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How Many Husbands Does It Take to Change a Light Bulb?

April 22, 2012

Man Changing Light BulbThis, of course, is a ‘trick’ question.  Every husband is unique, every household different, every light, and every bulb, has its own story. In my case, we’re talking about the fluorescent bulb that goes in the top of my kitchen stove, and my absolutely wonderful husband who never quite gets around to doing some of the ‘small tasks’ around the house that he tells me not to worry about (because he’ll get ‘around to it’ … eventually).

I know women who keep a ‘job jar’ or a ‘honey do’ list for all the little jobs they want their husbands to execute in their ‘spare time’ (assuming, of course, they can agree on what, exactly, constitutes ‘spare time’).  Job JarIn my household, we don’t write these things down – I point out tasks I’d like to see done (things I can’t do myself and/or things he deems ‘too dangerous’ for me to undertake, or things he considers ‘man’s work’), remind him once (or twice), and hope for the best.  I do admit to having a mental ‘Honey-if-you-don’t-do-it-I-will-and-then-you’ll-be-pissed-off’ list, but I only reference it on the rare occasion when I simply can’t let something go any longer.

Case in point – the stove bulb.  This is the light we leave on at night (so anyone who needs a drink of water, or an aspirin in the middle of the night can find their way to and from the kitchen safely, and so my husband has illumination when he gets up at the ungodly hour of 4:30 or 5:00 a.m. several mornings a week).  When it burns out (which it has done only twice in twelve years), we have to resort to an alternative (the incandescent light in the fan above the stove, or the much brighter ceiling fixture – both of which are less efficient and which burn out more quickly). Being both environmentally conscious (not to mention cheap), I don’t want to wait too long to replace this particular bulb.

Stove BulbSo when I flipped the switch about six weeks ago and nothing happened, I immediately mentioned it to my husband. He said he’d pick up a replacement the next time he was in Canadian Tire. Weeks passed.  I mentioned the problem once or twice (okay, maybe several times), to no avail. There was always an ‘excuse’ (he hadn’t been to Canadian Tire; he forgot; he was busy with classes and exams and marking; he’d get ‘around to it’ eventually).  Finally, my patience exhausted, I wrote down the number of the bulb, took a side trip to Canadian Tire while running some other errands, and bought the bulb myself.  My husband was a little miffed (as husband’s tend to be when they’re caught squelching on a promise – even something as simple as picking up a light bulb), but the light’s back on in the kitchen!

Now, I should point out here that my husband is a particularly handy guy to have around. He has a good job (he’s a computer science professor), and he works hard to ‘bring home the bacon’ (which is why I could leave my teaching job to dabble in the craft of writing full time).  He’s also a particularly skilled ‘car guy’ who takes care of all the maintenance on both our vehicles, and he’s pretty handy when it comes to basic electrical and plumbing repairs around the house. Man Doing Laundry He single-handedly (well, I helped a little) built two fences on our property, and a second-storey deck on the back of the house. He’s takes care of yard work (raking and blowing leaves, assembling outdoor furniture, digging holes, removing snow), and he can be relied on to assist with basic gardening chores whenever I ask.  He does his own laundry as well as the bed sheets (and he makes a bed to military spec), washes the dishes after supper every night, and builds, upgrades, and troubleshoots problems with our computers. He’s supportive, reliable, and trustworthy, and I love him like crazy. So – he already checks a lot of the boxes for me!

However (and you knew there was going to be a ‘but’ or a ‘however’, didn’t you?), there are occasions with all this just isn’t enough.  Don’t get me wrong – I’d never trade him in (I upgraded once – that’s enough for me!) but I can’t help wondering what it would be like to have a man (or men) around the house who could do everything a woman could want, without calling in a contractor or an electrician, or visiting a chiropractor or a massage therapist, or paying too much for a haircut or to get the cat’s nails trimmed. 

Never mind ‘a man for all seasons’, I want ‘a man for all reasons’!!!!

