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.


  1. rachael says

    haha, we miscommunicate all the time. This was funny to read, glad to hear you all are normal. And what possibly could little baby Burger do to make you mad?

    • says

      Haha, both the kiddos know how to try our patience. Right now Burger is standing by the door whining to be let out for the tenth time and John and I are scrabling to get stuff done during nap time. He likes to interrupt us so we’re as slow as possible. Haha.


  2. Clare says

    My husband donated my wedding dress along with another really expensive dress I had set aside for repair. There were two piles, one for Goodwill and one for the dry cleaners. Everything ended up going to Goodwill. Talk about “in the doghouse”! He may never live this one down.

    • Lori says

      Omg…. That does suck, but maybe, just maybe, someone that couldn’t afford a pretty dress will end up with it. I have to tell myself that every.single.time I donate stuff, or else I will pack it back up in the car and race home to apply for Hoarders. Perhaps it’s time to make someone else some good memories :). (and I would be hard pressed to let him live this one down ;) )

    • says

      ACK! But I agree… maybe somebody who needs a nice dress will find it at the right time. But seriously I think I would probably kill my husband.

  3. says

    oh my gosh you guys sound just like us! seriously every piece of it. relationships aren’t perfect but when it’s meant to be you learn how to fight and move on – the quicker the better. :) plus we do not dish our little spats with others. it isn’t nice to talk about your spouse behind their back (or people in generall…haha) and other people having a negative outlook on your spouse/relationship just sounds bad…

  4. Tamsen says

    Not so much a DIY related comment however, many Father’s Days Ago, my mom, brother, sister and I went to run errands. Errands included but limited too; buying a shirt and tie from Macy’s for Dad and dropping old stuff off at Goodwill. So what happens, we buy a very nice shirt and tie and then “donate” it to goodwill along with the old stuff… sorry dad, no Father’s Day gift this year. :(

  5. Sue says

    Oh thank goodness you are normal people. Weekly I think to myself, “how can they do all that togetherness and not want to kill each other sometimes???” Thanks for keeping it real!

  6. Lindsay says

    This sounds like something we would do. I had our king size white down comforter by our back door to take to the dry cleaners. It sat for about a week since I didn’t have the time. Came home one day to realize H threw it away when he took a load to the dump! I was furious, mainly b/c if I wanted to get rid of it (which he should have known I wouldn’t have) I would have at least taken it to goodwill, not the dump. Oh well guess he’ll just owe me a new one someday :)

  7. ErinY says

    When my boyfriend and I first moved in together 2 years ago we were unpacking everything. I gave him the kitchen because he’s a chef and I took the bedroom. When I came out to get something I noticed him putting ever. single. appliance. out on the counter of our *tiny* kitchen. Including the rice maker that has yet to be used after 5 years of owning. I suggested we put a few lesser-used items away to have more workspace. He claimed that as a chef he needed all appliances at the ready in case he should need them. Things escalated to the point of him almost moving out during our first few hours of living together.
    After two years we’re still together and living together so it’s all good and quite hilarious to look back on. We still give each other a hard time about the number of appliances that should be out in the kitchen.

    • Kaity says

      Haha when my other half and I moved into our first place we only had a tiny amount of kitchen stuff and our new kitchen had HEAPS of storage, so he put one thing in each cupboard.

  8. says

    That’s funny because my husband and I just had a tiff, and he said the “Oh don’t worry, I won’t ever do that for you again!” thing to me, which I thought was VERY mature also. Glad you’ve worked this out, we’ve apologized to each other but he is still silently sulking. This all happened after out big 2 weeks family vacation, looks like we are not the type of couple who can be together 24/7. Kudos to you guys!

  9. says

    This totally made me laugh because it sounds like my husband and me! He always gets an urge to clean and then it has to be done. I once bought some new pillows for our bed because ours were so old and I put the new ones next to the old ones while I went to put the sheets in the washer. When I came back upstairs my husband was coming inside from throwing out the old pillows – but it was really the new ones he threw away.

  10. Leigh Anne says

    I found this particularly hysterical because my husband does the same thing. For example, “Did you put my dress pants in the dryer? I prefer them to be hung up to dry.” Hubby: “Fine, I guess I just shouldn’t do the laundry anymore.” Not really a fight or even a disagreement, just a sly way for the hubbies out there to get their point across. Or maybe just a way to get out of doing certain chores – haha!

    • says

      I’m going to be honest – I HIDE some articles of clothing from the normal laudry pile so they don’t get ruined. Everyone does their own laundry around here, but a few articles from my closet have ended up ruined when some grabbed my laundry to do me a favor & primarly because they didn’t quite have enough for a full load.

      Good grief I sound uptight about my clothing. I close this with the fact that I am 5’2 and nearly all of my work clothing needs alterations, so I try to make these (unnecessarily expensive) things last!

    • says

      My husband asks me now before he puts a load on, “does anything in this need to go in bags?”. Of course, I often say no and then realise later that something did, but that way it’s my own fault if something comes out worse for wear.

  11. Sue says

    And I agree about not airing dirty laundry. Not sharing the uglies with friends and fam led to shock and surprise when we ended up divorced after 13 years, but I would do it again. It is SOOO worth it to know your partner has your back!

  12. Krystal C. says

    My husband is not a DIY-er at all…so “hey, can you watch the baby while I work on this 10 hour project…” is a constant source of upset between us! Then he sees the awesome and his happy, glowing wife and gets over it!

    • Kelly says

      OMG i know how that goes (sort of). We have a puppy, and a very old house and I have a husband who has absolutely no DIY skills. Me working a few hours on paint stripping, painting, or wall spackles while he has to watch the dog (who is crazy destructive) is also a constant source of upset between us.

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