Careers, affairs, and other marital considerations

Peggy holds the most respected job in America, and I the most despised. Registered nurses outrank doctors and professors. Househusbands fall below politicians and car salesmen. Indeed, most people don’t believe househusbands exist; they think we are simply men who mooch off our wives. Such was how my mother saw it; she called Peggy my “meal ticket.”

I got the job in 1978 after I built our house in the Mississippi woods. The plan was for Peggy to work and for me to do everything else, which at the time included gardening, preserving foods, adding finishing touches to the house, and working part-time as a writer, carpenter, candle-maker, and housepainter. After we moved to Oregon in 1986, I continued being the houseperson, but I also continued taking outside work, although Peggy never liked it because she had to help with the chores. My last job was as an on-call handyman for an office suite; when my boss left in 2001, I did too.

A major part of my househusband tenure has been remodeling the houses we’ve owned, and this points to one of the awkward aspects of my job. Namely, it doesn’t have an adequate label. Househusband implies cooking, cleaning, and doing laundry; but not remodeling, yard work, investment management, and car care. When I am asked what I do, I either have to go into a long description or offer an inadequate title. Now that I’m sixty, I just tell people I’m retired. Not that they ask much anymore because they assume I’m retired based upon how frigging old I look.

Women who understand how much I do for Peggy often ask her if they can borrow me for awhile—or they tell me that they would like to take me home with them. Peggy doesn’t know how to scan a credit card because I do the shopping. She doesn’t know how to look up a library book because I get them for her. She has no idea how to go anywhere because I either take her, or I go with her and give her directions. I set my mental clock each night so she won’t have to wake her up to an alarm. I make her bed; I cook her breakfast; and when she comes home, I have her supper ready. If she needs an appointment, I arrange it. If she needs business transacted, I do it.

I went to the dentist with her on Wednesday and held her hand while she was having her teeth cleaned. On Thursday, I sat by her side during her bone density scan and learned as much I could about osteoporosis. Later that day, I went to the doctor with her because she had a blocked salivary gland—I did most of the talking. Prior to these visits, I filled out her medical forms and printed an updated copy of her medications. Afterwards, I took her home, and then I picked-up her prescription.

I take care of Peggy like she is a cross between a child and the queen of England. In return, I don’t have to deal with the hassles of pleasing an employer, and I can schedule my time pretty much as I wish. Other than societal disrespect (which really isn’t an issue anymore) my job only has four downsides. One is that I am dependent upon Peggy for my income and my health insurance, so if she should die or lose her job, times would be hard. The second is that I do all of my work alone and miss the feeling of being part of a team. The third is that my work hours aren’t clearly defined, so I always worry that I’m not doing enough. The fourth is that Peggy is my de facto employer, and she can be a hard woman to please.

For example, she recently had a Corian top made for a table in her bedroom, and I mounted it from below with four bolts and nuts. Peggy got down on the floor and, by moving her head from side to side, noted that the sides of the nuts were not lined up with the walls of the room. Most people would consider me a careful craftsman, but I never feel that I make the grade with her. It’s not that she gets upset or gives me a hard time; it’s just that she can’t let go of something until it meets her standards. Her hobby is collecting antique clothing buttons and arranging them on perfectly laid out cards, for god’s sakes. Extreme detail is her idea of relaxation; it is my idea of torture.

The more in touch I become with my own mortality, the more I try to teach Peggy things that she would need to know if she were alone, things about our finances or how to do stuff on the computer, for example. But Peggy is incredibly resistant to such information. Even though I’ve repeatedly shown her how to get to the dentist, her best guess this week would have landed her two miles away. It’s as if she thinks she can keep me alive by making me indispensable.

I’m just the opposite. I assume that she could die at any moment. I worry about her driving to work. I worry about her riding her bike. I worry about her flying across country to visit her family at Christmas. I worry about her skiing each winter. And I really worried about her climbing mountains. Yet, I have no control over these things.

Despite what might sound like a lot of hovering on my part, I never even try to say no to anything Peggy wants to do because it’s not my place to run her life; it’s my place to assist her in running her own life. She gives me the same freedom. If I decided to spend the next month camping alone in Montana, Peggy would support me. In past years, I’ve been gone twice that long and traveled thrice that far, but I’ve since lost all desire to leave home. Everything I value is right here.