In 1996, Michael Keaton and Andie McDowell stared in a movie called ‘Multiplicity’, about a man (overworked contractor Doug Kinney, the Michael Keaton character) who agrees to let himself be ‘xeroxed’ (by a research doctor he was doing some work for) so that he can have more time for himself (and purportedly to spend with his wife, Laura, the Andie McDowell character).  Multiplicity: Doug and his clonesWhen his clone turns out to be the personification of Doug’s ‘manly’ side (immediately taking over Doug’s construction business – leaving Doug with plenty of time for leisure activities like golf), Doug naturally thinks ‘If one clone is good, two would be even better’.  The second clone embodies Doug’s more ‘nurturing’ side (spending his time cooking, cleaning, and bonding with Laura).  Things go wrong (naturally – it’s a comedy, after all) when the clones decide to take a page from Doug’s book and get cloned themselves (and we all know what happens when you make a photocopy of a photocopy, right?)  In the end, of course, the ‘real’ Doug gives the clones the old heave ho, rebuilds his relationship with his wife (who – even though she ended up in bed with each of the clones – never caught on to the whole ‘four Dougs are better than one’ set-up), and becomes a better man for having gone through the process.

It was a fun movie but I’ve often wondered what would happen if you really could clone yourself (or someone close to you – a husband, say)? (And, honestly, are we that far away from actually being able to do it? It’s a very scary thought, I know, but stay with me, please).  What ‘options’ would you check if you could duplicate (and ‘improve’, so to speak) yourself or your partner?

ContactorFirst off, I think I’d like to do what Doug Kinney did – get a contractor version of my husband (no offence to my current contractor, Rod, who did a fabulous job on two bathrooms, the kitchen, the basement, and the floors in the spare bedrooms – but think of the money I could have saved).  Having my own ‘home handyman’ who wasn’t afraid to tackle any task around the house – and had the skills and tools to do it right – would be awesome. 

Man Doing HouseworkFor my second clone, I think I’d also follow Doug’s line of thinking.  I HATE housework (so much so that my ‘real’ husband retreats to the garage and locks himself in whenever he sees me dragging out the vacuum and/or the cleaning supplies, and I’m far too cheap to hire someone to clean my house for me) so having a husband clone who’d gladly keep my house spic and span (not to mention perfectly decorated) would be very freeing.  It would also be really nice if he could cook (burgers on the barbeque are one thing, but a nice duck confit or homemade waffles on a Sunday morning would be truly fabulous). 

HairdresserNumber three would need to be trained in massage therapy, chiropractic care, and physiotherapy. Not only could I save hundreds of dollars a year in treatments, but I wouldn’t have to leave home to keep my aging body from falling apart and/or feeling good. And I suppose while I’m at it (and since I wouldn’t need ‘body services’ 24/7) I would add veterinary care to the mix, and maybe a hairdressing option as well.

On The BikeUltimately, my ‘real’ husband might want his own ‘made to order’ clone as well – one who could prep his classes, teach his courses, do his marking. That would leave him plenty of time to tinker with his engines in the shop (his passion), ride his motorcycle, and catch up on his reading.  It would also give him a lot more time to spend with his wife – who would suddenly have a lot of spare time on her hands over here on … the other side of 55.

Spending Time Together

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4 Comments
  1. April 23, 2012 7:41 pm

    Unfortunately cloning isn’t possible yet, and polygamy is frowned upon!
    If I asked my husband to do a job that involved a trip to Canadian Tire, he would be heading out the door to go shopping before I had finished my sentence!

    • April 24, 2012 1:09 pm

      I don’t think I’d want to try handling a bunch of husbands with different personalities … so polygamy’s not an option. 🙂
      Whenever my husband ‘needs’ to go to Canadian Tire, he tries not to tell me; he wants to get in, get what he needs, and get out, but when I go, I want to wander around and look at stuff and he doesn’t understand that at all!

      Margo

  2. April 22, 2012 2:47 pm

    Funny and so fun. My mother gave my husband a round piece of plaster with TUIT written in the middle. Get it? A round TUIT? I was so afraid my husband would get angry with his MIL’s “gift”, but he took it in stride and laughed along with her little practical joke. This is a great little piece ’55! Boy, can I relate.

    • April 22, 2012 4:49 pm

      My husband told me that he used to have a ’round TUIT’, but he lost it. I suppose that should have been my first clue that he’d have trouble getting ‘around to’ doing some things!

      Margo

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