Hapless Husband Meets Baby Shower

OMG, that is just so darling...
OMG, that is just so darling...

Cute AND Darling...

OK.

I have found it.

My personal limit re gender specific activities, that is.

I have, if somewhat reluctantly, accepted the domestic duties at our domicile, cleaning, cooking, laundry, the whole enchilada, and am at peace with my un-macho daily duties. The limit, for me, is a clearly drawn line in the sand, called a “baby shower”.

Let me clarify. She-who-is-adored is a good and kind person, so when her teaching partner got pregnant, she immediately offered to give her a baby shower. Sounds so innocent doesn’t it? Cute up the living room, invite friends, collect money and arrange for food and games. I mean how hard can that possibly be?

Oh, the naivety of man…

Well, this man in particular. You see, the inviting people over to your house, thing, is in fact an open house. Your home is up for inspection from the International Order of Sisterhood. A group that makes the Teamsters seem like cute pussycats. The IOS members will walk into your house and say something like, “Oh, what a lovely home you have…” but that is, in fact, code for “we are here to judge…”

This means that all the, um, flaws, that you have been meaning to deal with but have learned to live with, will need to be addressed. In my case the list was substantial.

Let’s start with the outside. Front first.

So the bushes needed trimmed, the grass cut, and the weeds that appear to thrive on the cement in our driveway needed to be removed. Nothing too extreme there, a days work, no biggie.

But then there was that space by the front door. A biological dead zone and sink hole, which needed to be addressed. A plan was crafted. The area would be filled with soil and leveled off, some moss discretely inserted where the grass refused to grow, and perhaps a nice bistro set.

Now, I have to admit that I am one of those “project“ guys (and careful with money.) So I thought, “where can I get the soil to fill that space”, and “wouldn’t patio stones look really nice” and other thoughts that turned this into, what ended up being, a two-week full-time project. You see the soil came from a back yard project, ostensibly to cure a drainage problem. This, somehow, turned into a water feature project, with a ton of rocks (thank you neighbors), two ponds, a stream and a rebuilt fountain. Oh, and a replacement plan for the patio cover.

I was so busy escalating the projects that I failed to estimate the time needed correctly. I would be playing in dirt or filling my long suffering car with rock, pebbles, gravel, sand and cement from first light until dark. (BTW, a VW Passat wagon can carry 1700 lbs of stuff, if you are not too fussy about the tail dragging on the ground…) This impacted everything else, like food, laundry, and writing of course. I’d still take the time to hunt down the elusive job openings, but I was otherwise fully occupied with dirt.

Now there are several of you wondering how we got here from Baby showers, but you would be women. The men are totally with me on this, right?

With the day fast approaching, I started to see the projects coming together. 1500 lbs of Arizona flagstone lay all flat and beautiful on the space that one been a hole. A pretty little bistro set in wrought iron advertised the fact that people with oodles of leisure time lived here, and pretty flowers graced each side of the front door. Welcome, indeed.

Take that IOS.

And the back yard? Pretty does not even come close. Water tinkling in the waterfall feature and the fountain. (For a while anyway - still working on a pesky leak!) A patio defined by the rampant wisteria growing at about a foot an hour…I could finally start on the inside things.

Well, I would have, but moving thousands of pounds of rocks and dirt had had an impact on my back.

Typical guy, I assumed that my daily exercise routine (typing and lifting up coffee cups) would have kept me in the same shape I was in, in my twenties. Medicated to the hilt, I loped around like Quasimodo, taking twice as long to do every little thing than normal, I removed spiders, dust bunnies (sorry!) and left pretty vacuum lines in the carpet. Slowly (and painfully) the house got ready for inspection. Many pink and cute things arrived that transformed our home into shower ready condition. She-w-is-a, stayed up late making more cute stuff, including, I kid you not, a diaper cake. Money was origamied into hearts and attached to a pram piñata, games were readied, drinks put on the bar, plates readied for food…

Then the time for preparation was over.

Now, being (formerly) in education, and working primarily with women, I have actually attended a baby shower in the past. Everything is declared as either “cute” or “darling” and men are looked at in a very funny way. Two hours into opening cute packages full of darling little outfits and I was at screaming pitch. It was not something I wanted to experience again, so the plan was to escape from the house the second the first member of the sisterhood arrived. There was a boat show I wanted to be at, me loving all things nautical and being totally OK with the amount of yard work having a boat entails…

Best laid plans…

The ladies flood in, stuff is not quite ready, I end up serving drinks to thirsty middle school teachers (still have most of the non-alcoholic stuff…) and it is an hour or so before I can escape, the air full of “cutes” and “darlings”…

I came home, late, to a very happy She. Things went well, the yard was admired, the games were fun, and the food delicious.

A success all around.

Darling, actually…

Dear Hub Reader


If you enjoy this hub, please check out my book,

Homo Domesticus; A Life Interrupted By Housework,

A collection of my best writings woven into a narrative on a very strange year in my life.

Available directly from:

http://www.lulu.com/content/paperback-book/homo-domesticus/12217500

Chris


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Comments 24 comments

Just Ask Susan profile image

Just Ask Susan 5 years ago from Ontario, Canada

Here I thought I had just done a great job cutting down unwanted wanna be trees on my property for the last two hours. I come inside to find your story and I must say it was an interesting one. All for a baby shower awesome!!!


ChrisLincoln profile image

ChrisLincoln 5 years ago from Orange (or Lemon...) County, California Author

J A Susan,

I know right?

I mean, who likes the "inspection"?

I have it on good authority that the "cloud of cute" has now dispersed, but glad you liked the piece.

C


JayeWisdom profile image

JayeWisdom 5 years ago from Deep South, USA

Oh, Chris...You are a genuine prize of a house-husband, and if She-who-is-adored doesn't realize that (though I'm sure she does), your female fans will be glad to tell her.

