Curtain Catastrophe

The evening started out well enough, I stopped in at TJMaxx to look for (what else!) pillows and picked these up:

overstuffed pillows

But of course once I got them home I hated them.

For one thing, I think I realized I don’t want much of an overall print on the pillows. Even though the branchy pattern on the top linen pillow is cute, its not working for me in the room at all. The other thing is scale – these look waaay too big on our couch. So I guess anything 19″ square or bigger is out. I measured our current pillows and they are 16×16 or so and that seems to be a better size. Live and learn.

Here’s where things started to go downhill..

Jeff asked if I wanted him to hang the curtain hardware in the dining room which of course I did. I was sitting on the couch watching TV when I heard the sound of the drill and wondered if I should make sure he was hanging them the same height as the living room curtains.. but by then it was too late, the first hole had been drilled. A few minutes later he asked me to come look.

They were uneven and much too low but I guess I made the mistake of not lying and saying “Good job baby, they look perfect” and instead said they were crooked and too low and he totally lost it.

I think we’re at the point of no return with this house where every little project that doesn’t come out “right” (by my standards anyway) dregs up the memory of every other little project that we’ve argued about. So Jeff is convinced that I’m a nagging bitch who’s never happy with anything and that I think he’s incapable of doing anything right and he totally blows up every time I’m not satisfied with the way something is done.

So last night, instead of wanting to fix the curtains he yelled and said he was done, that I could fix them if I want and wouldn’t talk to me the rest of the night… he was just so mad that I wasn’t happy.

I guess I understand his frustration, but its the reaction and the anger that upsets me so much. You can’t really work through an argument or figure out a solution when one person is so angry that they refuse to talk to the the other…

If cooler heads prevailed, we could come up with a plan.. like maybe I do the measuring and he does the drilling or something like that. But he gets so angry that there’s no talking to him. To be clear, I’m not saying the argument is his fault, I do admit I’m sometimes neurotically hard to please, but I never get angry with him that something wasnt done right – I just want us to fix it.

The incident really is weighing on me because I know that we are so different in our approaches to these things that I’m afraid we have a lifetime of petty arguments ahead of us.

Ok, I’m sorry to air our dirty laundry here, I just needed to vent a little.

Now back to our regularly scheduled programming….

Reader Gail (Heartartz) sent me a link to these beautiful pillows from a site called Nautical Luxuries:


They are really beautiful and thank you Gail for sending me the link. I think though that the pattern is a little stronger than I would like. But I’m so glad I know about that site now! Amongst the overly kitschy beach stuff they have some really beautiful finds like these shell lamps:

mother of pearl beachy lamps

A bit too pricey for me (one day before our mortgage payment is due) but its a great inspiration image. So thanks Gail, and thanks to everyone who has posted comments, suggestions and design guidance. Your help is so very much appreciated!

19 Responses to “Curtain Catastrophe”

  1. I totally sympathize since we’ve had many house-related arguments at the Litter Box. I’ve learned that it really helps to come to some kind of agreement about a project when you aren’t in the middle of doing that project. That is you discuss the whole project before the actual work begins. Just like you said, maybe you decide location and mark placement but he does the installation. It would also help if you were watching during the installation. Not as a monitor, but as a helper – handing him a hammer, a nail, etc. Coming back later to say it was done wrong can be frustrating to the person who has done the work. But arguments happen when you own a house. Expect it. Sit down and discuss what you are thinking when you ask him to fix something. Maybe when it isn’t the heat of the moment he will learn that it is nothing to get angry over. As long as you work together and agree on things beforehand, it might make life easier.

    Jason often wants something done in the house, but won’t do it. So I step up and start the work. He’ll come by and want to try things his way. At first I got angry and thought he was criticizing my attempts. But then I realized that maybe he would have a better/easier way of doing something OR he may realize that my way is the best way. I don’t see it as criticizing me, he’s trying to help.

    Good luck!

