Tuesday, March 17, 2009

And God looked upon the light and pronounced it good. And a litmus test.

I remember well the first fight that interrupted our marital bliss.

My Man claims that it was about broccoli - I love it, he hates it - but it wasn't.

It was about the very deep and profound subject of LIGHTBULBS.

But before we get into that, an introduction: This is my dad.

My dad is the all-knowing god of the computer realm. (Translation: I really can't tell you what he does for a living.) He also happens to be Mr. Fixit Extraordinaire.

Dad installs carpet and wood flooring, tiles kitchens, knows how to rework the plumbing on the bathroom sink or dishwasher and redid our roof to boot. He's knocked down walls and rebuilt them, and knoweth the 'thou shalt nots' of electrical wiring.

I took it for granted that all dads do that sort of stuff.

So when the first lightbulb burnt out in the first hallway of our first homestead, I patiently waited for my own personal Mr. Fixit to replace it.

And a week of darkness went by.

I got more and more frustrated that he was neglecting such an obvious part of husbandship. Truly, didn't he NOTICE the gloomy globe of outer darkness hanging above our heads? Finally, in exasperation, I berated him for not fulfilling his duty as resident All Things Maintenance Man.

And that's when I learned that my mother-in-law was the MRS. Fixit in the My Man household.

He'd been waiting for ME to change the lightbulb!

Thus ensued many years of re-defining our roles of who-does-whats in our abode. 'Cuz household duties aren't outlined in The Family: A Proclamation to the World. So many of us naturally think that the way our parents did it is THE WAY IT IS.

And it isn't. It's whatever we WANT it to be.

So we each have our own 'deveres de casa' now (or 'musts of the house') -

And at this very moment there are about eight lightbulbs that need changing.

37 comments:

Shantel said...

What does your husband do? We will find him a job.

Destinee said...

I love it. Funny how our perception of things is the "right" way. Until we learn that there may be other ways.

I just found your blog. I LOVE it!

HeatherKitts said...

How funny! We had this very same problem at the beginning of our marriage...but ours was breakfast related. Eggs, specifically. The RIGHT way to fry an egg and to make scrambled eggs were quite obviously unbeknownst to him :)

Becca said...

That's awesome. Ours was about replacing the toilet paper. He now replaces it sometimes, but only half the time will he put it on correctly (I think it goes over the top.) Maybe you can have a kid be the mr. fixit for your family?

Stephanie said...

That is GOOD advice! I certainly need to remember that :)

Bonnie said...

Unfortunately, I did NOT marry Mr Fixit. Even sadder, you don't want him to fix it...I will leave it at that. I am getting really good at fixing things.

gina said...

Ha! How many times I hear couples fight over this and not even realize that they are expecting their spoused to follow their their parents dictates on married life....good for you guys to figure it out!

gina said...

Ok, I was totally typing that with a grabby baby on my lap....can you tell?

rad6 said...

Ok, such a good point... and even about how when we have disagreements that we do not take the time to settle, the "light" is not so present in our lives. Hang onto that one.

Kristina P. said...

Oh my gosh!!! I can totally relate. My husband can do some minor things, but not nearly like my dad.

SO said...

Oh yeah. I can relate. Totally. And sometimes it's very, very frustrating. I am Mrs. Fixit here and usually I'm okay with it but there are times, there are times...

:Jan the crazy lady: said...

I am blessed with both great fixers. A do it dad and a do it hubs. I love Daddy's though. This is a great post little lady.

Jen said...

Opposite here - my dad didn't do ANY fixit stuff inside the house. Whoever else was around did it.

I guess that's kind of the policy for both of us - if you notice it first, it's all you...

The Prices said...

My hubby is happy to replace it...if I go get him the lightbulb!

janae said...

My dad was pretty much like your dad - he could build or fix ANYTHING. My father-in-law is a dentist. My hubby is an artist. Need I say more?

The light in our front hall way has been burned out for six months. And probably will stay that way until we move. C'est la vie.

Steph @ Diapers and Divinity said...

The other day Matt said to me, "Steph, you are perfect in almost every way, but you stink at laundry." I think my evil plan is working and pretty soon he's going to take that job. :)

(I may post about this.)

Jennie said...

My dad and brothers can fix anything also! I love it! If I can't fix it they sure can. My sweet husband tends the kids while I fix washing machines, install kitchen faucets, or change bike tires. So he has a job, it just isn't Mr Fixit!

DeNae said...

My husband trumps my dad in the fixit department. However, my dad always irons his own shirts. And my MIL irons anything that can't run for its life. So we have had some very...um...enthusiastic discussions over that little issue. Usually, he ends up ironing the shirts AND being grumpy about it.

Works for me.

Heather of the EO said...

I'm sure many a marriage has failed over lightbulbs. :)

Really, it is tricky to round corners and come up against a role surprise.