I laughed out loud picturing you "medicated to the hilt and loping around like Quasimodo" as you completed your interior chores. I can relate.

Enjoy the patio. And, potentially, the boat.

Jaye


Randa 5 years ago

You are truly the "Wonder" house husband in all you do and put up with.

So glad it all turned out well.

R


ChrisLincoln profile image

ChrisLincoln 5 years ago from Orange (or Lemon...) County, California Author

Jaye,

I earned some major appreciation points (and was rewarded royally on Father's Day!)

The yard and patio is being enjoyed as we speak, thanks for dropping by,

C


ChrisLincoln profile image

ChrisLincoln 5 years ago from Orange (or Lemon...) County, California Author

Randa,

Good to hear from you. Of course what She asked for was considerably more modest than the outcome - So unlike a guy to get carried away, right?

C


Tim Dennis 5 years ago

In nomine Patris et fillii et spititus sancti... oh woeful domestic warrior.


ChrisLincoln profile image

ChrisLincoln 5 years ago from Orange (or Lemon...) County, California Author

Tim,

Spiticus - really?

You guy's "free" yet?

C


Lady Wordsmith profile image

Lady Wordsmith 5 years ago from Lancaster, UK

Well, all I can say is that I'm glad we don't have baby showers here! At the time we would have had a baby shower at my house for my first baby, we had a house full of builders and rubble - or do baby showers take place at a friend's house? I'm inclined to think that the best place to be, when a baby shower is taking place, is in the pub with the lads - that would suit me better!

I sympathise with your back pain, I really do - because I am currently walking around like Julie Walters in 'Two Soups', on account of pulling something important in my lower back a couple of days ago. Are you better now? Hope you're pain-free soon, if not.

Linda.


ChrisLincoln profile image

ChrisLincoln 5 years ago from Orange (or Lemon...) County, California Author

Linda,

Baby showers are usually held at a friends house. The guys go to the pub!

My back is playing "wait for the spasm" just to get revenge on me abusing it for a while...

C


attemptedhumour profile image

attemptedhumour 5 years ago from Australia

I think you should phone up grand designs. They love watching a disaster gradually unfold. Us too come to think of it. But right at the end it all turns out right, as in this epic tale. Baby showers? No thank you!


barbergirl28 profile image

barbergirl28 5 years ago from Hemet, Ca

I was thinking the exact same question that you posed middle hub... and then you called me out... I am a woman. But, I do understand the process! Cute hub - I am glad I have someone else that can do all the prepping and priming of my pre party planning - like bush trimming, grass mowing and a festive fountain!


ChrisLincoln profile image

ChrisLincoln 5 years ago from Orange (or Lemon...) County, California Author

Keith,

I'm guessing that is some kind of TV show - we get similar programs on HGTV - and it did turn out OK. Only problem is there are a couple of projects left over, my BBQ area for a start, so the crazy continues...

C


ChrisLincoln profile image

ChrisLincoln 5 years ago from Orange (or Lemon...) County, California Author

barbergirl,

I'm not stupid enough to say I understand women, but I am getting better at reading the clues!

The best thing was that She-who-is-adored could be proud of her home. I know I bitch and moan about househusbanding, but She is keeping us afloat by daily facing a hoarde of middle schoolers, and working so incredibly hard...

A good partnership full of love and respect, so I really do know how lucky I am.

C


Rochelle Frank profile image

Rochelle Frank 5 years ago from California Gold Country

She-who-is-adored must call you He-who is admired. You are more than a man.

My brother-in-law (though he probably did none of the things you did) got to be the stand-in guest of honor at one of my sister's showers. She was busy at the hospital having the baby, and he had no idea what half of the gifts were.


Feline Prophet profile image

Feline Prophet 5 years ago from India

But how's the back? :D


breakfastpop profile image

breakfastpop 5 years ago

I think you should "patent" yourself!


ChrisLincoln profile image

ChrisLincoln 5 years ago from Orange (or Lemon...) County, California Author

Rochelle,

She is a kind woman who is always very greatful and generous with praise, and she liked your idea of He-who-is-admired...

And I feel for your B-i-Law - I too have witnessed objects that I could not identify!

C


ChrisLincoln profile image

ChrisLincoln 5 years ago from Orange (or Lemon...) County, California Author

Feline Prophet,

Good enough to start on the BBQ project, I mean "outdoor kitchen"...Thanks for asking!

C


ChrisLincoln profile image

ChrisLincoln 5 years ago from Orange (or Lemon...) County, California Author

Pop,

Thanks?...

C™

©


Angie Jardine profile image

Angie Jardine 5 years ago from Cornwall, land of the eternally youthful mind ...

Hilarious, Chris, and at least it spurred you on to get all the outstanding jobs done.

We don't have baby showers in the UK, they sound a little, hmmm, mercenary to me but if they get the jobs done, hey, who am I to bitch!

Voted up, you superman!


ChrisLincoln profile image

ChrisLincoln 5 years ago from Orange (or Lemon...) County, California Author

Angie,

By all, you mean most, right? The list grows ever longer...

The shower phenomenon was new to me when I came out here, nice for the new mom, but a financial challenge for the friends sometimes. When in Rome...

C


tirelesstraveler profile image

tirelesstraveler 5 years ago from California

As one who just gave a baby shower I can sympathize. There is something about the mother-in-law and girlfriends coming that ignites major excavation projects. Good job. Great laugh.


ChrisLincoln profile image

ChrisLincoln 5 years ago from Orange (or Lemon...) County, California Author

tirelesstraveler,

I'm glad that I could tickle your funny bone. Thanks for the comment and follow - always much appreciated,

C

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