Hapless Husband Meets Baby Shower
Cute AND Darling...
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.
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.
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