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Life's Little Lessons

Just like a woman, I get what I want, and then I complain. But it makes for lively dinner conversation with girlfriends, who truly understand when I tell them, "Ever since I said we should change the door to swing out to maximize floor space, this bathroom remodel has unraveled. He told me it's standard for bathroom doors to swing in. I guess he never noticed that our other bathroom door swings out."

The girls all nod their heads, sip their wine and commiserate with me in a way that no one else, not even a therapist, can.

Men and their tools, I have discovered, are not to be questioned by a woman and her sensible logic. A man, for example, thinks tile is an emergency. When I say that it was time for us to select tile, I do not mean it was time to explore samples and compare materials. No. My husband put me in his car, drove me to the tile store and refused to take me home until I ordered something, anything.

More than that, he really did care and he really did have an opinion, which I never asked for but he gave me anyway, which a man is never supposed to do, but his mama forgot to tell him that. So there we were at the tile store, my husband and I, with the contractor on the phone, the salesman assisting us and the store owner chatting us up.

My husband nodded and said, "Uh-huh, uh-huh," into his cell phone. Then he turned to me and whispered, "He says not to forget the towel bar for the shower."

"We're not putting a towel bar in the shower," I told him. "A towel bar in a shower makes absolutely no sense."

At this juncture in my story, all the girls sipping wine don't just nod their heads. One says, "Why do people do that? The only thing we use our towel bar for is holding shampoo bottles." Another agrees, "A towel hanging on a towel bar in the shower gets dripping wet." A third, a mother, huffs, "Or thrown in the floor."

My husband said a few more uh-huhs, then sternly addressed me again, "A towel bar is standard on the end wall of the shower. We're paying experts to help us with this, so let them."

"No towel bar," I repeated.

Overhearing our tiff, the salesman tried to help.

"He's right. All showers have towel bars on the wall opposite the shower head. Why don't I show you a few examples?" The owner indicated agreement. Towel bars are standard.

Again, I explained why we will not be installing a towel bar. But I expressed that we would like to install a recessed shelf instead.

The men with the tools explained that "typically" a recessed shelf is installed on the long wall of the shower. Why? Because, as they told me, shampoo and other shower supplies will get wet if the shelf is on the wall opposite the shower head.

I complete my story to a chorus of, "You've got to be kidding," followed by giggling, the usual tsk-tsk over the men and their tools and the requisite girlfriend sympathy for my dire suffering. My husband, who looks over and knows I'm complaining about getting what I want, doesn't say a word. He would never argue against what's standard.

(Lucy Adams is a columnist and freelance writer. She lives in Thomson. E-mail Lucy at

Web posted on Thursday, January 13, 2011

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