Does this mean you regard Peggy as your soul mate?

I would say both no and yes. No, in that it’s a flawed concept. How many people did any of us get to know well enough to consider marrying before we chose the person we did marry? I had precisely three girlfriends after age 18 and before I married Peggy at 22. All three wanted to marry me, but Peggy was the only one I wanted to marry. How many women did I fail to check out before I married her? Millions. And what are the odds that I might have gotten along better with at least one of them? Probably thousands.

The way I see it, the goal isn’t to find the best woman in the whole world (whatever that means), but to find a damn good woman and love her as best you can. Sure, I’ve had girlfriends since I’ve been married (which means that my best hasn’t always been that good), and I’ve sometimes wondered if I wouldn’t be happier with one of them, but I always came back to the thought that Peggy is a woman of kindness, loyalty, intelligence, and integrity, whom I know well and with whom I am highly compatible in important ways. Ergo, how much sense would it make for me to run off with someone whom—in all honesty—the main things I know about are that she’s pleasing to look at, fun to talk to, and hot in bed? A new girlfriend always looks better than an old wife precisely because she is new; I know Peggy too well to build endless fantasies around her.

I could find half a dozen “soul mates” this afternoon alone based upon the wonders I saw (or imagined) when I gazed into their eyes. Lots of women look perfect, but it’s like the seasoned trail boss (Eric Fleming) used to say to his romantic young ramrod (Clint Eastwood) on the old TV show Rawhide!: “Rowdy, just because a woman looks like an angel; it don’t mean she is one.” I’ve found it difficult to wrap my mind around this concept, and the only reason I’m getting any closer is that my testosterone levels are on the decline.

Now for the yes. Inasmuch as the concept of a soul mate is valid, she—or he—is both born and made. I’ve been with Peggy for almost two thirds of my sixty years. Even if I should meet a woman with whom I felt such oneness that she seemed like myself in another body, she still wouldn’t know me the way Peggy knows me, and I still couldn’t give her my unreserved trust because I wouldn’t know her. It’s one thing to know what I’ve got, and quite another to know what I would hope to gain, and in this, as in all things, I live by the adage that, if something looks too good to be true, it probably is.

You might say that I’m not being very romantic, but I’m not writing about romance; I’m writing about what I’ve found to work in life. If I lived by romance alone, I’d probably be on my fifth marriage by now. Romance is like dessert wine. It’s great to enjoy but bad to get drunk on.

By the way, the picture was made in 1971.

58 comments:

Ananji said...

Agreed. Especially the last two paragraphs. And especially, especially "Even if I should meet a woman with whom I felt such oneness that she seemed like myself in another body, she still wouldn’t know me the way Peggy knows me, and I still couldn’t give her my unreserved trust because I wouldn’t know her." You're so right! Even our own biological family ceases to know us the way our spouses do after we've lived with them for a time. And even if we haven't lived with them, as in my case. (Commuter marriage, forever. Short on romance, but long on trust.) It's a partnership. Good partnerships are worth preserving.

As for the rest of your post, it all made me smile. As a writer myself, a work-at-home kinda girl who happens to be pretty resourceful and accomplished in spite of my humble social status, I'm confident in my contributions to the partnership. We work well as a unit: trust, companionship, enough fun to make it interesting, but not so much as to make it exhausting.

Although I think my testosterone level is dropping too, Snow. I've come to hate mowing the grass.

Thanks for your post. Always a pleasure to read you.

Blessings,
Ananji

CreekHiker said...

You make me smile. As for job title, you should always use "handyman." You don't have to explain who your main employer is!

southeastcountrywife said...

very intriguing thoughts and i particularly like the last line. i've been thinking along some similar issues lately and it's really interesting to see those thoughts written by somebody who is looking back rather than looking forward. thanks for writing!

geek said...

You remind me so much of my dad.

Mim said...

I've got one of these househusbands at home and I just love it. I do know how to get to the dentist, but would be useless with bills, fixing the house, shopping, cooking etc.

