Another Wife

By: Laura M. Phillips

Was talking to my sister in law last night about our husbands. Seems to be the week we are both not speaking to them, so there was a lot to unload.

She was telling me that what she really needed was a "wife" to help do all the things she's suppose to do in the limited time she had for chores each day. I laughed and agreed, this would be really nice. Someone to run errands, help around the house, fix meals occasionally, etc.. But I felt if I got a "wife" she'd have to have certain skills, carpentry and exceptional muscles for strength. I needed someone to help me finish all the jobs pending around the house that had gone "undone" for years. It's not like any of them required super skills, just I wasn't able to do them alone. So we both laughed at our "requirement list" and felt a whole lot better afterwards. This morning, my neighbors comes over, we chat, laugh and just plain have a pleasant visit. He was off from work until next week because of spring break and had been catching up on "his" to do list for around the house. Yesterday he cleaned out the garage, moved some cinder blocks from the yard to a new location, stacking them up carefully, then did a few other things his wife had on her "to do" list. She claimed "he's the best husband". I had to agree, he really is, he's helped us in the past anytime we've needed it.

I started talking about the few "little" things around the house that really needed to get done, but my husband wasn't going to do it this century. He said "what needs to be done?" I laughed and rattled off only two things on my list (fix the curtain rod and remove 3 boards from the wall), each of which should require less then 60 seconds worth of effort, but I couldn't get my husband motivated! He said he'd do it. I explained (now embarrassed) that it wasn't that I wasn't capable of doing them, but the tools needed mysteriously disappeared so I couldn't.

He looks at the curtain rod, "what's wrong with it?" he asks. I explain that the rod itself is just fine, but when I slide the curtains over to the left, the rod goes with it and everything falls down unless I hold it up there. I just need a screw through this one side to prevent the rod from sliding out. He He says "that makes sense, let me go get my drill".

Ok, so now I felt bad, he gets a day off and he's working at MY house instead of doing the things he really wanted to do at his own house, his wife said "don't worry about it". Took 3 seconds to drill a small hole and 15 seconds to manually put the screw in. Problem solved, little to no effort and in under 30 seconds! WOW! He points to the boards on the wall, "you want those down?" I say "yes" before he can think about it all and change his mind.

First one was a piece of cake, the other two took what seemed like forever. Ended up having to break the boards off and leaving the screws in the wall, they were not budging for anything. But now it was done and I felt wonderful. Those of you who live with the man who does nothing, know how good it feels to get a really small project done....FINALLY!

He inquired about the curtains, did I have any more? He remembered that they were an 'auction' special. I looked at him and said "sure, but they are in the trailer". The look of fear came over his face, not the dreaded trailer! I assured him that my husband had actually cleaned out some of the clutter and it was easier to navigate through now. His wife looked at him, wanting, he jumped up and ran out to the trailer. Five minutes later he returned with a bag of curtains. I still had 3 left and they were big enough that when cut in half it left two perfect sides for a large window. Told them my sister in law had done that with mine and it works perfectly, as they could see. I volunteered her to fix curtains for my neighbors, I'm such a good sister in law :)

His wife says "make up a list of things you need done and he'll help you complete them". I was on the verge of passing out, this couldn't be true, let me pinch myself. I asked if there was anything they needed, did they want a dish washer? I have 36 of them to choose from.

My husband bought them from an auction and I'd gladly give them away just to get them out of my back yard! We went outside and looked at them. They are the smaller kind, referred to as "apartment" size, but all were brand new. This made her day as we picked one out and they hauled it next door. Now everyone was extremely happy. He announced that he needed to go to the hardware store for a few parts, she came back inside with me.

As we sat, chatting, she once again said "make a list". It was at that point I remembered one other really small, easy project. One of my drawers in the kitchen needed the runner fixed, she said "no problem". I also mentioned that the bathroom needed some wallpaper, 75% of it was done but I couldn't find anyone to help with the other 25%. Wasn't a rush job, just something I'd like to have completed by summer, we were having company from Holland who would be staying here, so it would be nice to have a complete bathroom. She agreed. The wall paper itself is easy, I just couldn't stand on the ladder to reach the top.

He came back from the store and immediately started working on the dishwasher installation and said "I never start a project I'm not going to finish, so when I do start, it's a done deal and will be completed. Does your husband have a large wrench?" I laughed and said "yes he does, but it's in the trailer. Start in the bottom drawer and work up until you find it." A minute later I saw him return with the wrench in hand and off he went to install the dishwasher.

Meanwhile, my husband comes home. See's the neighbor outside working on one of his dishwashers, so he goes to investigate and ends up helping him move it into the house. It should be noted that I'm still waiting to have one of these dishwashers installed at MY house! But really, I don't want one, it's just a lot faster and less work to do them by hand be done with it.

My sister in law arrives and was pleased to see I had gotten the curtains up and the rod fixed. I told her what I volunteered her for and she laughed. My neighbors come in and we discuss the matter. I tell my sister in law that at least this neighborhood would be color co-ordinated, which made everyone laugh. She said she'd gladly do the curtains, but couldn't until next week. "No problem" they said.

I've known my neighbor's husband since he was 13 years old, it was his grandmother who lived next door back then. He since grew up and got married, they moved in last year. He has been very helpful on many other projects, helping my husband. Many things never would have gotten done if he hadn't helped. Today he's helping his mother move a few things, so I sit patiently, waiting for when he has more time to help me!! Maybe someday this house will actually be "complete", if it is, it will be due to my neighbor. This could actually happen!!

I told my sister in law "you can get another 'wife', if you want. I've got something better........another HUSBAND ! And this one actually works!"

She's not speaking to me, go figure!

Copyright: Laura M. Phillips March 2000

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