  2. I can totally relate to this situation. I’m often making changes around here and I usually need my husband’s help to hang, lift, or fix something and sometimes it just goes awry. To high, too low, now too many holes that need to be filled now bickering, etc. We always step back and then make up afterwards. You’re not alone in this type of situation! As for the pillows, I like the ones you got and don’t think they look too big. I think maybe if you just leave them there for a few days, they might grow on you. I like the colors and patterns too.

  3. Been there, done THAT! I turned a home repair corner last time and manned the drill all by my lonesome… it was very freeing. Of course, I screwed up and had to redo… but at least I cant have a fight with myself. All couples do this, but my advice is do what you can on your own. I save Matt’s labour for the really big stuff, like painting and caulking leaks in the attic. :)

  4. Oh, ((((hugs))) to you Ariana…marriage can be so wonderful and also a true challenge. I am sending you good thoughts that over time the two of you will work out your own way to deal with disagreements and tough times. It is so hard sometimes. :(

    On the decorating note—I notice that Pottery Barn had blue and tan towels on sale that reminded me of the blue and tan in the BH&G photos you posted yesterday. If you’re looking for ideas for the bathroom, you might like them. (I can’t remember if you’re finished there already.)

    Wishing you all the best, Jane

  5. Wow, thanks guys, it does REALLY help to know we’re not alone..sometimes in isolation you think “What’s wrong with us and our relationship” and don’t realize that its not so uncommon. I think I’m spoiled because of growing up watching my parents interact. They have been married for 34 years and are similar that they both are perfectionists and there is no question in either of their minds that they would do something over if it were wrong. They both take a really long time to make up their minds and agonize over decision.. (yes, that’s DEFINITELY where I get it from!) But the point is that it’s harmonious with them, whereas Jeff and I are like oil and water in this regard. I suppose we’ll have to work harder to avoid these kinds of arguments.

    I agree that learning how (or being more motivated to) drill stuff myself etc. is probably a good way to go!

  6. As my mentor always tells me when I am in the midst of a problem…”this too shall pass”
    You, two, will work it out and you, two, will be stronger!

    Look back over ALL your gallery photos to see just how much you have accomplished since May it as AWSOME!!!!!

    Measure twice, cut (drill) once….Now get that drill!!!


  7. ariana, i’m with you!!! i totally relate on the “where every little project that doesn’t come out “right” (by my standards anyway)” and “convinced that I’m a nagging bitch who’s never happy with anything”… those exact words i hear whenever we are handling a project!!! AG even calls me “mrs. precise perfect”. i guess being perfectionists does that to us… and even though AG is quite perfectionist himself it doesn’t compare…

    i think we just have to tackle every project with love, and reassure them of their huge help… (just having warned them beforehand if there is something that needs to be redone, it’s nothing personal).

  8. Lol, jumping on the “I can relate” bandwagon! I think I might actually sit Kyle down and ask him to read this entry because it illustrates alot of our problems almost eerily accurately. But yeah, we both account our little fights and bickering to all the work we are doing lately (and maybe those few hours less of sleep as a consequence too). When it’s always “go time” on the house, it’s easy to forget about how to communicate well. We just make sure after we’ve cooled off a little bit to both apologize to each other. Cause we are always both guilty of SOMETHING in the situation.

    Thanks so much for this entry. It’s comforting to see it’s kinda normal.

  9. My boyfriend and I don’t live together yet, so I’ll just comment on the pillows…I think they look quite nice on the couch. But, they may not look as good in person. Who knows.