It's wonderful for me, but I know he often feels isolated and doesn't get those "attaboys" enought. but I truely love the arrangement - and am completely flexible about how he spends his time.

Pat - Arkansas said...

Interesting post, Snowbrush. I applaud you for your role. I know two wonderful "househusbands" without whom their wives would be up the creek without a paddle when it comes to taking care of routine housework. However, other than the fact that you've had 'muscle' and strength to accomplish some very physical demands,such as the building/remodeling, your other work load is not, I suspect, much more than what the average stay-at-home "housewife" does day after day after day.

How does the title "Household Engineer" grab you?

CAUTION: your sweet Peggy needs to wake up and smell the roses! She takes too many things for granted, and (loving criticism intended here) has allowed you to take care of a large number of things about which she does NOT need to be ignorant (finances, appointments, directions, etc.) Case in point: the husband of a dear friend and co-worker was unexpectedly stricken with heart attack that killed him within a couple of hours. I was with her at the hospital when he was pronounced dead. Through her tears, she told me that she didn't know if she had enough money to bury him; she had allowed him to handle ALL the finances from the time of their marriage, over 35 years, and had no clue (didn't even look at the bank statements)... just turned over her paycheck to him and didn't concern herself with anything to do with money. She had a very rude awakening after his death.

No one except God knows which spouse will be the first to die. It's much better if both are prepared, fully, to be the surviving spouse. - End of rant -

May God's blessings continue to be upon you and Peggy.

Snowbrush said...

Ananji "I've come to hate mowing the grass."

Never will I tire of that chore! Where else can a person make such an immense difference in appearance after so little time? Of course, it doesn't last long, but then what does?

Thank you so much for your thoughtful and kindly comments. I enjoy your blog too, but haven't made it over much lately, a lapse that I will blame on pretty weather, and that will be corrected.

Creekhiker "you should always use "handyman." You don't have to explain who your main employer is!"

Good point. I have used that appellation at times and without further explanation, but, like "houseperson," it is not as complete as I would like, and leaves me feeling a tad dishonest.

Southeastcountrywife "i've been thinking along some similar issues lately and it's really interesting to see those thoughts written by somebody who is looking back rather than looking forward."

Sounds like a blog entry--or two--to me.

Geek "You remind me so much of my dad"

Dare I say thank you?

Mim "I've got one of these househusbands at home"

Is yours a blogger, by any chance? Maybe we could form a club.

Pat "other than the fact that you've had 'muscle' and strength to accomplish some very physical demands...your other work load is not, I suspect, much more than what the average stay-at-home "housewife" does day after day."

Well, it HAS been like having two jobs at times. I also differ in that I can take care of problems that arise, things like replacing a water heater or fixing a stopped up drain that Drano won't do for. We rarely have to call in anyone.

Pat "No one except God knows which spouse will be the first to die. It's much better if both are prepared"

Absolutely, but, believe me, Peggy knows where the money is. What Peggy doesn't know is how to manage our affairs on a computer (which is how I do things as much as is possible). She often needs help with such minor things as copying and pasting much less navigating sundry websites with sundry usernames, passwords, security questions.

Pat "May God's blessings continue to be upon you and Peggy."

Thank you.

Winifred said...

Now you sound like a much better house-husband than mine was when he was unemployed a couple of times.

I tried not to criticise but he really couldn't iron, never did any decorating, watched too much daytime telly (sport) and I put on lots of weight because he cooked such lovely meals for me. Now I'm retired and he's working. Guess what? I'm good at the ironing but useless at the cooking and yes, I watch daytime telly too, but not the sport!

I love your honesty, you really do open up in your postings.

Chrisy said...

It's always a pleasure to come over here to visit and read about your life and reflections. Your honesty is the key ingredient for me. The hormones stuff can have such an impact on our lives - some positive, some not so...for myself I'm pleased mine have died down to a slow burn...

A Brit in Tennessee said...

