Our first fight

Dawn and I had our first big fight over the restoration. We’ve gone for two years designing, researching, discussing, meeting, hiring, and spending most of our time and resources on this project, and we’ve had plenty of disagreements but never a serious argument, until today.

And what was this major conflict about? Was it a significant cost? A primary design element? Was it our whole conceptual perception of the future of the property? No, it was over the bathroom exhaust fans.

I had pointed out that we should not rely on our guests to turn on the exhaust fan while bathing, but we needed to vent that moisture or we would have problems with the paint and plaster. I found some exhaust fans that were triggered by humidity, and wanted to order them.

Dawn pointed out that people often wanted bathroom fans for…uh…other reasons…that had nothing to do with humidity. So she did her own research and decided that the best solution was a motion detector that would turn on the exhaust fan when you entered the bath, and leave it on for 15 minutes after you left.

Now, we’re both reasonable people and usually have reasonable discussions, but when she suggested a motion detector, with a blinking red light, in a guest bathroom, at what we’re hoping to be an elegant bed and breakfast, there was no discussion: I said no. Absolutely, positively, unequivocally not happening

Now, Dawn is not used to being told no. She is just one of those people that you can’t refuse. And it’s not just me: She has this power over everyone, even complete strangers. There’s just something about her, some combination of innocence, vulnerability, and intimidation, that you can immediately tell making her happy is in your best interest. So my “no” brought out some pretty primal responses. She even threatened divorce, three weeks before we’re getting married.

After she realized that I wasn’t going to bend on this issue, she pointed out that I was 3,000 miles away and in no position to dictate what she could or couldn’t do. I acknowledged that, and told her that I would be happy to remove them when I moved out there. She told me I wasn’t moving out there. And so the conversation went, split across a half-dozen phone calls during the day. She even sent a mass email to everyone, asking if they would be freaked out by a motion detector in the bathroom. She said that 90% of the respondents did not have a problem with it, and I pointed out that a 10% complaint rate would put us out of business in a year.

So here’s where we left it: I ordered humidity controllers that can be used in conjunction with a switch to control the exhaust fan, and had them shipped to her. She told me the controllers were ugly and she was not installing them. But we both agreed that we loved each other, so I guess there was some resolution.

She also clarified that she wouldn’t divorce me, she would just bury me in the back yard.