  10. So Jeff is related to my Fiance? I had no idea. We should plan a potluck dinner. Anyway…the one regret I have is that we (or me…) focused sooooo much on the house when I first bought it, that we sort of forgot how to just “hang” together and that took a lot of practicing. Make sure you’re not working on the house 24/7 – schidt will still be there waiting for you – it won’t run away. Understand that men want to please & be rewarded. Throw him a bone occasionally…it’s hard to do…but pick your battles…and then fix stuff the way you want when he’s not looking! LOL

  11. Re: learning to use power tools yourself…

    I just bit the bullet recently and am totally comfortable with a drill & jigsaw. I’m moving up to the big circular saw soon. In the meantime, the Fiance spilled the beans that he bought me a weekend trip at Yestermorrow School to take the “Women & Power Tools” course. That’s his Christmas gift to me, I’m going in February. You’re welcome to join along – it looks like fun. I’ll probably blog about it in October/November to see if I can gather a group of local bloggers and crafty chicks to go…

  12. You guys are the best! As a result of all your comments I am now more happy than depressed and I started out the day seriously unhappy. so THANK YOU!

    I will definitely try to show my appreciation more. Because I DO appreciate his willingness to do all this stuff and do it with enthusiasm. He’s much more motivated than I am.. so much so that he doesn’t do the “measure twice” part before the “cut once” part.

    Iloveupstate, I’ll email you about the women with powertools thing.. sounds like SO much fun!

  13. Oh sweetie, take it from someone who has been married 15 years, this is just par for the course. When we bought our first home in Pennsylvania I was desperate for a red dining room. I bought the paint in Texas and moved it to Pittsburgh (because you know they don’t have red paint in Pennsylvania). We painted the room and voilà…I hated it! H-A-T-E-D IT! Of course, my husband was livid, it on took him a day to prime and 3 gallons of paint at $40 a can. But in the end he came around to my way of thinking and we papered the room in red toile!!

  14. If I waited on my husband to hang curtains, the neighbors would have seen me completely nude many times. Using power tools is very empowering and I highly recommend it. (they even make pink ones now which I sooo want but are a wee bit impractical) Next time he can’t get made at you for bitching at him b/c you will be up there drilling your own holes.

  15. Yep. Been there, done that too. Now, I either measure first and make the marks where I want the holes to go–or–I just do it myself. I have a rule about curtain rod placement: two inches up and two inches over from the molding. Never have to figure it out again!

    The next time your dh offers to do something for you: (and hopefully he will) jump up and discuss it with him. In fact, if you haven’t already, have a discussion with him now. Exactly along the lines of what you’ve said right here in your blog. My dh is NOT a perfectionist and can be rather slapdash on the details–and it drives me nuts. We’ve been married for 10 years now and there are still projects that need to be done: sometimes we dicuss them off and on for a few years (like installing new flooring in the kitchen–that’s been on-going for about two and it is just time to bite the bullet and do it!)

    Ask your mom about the early years–I bet it took some time before they worked out how to work things out!

    And remember–better more holes in the wall than in your relationship!

    PS: I like the larger cushions. Keep them for a week or two. You need time to adjust to the difference in scale–but trust me, they look good!

  16. […] Yes, I’m going to hang them myself.  As my favorite comment from yesterday’s post said: “Better holes in your walls than holes in your marriage! “ Tags: No […]

  17. Oh, I can so relate. His parents have been helping us a lot with our basement remodel, and there’s nothing like sniping at each other in front of the in-laws. In the aisles at Home Depot is another choice location…

    We’ve been taking a break from the big stuff this summer, and it’s been really nice. If you get to a decent stopping point, maybe you can declare a two-week moratorium on installing anything new and focus on something different for a while.

  18. Uh huh, yes, this sounds just like me and my husband. I do at times have to pick which “mistakes” I ask him to redo and which ones I can live with. I also bought my own drill and do a lot of painting/curtain hanging, etc. while he at work or on a business trip.

  19. Oh, bless your heart. Fighting with your spouse is never, ever fun, but as long as you make yourself remember that this is a person you actually LIKE (that can be sooooo hard sometimes, too), then you’ll get past it. Sometimes it’s not a matter of who is right or who is wrong…it’s a matter of which one of you feels most strongly about something. Personally, I feel pretty strongly that my husband is not going to hang the curtains where I want them. So I start the project by drilling the pilot holes then let him take over. He feels like he’s handilng all the “hard” work and I feel like I’m saving us from another one of “those” arguments. lol

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