I have worked with lots of career type women, and always noted they had help in the way of household staff, or it just never got taken care of.
Something has to give, when you work endless hours outside of the home, obviously it can't be the job if you are dependent on that income and health insurance. Peggy is extremely lucky to have you taking care of all that you do, it's almost a role reversal.
I work outside the home, but still take the role as main housekeeper, bill payer, errand runner, grocery shopper, appointment maker, head cook and bottle washer. I have never been comfortable having my husband in the role of househusband, I think it may be when and how I was raised.
You both seem Ok with your roles, kinda like the Yin and Yang, good on you !

geek said...

Haha! Yes. Well, if you were talking to me 4 years ago, then maybe no.

I respect my dad's choice of being a househusband. There were some difficult times for him before, and he stood up to his choice. Without doing so, our family might have never functioned well.

Like you and your wife, my mom and dad had worked complementary with each other. My dad at home, my mom at work. And I think it's a good strategy! Though, my mom had said that she's going to give my dad a chance once we are able to move, since my dad had been learning proper carpentry.

It depends on how it works for you. It seems like it does, so that's good.

JOE TODD said...

You and I have very similar situations but mine has changed some. My wife Linda (nurse) no longer works (disability) and is home with me. I am still covered under her insurance (cobra) but that will soon stop I've got a couple years til I'm 65 (insurance?) Really liked the last sentence in last paragraph. My Linda is my best friend and I'm grateful for that. Thanks Snow

Lisa said...

Hi Snowbrush, again, a great post, one that makes me think. You are an AMAZING husband. I wish I could type 'amazing" much bigger than it is here. Oooooooh, I'll try the html thing here....

You are a lot like my husband when I was working and he was out of work for a long stretch, I thanked God for how great he took care of things. If I were to die today, he'd go back to his old ways of paying the bills, b/c he doensn't know how to use a computer, etc., but he'd get along fine. If he died today, (God forbid), I'd be bereft and I'd regret not telling him all the things I appreciate about him and your post has motivated me to do it today, when he gets home from work. He has taken on a very intense job which will bring a lot of financial security and other things to the home so the pressure is off of me a bit, but the responibilities are going to shift again, and I will be doing more of the house stuff b/c he will be working more hours and the job (bus and train and trolley driver) is a lot more than people think.

Soul mates. I don't really believe in them per se, but I do believe that we mate with who we are supposed to. I feel so badly for my single friends. It is HORRIBLE out there for single people after 35. Peggy sounds like a great woman, please know she knows how much you do for her, it just slips her mind to let you know. The things and people we take for granted......

Snowbrush said...

Winifred "I love your honesty..."

Thank you, although it's hard for me to understand why writing honestly might be a challenge to anyone and therefore deserving of a compliment. Yet, people often do compliment me in this regard.

Brit "I have never been comfortable having my husband in the role of househusband, I think it may be when and how I was raised."

No matter your motivation, don't you feel a bit resentful that your husband has it so comparatively easy because you're out there busting your butt? Peggy and I grew up fundamentalist Christian Southerners, so I'm sure there's more to your mindset than how you were raised. I've known husbands who didn't want to help their wives, but I've never known a wife who insisted on doing it all herself. You intrigue me.

Geek "It depends on how it works for you. It seems like it does, so that's good."

If I had it all to do over, I might have made another choice. Maybe I would have chosen an academic path. The worse thing about my work is that it is oftentimes lonely.

Joe " wife Linda (nurse) no longer works (disability) and is home with me."

Joe, I didn't know about this. I hope you can afford insurance to tide you over between cobra and Medicare. One reason I am in something of a hurry to get my shoulders fixed is that I could very easily be in the same situation as you.

Lisa, thanks for sharing somewhat about your househusbandly experience. Despite it all, I think Peggy could survive without me more easily than me without her. Barring any outrageous medical expenses, I could survive financially, but emotional survival would be a greater challenge.

Anonymous said...

Hmmm. While I applaud all that you do at home and I agree that in an income-obsessed society such work is undervalued, I still find myself feeling a lot of respect for Peggy:

Sure, she may not know the way to the dentist's office (big deal) but I bet she can save a man's life with her bare hands.

Do I have the following points straight: you bring in no income AND have had extra-marital affairs? I'm not sure that a cooked breakfasts, dinners and a drive to the dentist quite makes up for that.

