down and it's gotten a bit darker as it's dried."
Me: "Don't know what to tell you sweetie but it looks green to me. What can we do?"
Erin: "Can you scrape it out?"
Johnnie, now looking tense and a bit frantic: "No! I can't scrape it out - it's in there. There's nothing I can do about it. It's Smoke Gray, honest."
Me: "Do they have colors we can put over the top of it?"
Johnnie, seeming more concerned now: "I don't think so."
Me: "Well, I guess we'll have to change the wall color so the blue doesn't clash with the greenish color of the grout. It's kinda lime-y or something like that. (pause) You really can't see it?"
Johnnie: "No - I only see gray. Well it looked a little more aqua when I was putting it in but all I see now is gray."
We finally couldn't stand it any longer and started cracking up.
Me: "Nah, we're just kidding. It looks great and it's just fine. There's no greenishness to it. We're just sh**tting you!"
Erin: "Yeah, pretty funny, huh?"
Johnnie: "NO! It's not funny! You really had me scared. My heart is racing and the adrenaline is pumping. Oh my Lord! How could you do that to me?!?"
Erin and I were falling all over each other, cracking up. Johnnie was trying to calm himself down with little success. We three went to one of our favorite places for dinner and kept chortling (well, two of us chortled) from time to time about pulling the wool so firmly over Johnnie's eyes.
He still doesn't think it's funny, even two days later. He called his brother Ferd yesterday (Monday) and related the prank to him. Ferd found it completely amusing and laughed quite hard at Johnnie's retelling of it.
Normally I am not on the giving end of any type of pranks - I just don't think that quickly and usually don't have the opportunity to really cook one up. However, with our eight hours in the car together and a willing accomplice, we did a great job. This one will live in infamy within the family for a long time.