Why Yes, We Do Fight Over Towel Bars

Occasionally we get comments like “I don’t know how you spend all day together without fighting.” While I appreciate the assumption that we have some flawless, all-smiles marriage – we fight. We get upset with each other… and Clara… and even Burger. I’m not saying we have Real Housewives-worthy throwdowns (our table flipping count is still at zero) but like any normal couple we argue. Sometimes in a healthy, I-fight-because-I-care way. Sometimes in a probably less-than-healthy Sherry yells and I give her the silent treatment way. But the point is – yes, we fight (skip to about 11:45 on this old blogiversary Q&A video for a brief mention on the subject).

As upfront as we’re willing to be about the fact that we argue, we try not to air the specifics of our dirty laundry. And that’s not just to you guys here in blog land, we make a conscious decision not to gossip to our friends or family about what’s frustrating us about the other person. It’s not that we’re trying to “keep up appearances”, we just don’t want to complicate our messes by entangling others in them. And we’re usually over things pretty quickly (there’s always another project to do or post to write) so I don’t want my venting to discolor someone else’s opinion of my loving and beautiful wife – because, at the end of the day, that’s how I see her.

Today, however, we’re putting that aside momentarily to indulge you with the story of a home-improvement related fight that we had a little while back (jackpot: it’s actually sort of related to DIY/house stuff, so since we can laugh about it now, we thought it was worth sharing). And yes, it was over a bathroom shelf. Specifically, the one on the left of this old picture:

Let’s rewind to this post about painting our master bath, which involved removing a glass shelf and towel bar on the wall first (we inherited them with the house when we bought it a year and a half ago). When they came down, both went into a box on our bathroom sink to be dealt with later. “To be dealt with later” were not the actual words we used. The actual words are actually the source of the argument. Sherry’s version of the transcript includes her saying “Don’t donate these, I want to craigslist the towel bar because it’s from Restoration Hardware and I might want to reuse the shelf by hanging it in the bath for our shampoo and stuff.” My version of the transcript is pretty much blank as I don’t really remember anything being said at all.

Fast forward a few days. The room is painted. Art is hung. The un-dealt-with shelves are still taking up space next to our bathroom sink.

One evening I get the “I’m fed up with this clutter around the house” bug and I go on a brief but intense cleaning spree while Sherry readies the post for the next morning. In other words: she’s sitting in the office glued to the laptop and isn’t paying any attention to what I’m up to. My spree includes loading a bag full of old clothes, the old bathroom light fixture and – here’s the beginning of my crime – the old shelf and towel bars into the car so that I can drop them off at Goodwill. I didn’t bother to tell Sherry more than “I’m gonna run a bunch of errands” as Clara and I headed out the door the next morning.

Skip ahead to that afternoon (yes, literally that very afternoon) and this conversation happens:

SHERRY: Oh hey, I was thinking over Clara’s nap we should swap out the towel bar in the shower for that old shelf we took down. That way we can actually put our shampoo and stuff on a shelf.

JOHN: Wait, what old shelf?

SHERRY: The one that used to be on the wall. It was sitting by the sink in our bedroom the last time I saw it.

JOHN: You mean the one I donated this morning?

SHERRY: You WHAT?! John! I said I wanted to Craigslist the towel bar and possibly reuse that shelf!

JOHN: Sorry, I figured they’d just been sitting there making a mess so I’d help take care of them.

SHERRY: Why didn’t you tell me?? You snuck out without a word about it! I could have stopped you and explained if you just told me what you were doing!

JOHN: Am I supposed to tell you every errand that I run?

You can probably guess where this was headed. Sherry got increasingly frustrated with me. I grew more and more indignant. Sherry informed me that I had “ruined her plan” for adding a free shelf to our shower. I couldn’t believe I “was being yelled at for cleaning” and Sherry was angry that I had also “donated a $75 Restoration Hardware towel bar” that she could’ve craigslisted for at least ten bucks. I threatened that if she didn’t like me voluntarily running errands while watching Clara, then “maybe I just wouldn’t do it anymore.” Mature, I know.

I knew I had messed up, but I wanted credit for my good intentions. I also wanted to make it right. Which is why I sped over to the scene of the crime (Goodwill) and kindly begged for them to dig out the bag I had donated that morning.

No dice. It was gone-zo. But they did sympathize with my husband-in-the-doghouse story and politely took my number and a description of the item. But now several silent weeks later, we’re considering it a lost cause. Hence the Plan B suction cup solution you’ve since seen in our bathroom. They’ve actually been great so far, although they weren’t free or built-in. Oh well, can’t win ‘em all.

This particular tiff is obviously settled and behind us. There were apologies, concessions that it wasn’t a big deal, and promises to be more communicative. Though with as much time as we spend together and as many projects as we tackle as a pair, I’m sure our next bump is lurking just down the road. We just try to remember we’re on the same team with the same end goal. We wanna whip this house into shape and have as much fun as possible (specifically without killing each other) along the way. So now if you’re one of those folks who wondered if we ever fight, you cay say “oh yeah, there was the Towel Bar Incident Of 2012″ (or feel free to recall it as “oh yeah, there was that towel bar incident where John was totally right.”)

Now you’re up. Care to commiserate about a DIY-related miscommunication? Feel free to put the blogging equivalent of a blurred face and altered voice on your comment if you want to protect the innocent (or perhaps the guilty).

Psst- For a more detailed post on actually resolving decorating-related disputes, click here.

 

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