I think Peggy might be a bit more on the saintly side than you fancy yourself to be.

Just my 2 cents.

Lisa said...

Wow.

Snowbrush said...

Anonymous "I think Peggy might be a bit more on the saintly side than you fancy yourself to be."

Horrors! I implied that I'm saintly! Tell me where the offending passage is so I can pluck it out. Could it be that you took my lack of a defense as an indication that I consider myself flawless?

Lisa "Wow."

Not wow, Lisa, but woof. Woof, Lisa. WOOF!

Lisa said...

(Laughing).

A Brit in Tennessee said...

Snowbrush: I must clarify, my husband also works, outside the home. I'm not the only one bringing in the income, but I am the one who {cough} runs the joint.
I'm not that intriquing now am I..lol

robert said...

After answering, that I take care of the kid from the first day he's home, sleeping four, five hours etc., they asked my wife, to tell the truth...
Am indeed impressed by your writing and bow in respect of both its content and the being of its creater.

Diana said...

Hello Snowbrush,
I think it's wonderful what you do. But it sounds as though maybe things could be a little more 50/50? I run our house completely as my husband is gone two weeks at a time but all of our major decisions are made together. Always. Some repairs I can't do myself and thats when my husband steps in. He is the major source of income but I handle all of the finances after we both discuss them. I would say that it's pretty even with our marriage. Is it possible that Peggy might actually surprise you if left to do things on her own? Either way it sounds like it works for you so I wouldn't worry to much about the what if's.

Renee said...

Your handsome and Peggy is beautiful and boy oh boy can you ever write.

Great post.

Love Renee xoxo

geek said...

I wish you're happy with what you've chosen now. I can see how lonesome it can be. Maybe that's why my dad maximizes his time when he's with his friends.

If you're feeling lonely, always know that you have a lot of us here (in the cyberworld)willing to communicate with you. Even though we can't see each other in person, we enjoy interacting and exchanging thoughts with you in this space. I hope you feel the same way too.

rhymeswithplague said...

Snow, a pleasure as always to read what you have written. This one, in particular, rang my chimes.

Mrs. RWP worked as a registered nurse for 28 years. I have always been in awe of her abilities. We have been married for 46 of my 68 years. I identify, brother.

I enlarged the wedding pic and saw how you two looked at each other and you cannot convince me that the two of you are not soul mates. If I may be so bold (excuse, me ladies), on that particular day your nuts were definitely pointing in the right direction.

Nancy said...

My live has been the exact opposite. My husband worked and I took care of everything else. Now that he's home, I'm relieved the world doesn't revolve around him anymore. It's much more egalitarian.

nollyposh said...

When i have to write it down i put "Home duties" how boring is that!?! Being the "significant one at home" is so much more, as you have adequately described... We seem so insignificant when a title is required and yet we are the "glue" dear Snowbrush... and how would things be without the glue i wonder? Well damn well unstuck i say! and just how messy would that be! X;-/

Diana said...

Oh Snowbrush I forgot to tell you that I like to refer to myself as a"household engineer " instead of housewife. But I love what my husbands title is much better. He is a truck driver but we call it " freight relocation engineer"! It's all in the title baby!

Nora Johnson said...

Hi Snowbrush!

A very interesting post! And I know what it's like to have to attend to another's wishes... As you've noted, I'm PA to that very demanding bichon, Lola (In her case, she's NEVER satisfied with any of my efforts!)

Thanks so much for the link to Focusedonfur which I've just visited.

Hope you have a peaceful & relaxing (work-free?) weekend!

Nora:)

btw fascinated to read yr interests ranging from Schnauzers & suicide to skeptism & Schopenhauer! How more eclectic & catholic a list could anyone hope to find on a blog?!!

PS Have a follower in common - lovely Lola of Aglio...!

The Blog Fodder said...

Hi, Snowbrush. I followed you home from my blog and have now added you to my must read list. this column on marriage needs a broader readership. A househusband club is a good idea.
I know a couple of househusbands and everything is cool with them and their spouses. Why is is "normal" for the husband to work and the wife to stay home and do all that stuff, but wierd when it is vice versa? Why should it make a difference?

