My husband and I have been together a long, long time. (How long? Our relationship predates the World Wide Web.) And we discovered early on that we can’t shop together. Not for groceries, not for clothes, and definitely not for household items. We basically have to limit our shared shopping experiences to grabbing snacks together in a gas station during a road trip, but even that can get dicey. (Yes, I DO need that many snacks. If the car rolls down the side of a hill and we’re trapped for days, you’re going to be thanking me as you munch on Bugles and Peanut M&Ms!)
Taking advantage of the fact that a) my husband is at work a lot, and b) he’s not very observant, I’ve run completely roughshod over him in the ten years since we bought our house in Brooklyn. Pretty much everything we own that’s smaller than a couch, I bought without consulting him. By the time he notices and objects, I inform him that said item has been in our house for three months, and it’s too late to object now.
Sometimes I try to get his approval first, just to keep the peace. But this always highlights the different ways in which we make decisions, and leads to a fight. I research something to death, narrow the choices down, change my mind 30 times in 15 minutes, then choose something and never look back.
He looks at my well-researched, narrowed-down choices, and tells me he has to think about it. And if left alone, he would “think about it” until we no longer needed it. So I badger him until he finally just chooses whatever I want.
So you see, doing it all myself gets us to the same exact point, but without the waiting and aggravation and fighting. So that’s usually the way I go.
But we just bought a little vacation house on a lake in the woods, and it’s empty. It needs EVERYTHING. And my husband is absolutely determined to keep me from filling it with crap.
So, for the first time ever, we have a rule that we can’t buy anything without a yes from BOTH of us. I’m not even joking when I say that this could theoretically lead to years of having nothing to eat on, nowhere to sit, and no place to sleep.
After five trips to Wal-Mart we’ve got most of what I would call the non-consumable consumables: things that we use up but can’t eat. Toilet paper, Swifter cloths, dish soap, you get the idea. We also managed to pick out things like dishes and silverware and I only cried once. We bought camping chairs to sit on (both inside and outside) until we get around to buying furniture. And we bought a kayak, because obviously that’s more important than beds.
We did agree on bath mats, but there were no shower curtains that we both liked at Wal-Mart, so I started looking online.
Now, I should probably mention that we’re both
terrified of very concerned about bears. In our daily city lives the wildest wildlife we’re likely to come across is Pizza Rat or Paul Giamatti. But our vacation house is in the mountains, and there are black bears. Our first night there I spent a couple of hours researching what I should do if I come across a bear. (As opposed to what I’m actually going to do, which will be some combination of running and screaming while soiling myself.)
So when I found this shower curtain, it spoke to me. It said, “We’re not scared of you, bears! We’ll wear plaid and punch the shit out of you! So stay away from our house!”
What my husband said was, “Yeah, that’s the kind of thing that’s going to be funny the first time we see it, and maybe the second, but then it’s going to be stupid.”
OK, point taken. I can compromise. I started looking for other bear shower curtains, ones that didn’t involve beards and punching. (I didn’t say I could compromise a lot, it still had to have a bear on it.) And I found this one, and my husband reluctantly agreed to it. So I ordered it, and it’s on its way.
It was perfect. The downstairs bathroom, where the shower curtain is going, doesn’t have a toilet paper holder. There are badly-patched holes in the wall where a toilet paper holder obviously lived at one point, but it’s gone now. And rather than replace it with another boring old TP roll holder, I wanted to create a bathroom full of bear kitsch. I practically ran to find my husband and show him, I was so excited.
My husband was not on board with this plan. He flat-out refused to give me a “yes” on the TP holder. And without his yes, I can’t get it. Because I agreed to the stupid “two yesses” thing. And now I have to leave him, because how perfect would the bear shower curtain and the bear toilet paper holder and the bear towel hooks and the bear toothbrush holder be in our cabin in the woods?
Yes, a whimsical bear-themed bathroom is definitely more important than my marriage. I know my priorities.