She’s the Handy-Person in the Family


2015-03-29 – My wife Kit wears the pants in the family. So do I, of course, I don’t want to get arrested (though I see that sans-culottes has taken on a literal meaning for Paris fashion designers [warning: NSFW]).

What I mean by this is that we don’t adhere to traditional gender roles. She is the handy-person of the family. I do the ironing and sewing. She even has her own business as a painting contractor. I sometimes clean her brushes and rollers. She generally doesn’t like to have me help with the painting. She says I leave drips.

If you click on the link to her website, you’ll see an array of colors. We have many of those colors in our home. When we first moved in, she was a minimalist and we painted the whole house a very light shade of gray. But about 10 years ago, we went for bright colors. Then we changed the colors a couple of years ago. I’m not involved.

‘Cause I leave drips.

In the last couple of years we’ve also had all our floors sanded and sealed, a new kitchen installed, and a new bathroom. The new bathroom became operational just last week. We had been showering at the Y. All this is her doing. I’m not saying she does all the work. She hires people or we get help from her brothers who are plumbers. But she drives the project.

Now, I don’t think I leave drips, but I’m not arguing about it. She has things she likes to do. If I’m going to paint, it’s going to be a picture that I can later hang on the wall. I have a pretty good color sense (for a man) and score pretty high on color sensitivity tests like this one: X-rite Pantone® Online Color Challenge. In my early days in publishing, I used to offer my opinion on colors for book covers, but the women in the office always dismissed me. Men’s sensitivity to colors, they said, was limited to the Crayola box of eight crayons.

Now, I have to say that Kit doesn’t do all of the handy work in the house. We’ve been in our house 20 years this month. When we bought the house, the wood of the back deck was rotting. One day, she went out on the deck and her foot went through it. When I got home from work that day, I found the back deck missing. She had torn it down single-handedly.

I was not pleased.

So I decided that I was going to build the new deck single-handedly. This is a fairly stupid thing to try to do. Sixteen-foot boards are not easy to manipulate alone. I had to build props for one end while I worked on the other end. Having another person would have been a really good idea. But not essential. I had never built anything like a deck before, so I read up on structural design. I built the strongest damn deck that ever was built. The deck will be standing even when the house crumbles to dust. Even so, there are some strange aspects to the deck. I left spaces between the decking boards so the rain would go through, but I didn’t realize that the spaces only needed to be maybe a 1/16 of an inch. I left enough space for the legs of little dogs or furniture to fall through. We keep a rattan area rug on the deck now, so that won’t happen.

I don’t expect that I will be called on to build another deck any time soon (though it’s held up a lot of years already). And that’s just fine with me.

One response to “She’s the Handy-Person in the Family

  1. Pingback: I Tend to Do the “Women’s Work” | Eightoh9·

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s