KC said...

Snow, Thanks for sending me over to Lola, the Bichon. I appreciate your thoughtfulness.

Your posts are always interesting and thought provoking. I think it would be interesting if Peggy would start a blog. I would love to hear her side of the story.

Retiredandcrazy said...

You walk to the sound of your own drum. Good for you. And what a blessing that your wife walks alongside you. Sod the rest of the world.

Nora Johnson said...

Hi, me again!

If you're having a gruelling weekend, why not pop over to my place & see something that might either amuse or send you straight to sleep!

And like KC says above, it would be interesting to have another viewpoint. (Incidentally, one novel I wrote told the story alternately from each partner's perspective. But that was of course fiction...)

I too find your blog so thought provoking & I'll be back again soon for more. In the meantime, I'm your newest follower!

Nora & Lola:)

Marion said...

The comment..."my work hours aren’t clearly defined, so I always worry that I’m not doing enough."...is exactly how I feel as a housewife. Much of how you feel is very similar to my own feelings about this situation.

It's such an honest post, as well. It sounds as if you and Peggy are a great couple.

I look forward to perusing through your blog, Snowbrush. Thank you for visiting mine and giving me the heads up about KJ. I hope to see you there!

French Fancy said...

I came to find out about you and the first post I read told me loads. You are so honest and open about your relationshipwith Peggy - as a good blogger should be really.

I once knew a lady whose husband had protected her so much that when she died she did not even know how to write a cheque out or put a card in an ATM. I hope Peggy goes before you (if you know what I mean)

#Debi said...

Very interesting post, Snowbrush. I came over, mostly, to thank you for all the encouraging words on my blog and the other one. Then I click over here and see that some of your favorite movies are Paint Your Wagon (Clint's best, IMO) and Blazing Saddles, and you like Baroque music. Better and better. Then I read this post and, although this sort of arrangement is somewhat foreign to me, you seem to have made it work well. Better still. As you say, you're not perfect, but then again, who among us are? (Of course, my response would be far less favorable if you were married to me, but you're not, so I can afford to say that, I suppose... :} ) Anyway, just wanted to say thanks, and I'll be back to read some more.

Pamela Terry and Edward said...

Such an interesting blog! Thanks for leaving me a comment and leading me here. I know I shall return and you are welcome over at our place anytime!

Barry said...

Wow,what a very interesting and thoughtful post.

I will be retiring (if I haven't already) in the very near future but Linda won't retire for another year. So I will soon be getting a taste of your experience.

pink dogwood said...

I was going to comment that I love the honesty of your posts. But you say that you hear it often and why should it be any other way? Because - not everyone can do that. I think no marriage is perfect and there is always some bad to balance out the good, but I always talk about the good part and choose to ignore the bad part - not sure if that is the best thing to do, but thats how it is for now.

Anyways, I think you are awesome and love the picture of you and Peggy.

Exmoorjane said...

AH, huge thanks for dropping by mine and telling that Bear what for!
Great post here - you sound like a wise and deeply nice man....
love your scrounging post too!
Jane

Joy said...

"Romance is like dessert wine. It’s great to enjoy but bad to get drunk on."

That is so true and such an effective way to express it!

Bella said...

what I wouldn't give for a househusband with skills, and nice teeth, and of course lots of charm in case he was slacking on his duties and all!

Suldog said...

Extremely insightful post. I enjoyed reading this, very much.

Congratulations on being mentioned at David's!

Gaston Studio said...

Congrats on POTD Contender Award, again.

I'd also like to say that I think compliment you on your honesty because it's kind of rare coming from a man.

Glad Peggy knows where the money is, but it's more important in knowing how to manage it. Either show her how to keep a hardcopy ledger or find her a good accountant so she's not left to her own devices in this area. She can always get a GPS to get around and hire someone to do the housework, but having the funds to do these things, comfortably, is most important... as I know from experience.

Jane

Brian Miller said...

wow. intriguing post..your last line tells a lot. congrats on the POTD mention over at David's.

Snowbrush said...

