A husband’s rebuttal

My husband seems to take a lot of flak in my columns. It’s all good natured, and I wouldn’t do it if he didn’t have the great sense of humor that he has. But it seems like every Sunday, my mom or my sister start with the, “Poor Justin” routine. Oh yes, he’s so poor. He’s got a wife who loves him, feeds him, keeps the house clean, takes care of his animals, and more. What a huge burden it must be on Justin to put up with all of this nonsense!

A few weeks ago, Justin made the comment that everyone who reads my column must think he’s lazy and does nothing around the house.

“That’s not true,” I answered. “I talked about how you shrunk that sweater, so everyone knows you do laundry.” I smiled angelically at him.

He frowned. Apparently this wasn’t good enough. “One of these days,” he began, sounding a little like Ralph from the Honeymooners, “I’m gonna write a column and you’ll have to publish it.”

“I don’t HAVE to publish it,” I replied.

“I’ll go over your head,” he threatened.

I was not worried. “You do that.”

He grumbled something under his breath as I chuckled at him.

Well, he sort of does have a point. I’m not really trying to paint a picture of him as being a do-nothing around the house, but sometimes it comes out sounding like I do everything and he does nothing. And that’s simply not true.

For instance, he’s made dinner several times. I sometimes would tease him about starving if I wasn’t around, but he made a face and informed me that he’d managed to survive up until he met me. Yes, he survived on cookies and take out, but let’s not split hairs. I like when he cooks dinner. First of all, it gives me a break. But best of all, he’s good at it. And I’ll admit that he’s made things that I haven’t made, and sometimes I’m asking him questions about food prep. I think some of my favorite meals are not the ones that he or I prepared exclusively, but instead are the ones we made together. I love teamwork!

Another great thing about Justin is that he loves to assemble things. If we bring something home that requires assembly, he’s got it out of the box and on the floor minutes after we get inside the door. A few days before the wedding, we sat down one evening and finished printing and folding the place cards, assembling the remaining favors and folding the programs. I was pretty exhausted when we finished, but Justin decided that was the perfect time to start another project – the assembly of a swivel bookcase we’d received as an early wedding gift. “Do you need the instructions?” I asked him. But he scoffed, “I don’t need instructions!” I didn’t realize that reading the instruction manual wasn’t “manly.”

There was also the time we bought a new grill, and Justin just had to put it together that same afternoon. This time, he did refer to the instructions, although I’m not sure how much they helped. The diagram made it look like he was assembling some hydraulic components on a rocket. “Oh. My. God,” he said as he stared wide-eyed at the picture. I settled in on the couch and got comfortable. This was going to be a great show. During the course of the assembly, there was some swearing, and his shirt came off about halfway through. But somehow, he managed to put it together in about an hour and a half. I’m not going to lie – I was pretty impressed.

Justin is also the official grass cutter of the household. Growing up, my sister and I never cut the grass. Neither did my mom. My dad did it because he always thought that was something he should do. I was fine with that, and I’m fine now with letting Justin do the mowing and weed-whacking. Besides, I don’t trust myself when it comes to using bulky machinery with rapidly moving blades. In addition to doing outside work, Justin is also pretty handy around the house with plumbing, painting and general repair work.

But perhaps the best thing about Justin is that even though he’s very much a man’s man, he’s a gentle romantic at heart. I recall a time before we were married that I told him about the pictures my mom took of me while my hair was growing back after chemo so I could document my hair growth progress. He said he’d like to see them. While I find the photos pretty amusing, I wasn’t sure what he would say. But after we flipped through all of them, he simply looked at me, smiled, and said, “I love you.” And one thing I noticed about him that I loved right away was that he treats me the same way in public as he does in private. He’s not afraid to hold my hand, kiss me or say he loves me in front of our friends.

Maybe he takes a lot of good-natured ribbing from me in these columns, but I am definitely one lucky girl to have him. Now if only I could figure out some way to rid him of his ridiculous love for the Steelers, he might be darn near perfect!