P.S. My husband can sew and I cannot. :)

Real Mom, Real Life said...

Interesting how that happens... We each have our own ideas of what the other should do. Boys in my house always did trash and lawn. But in Hubby's house, girls took a turn too. I couldn't believe it when I realized he actually wanted me to mow the lawn... the nerve :)

Thankfully, after 15 years, we have started to figure things out.

Debbie said...

Your MIL has messed up! Why did she ever take on that job?

Boy Mom said...

Darn domicile duty divisions, devastating daily domestic delights.

Kazzy said...

Ah, the job of defining roles. Ours are a bit untraditional too. Like, I get the oil changed in the cars. Hmmm.

Lady of Perpetual Chaos said...

So....who does change the light bulbs in your house?
My dad can fix anything and my husband is trying to get there. It's only been 7 years so we're still a work in progress with domestic divisions. ;o)

Kristi said...

My Hubby can fix anything! LOVE that! So could my Dad who told me to not get up my hopes because there weren't men like him anymore! ;)
Hey, I have a ? for you re Feijoida or just plain ol brazilin beans and rice!!! Its on my blog but if you wanted could you email me? THX a million - kristilthom at g mail dot com;)

Melonie said...

Yes... I'm with Lady - who changes the light bulbs now and hasn't gotten to those 8 bulbs yet? lol

The Motherboard said...

My Dad is a major fixit man. It has been mind boggling to realize that my husband is NOT. When my Dad comes to visit me, I have a "daddy do list" that he does while my "honey" is at work. (cause my "honey" doesn't like to "do")We get them clicked off while he is at work, and he is none the wiser... unless he reads your blog. And now I'm busted...

Hel said...

My dad likes to think he is Mr Fixit.... like a good wife, my mum let's him think that.

I guess I got my fixitness from my mum, which my husband has no problem with. He was cursing the lawn mower the other day... After he cursed for half a day, I had a quick look. It didn't take much to figure out what was wrong. I wonder if that is emasculating?

Jocelyn Christensen said...

This begs the question: How many Misplaced Americans does it take to change a light bulb. Always two apparently...where would we be without our spouses?

Head Nurse or Patient- you be the judge said...

I am the Fix-it around here for the most part- which strangely enough makes my MOTHER IN LAW crazy! I guess she thinks I am hurting her son's feelings or something. Trust me- he is glad! He has no time, and why should he when I can? I do have a mechanically minded brain, but occassionaly I make him deal with stuff :)

Nikki said...

I assumed my husband would take out all the trash. I remember a disagreement we had over this duty when we had been married less than 2 months. He explained it was my turn. I told him I had just taken it out. He said, "When there's only two people in the house your turn will come up a lot." I can't remember how the rest of the conversation went after that. Somehow we got to the point where he takes out the trash. And right now, while he's gone in Alabama, and I'm taking out the kitchen trash daily and both bathroom trashes, I really miss him.

charrette said...

Your dad is adorable.

And I can so relate to that issue of confused expectations -- my husband expected me to be just like his mother when we were first married. But the problem is, she is PERFECT. (Trust me on this one, you do NOT want to be compared to this woman. Which is one reason I write under a pseudonym!)

But I also discovered he had skills and interests and abilities that weren't in my dad's profile, and those unexpected gifts mostly make up for the dashed expectations.

Natalie said...

I prefer for my husband to do all of the predetermined "man stuff". However, it's not really because my parents did it that way. As a general rule, I try to avoid doing things at all like my parents. My dad was like an extension of our couch. He made Homer Simpson look GOOD. So, now I throw tantrums about how "you better not act like my dad!"

Synergy Girl said...

Ha! That is great!! I have always thought that trash was the "mans duty"...luckily my "man" complied! One of my MANY jobs are the bathrooms...which I don't entirely mind, but this week, while with some close friends, he stated to them that our bathrooms only get cleaned maybe once a month...!!! WHAT??!!! Are you kidding me?? I do NOT want to know what nasty funk I would be sitting upon after a month...sick sick sick...To his surprise, I let him know that they ACTUALLY get cleaned a few times a week...you know, while he is at work...its all part of that whole "housewife" gig I took on...!!

SigH

Kellogg said...

My dad sounds just like yours! Makes me want to hop on a plane and go see him. Husband-not so much like my dad, but getting there. Love him to pieces though.

Shelley said...

It's those darn expectations we have. Right after we were married my husband grabbed the milk jug and started chugging. I promptly got up the courage and started, albeit kindly, layed into his Dad about inappropriate behavior he taught his son. To my dismay, his mother was chuckling in the corner, She was the culprit! It's been 14 years and I'm still reminded of my declaration of misbehavior.

Tami said...

I can totally relate. Fortunately my Dad is a great teacher. . .for my husband that is. :)