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Lake County

Off the Deep End: My patio set was 50 shades of green

After avocado-green shag carpeting left my life in the 80s, I swore off green altogether. I wouldn’t buy kiwis, granny smith apples or Bartlett pears, let alone a green throw pillow.

Then, we bought our house that backs into the woods. I didn’t want to interfere with Mother Nature, so I reluctantly allowed green on the deck. Perhaps our glass table with tacky, green-striped chairs and a matching umbrella had more of a circus theme and less of a nature motif, but it didn’t clash (color-wise) with its surroundings.

The deck, directly off our kitchen, is 12 steps up from the yard. One day, a few years back, I came home to find the umbrella, chairs and table missing. I discovered them in the yard – the table was upside-down. Apparently, a freak wind hit our area and launched the umbrella (left open by an idiot – me), glass table and the chairs over the railing.

The table was, against all odds, in perfect condition. The umbrella – not so much. The chairs were good enough if you didn’t value life too highly.

All we had to purchase was a green umbrella. We found a higher quality plain one and matching stand, sturdier items that wouldn’t act as projectiles. We still had the striped chairs, but I was again one with nature, and a little less with the Ringling Bros.

By this spring, nearly our 14th year in the house, we realized three of the chairs could conceivably be cited in lawsuits filed by those who might fall through them. We found squirrels mating on the table. Only the umbrella and stand were good enough to keep. You see where this left us — we had to buy something that matched the umbrella.

My husband, sick of staining the deck, concluded we should also buy an outdoor rug to put under the new furniture we chose. In this year of bright color, we bought a mind-numbing tan table and chairs because green patio items are now typically lime, a shade better suited for fruit. I suggested the rug should have some "oomph" to it, but again, we had to take the umbrella’s color into consideration.

We had the table set and rug delivered. My husband placed the sage-green carpet on the deck and spent several hours putting together the furniture. Voila! The tan set looked much less mind-numbing on the sage rug. He then took the old umbrella out of storage. Oy. That old green thing and the new, sage-green rug went together about as well as Donald Trump’s hair and wind.

We visited every home store to find the perfect green. I lost count of all the 9-foot umbrellas we crammed in our sedan since we couldn’t carry the rug with us. I had smartphone photos, but their color quality was iffy. That’s how I brought home an umbrella in a shade called gingko, which I’d never thought was a color, but rather something medicinal. Gingko matched the darn photo, though it was nothing like the actual rug.

There was only one thing to do. We purchased a tan umbrella to match the table and chairs. It does not clash with the rug, nor does it interfere with Mother Nature. And that, finally, was that.

To paraphrase Kermit the Frog: It’s not easy buying green.

Judi Veoukas, an award-winning columnist, writes from her home in Lake County. Contact her at

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