Brit "Snowbrush: I must clarify, my husband also works, outside the home."

I assumed he did, but this means that he has one job while you have two. Of course, it's your choice; and he might even be working 80 hours a week for all I know.

Robert "they asked my wife, to tell the truth..."

You might say that you're a legend in your own time, eh? One can but hope that people don't know how insulting such questions are.

Robert "Am indeed impressed by your writing and bow in respect of both its content and the being of its creater."

Among compliments I've received, this is surely one of the nicest.

Diana " all of our major decisions are made together."

That's true here too. Of course, a joint decision might mean that one of us leaves the particulars up to the other. For example, I've studied investing a great deal so Peggy, knowing that I'm steady and knowledgeable in that regard, leaves the details to me. If she were to decide she wanted to have a say regarding EVERY dollar invested, we would do things differently. In a way, that would make things easier for me in that the responsibility wouldn't be mine alone.

Renee, thank you for your kind words about Peggy and about my writing.

Geek "If you're feeling lonely, always know that you have a lot of us here (in the cyberworld)willing to communicate with you."

Thank you, Geek.

Rhymes "We have been married for 46 of my 68 years. I identify, brother."

The big FIVE-O is kind of breathing down your neck there. I don't look forward to mine because I never want to think of myself as that old. Old age will happen despite what I want, of course--unless I die.

Nancy " I'm relieved the world doesn't revolve around him anymore. It's much more egalitarian."

Excellent point, Nancy. As the houseperson, I'm definitely into the mindset of making things nice for Peggy. She's cutting back to a 24 hour week soon, so that will make my situation a little more like yours.

Snowbrush said...

Nollyposh "how would things be without the glue i wonder?"

If you and I were to come unglued, dear Nolly, it would not be a pretty sight, I would wager.

Diana " I like to refer to myself as a"household engineer "

To really impress them, try "domiciliary engineer."

Nora "btw fascinated to read yr interests ranging from Schnauzers & suicide to skeptism & Schopenhauer! How more eclectic & catholic a list could anyone hope to find on a blog?!!"

Too many interests, too little time, Nora.

The Blog Fodder " Why is is "normal" for the husband to work and the wife to stay home and do all that stuff, but wierd when it is vice versa?"

I think it goes back to primitive times when the workload was divided by whom was best suited to get it done. Nowadays, either gender can do most of what needs to be done equally as well, but changing jobs is easier than changing mindsets.

KC " I think it would be interesting if Peggy would start a blog."

I would like that, but Peggy doesn't even write postcards except under duress.

Retiredandcrazy "Sod the rest of the world."

And then plant petunias!

Nora "I'm your newest follower!"

Thank you, Nora. I will be adding you to the list of blogs that I follow. As you can tell by the fact that I'm having to answer 20 or more posts at once, I'm a bit behind.

Marion "The comment..."my work hours aren’t clearly defined, so I always worry that I’m not doing enough."...is exactly how I feel"

I've tried to think of some way to clock in and out, but I can't even decide what work should be counted and what work shouldn't.

French Fancy " once knew a lady whose husband had protected her so much that when she died she did not even know how to write a cheque out or put a card in an ATM."

Peggy's mother was that way, but, remember that, unlike her and the woman you referred to, Peggy goes out into the world everyday and works at a demanding job. The fact that she's accustomed to challenges would help her a great deal. Plus, I'm a careful documenter of business matters, so she would have every record she would need.

#Debi "my response would be far less favorable if you were married to me,"

I'm like a lot of things, I guess--better appreciated at a distance. LOL.

Pamela, Terry, and Edward, thanks for dropping by.

Barry "I will soon be getting a taste of your experience."

I would love to know how it goes for you.

Pink Dogwood "I always talk about the good part and choose to ignore the bad part"

People who can do that are people who are easy to get along with. I am not one of them though.

Exmoorjane "you sound like a wise and deeply nice man...."

Thank you. I really appreciate that. I don't know that anyone ever told me I was wise.

Joy, that last sentence to this post got other people's attention too. Thank you.

Bella "what I wouldn't give for a househusband with skills, and nice teeth, and of course lots of charm"

I get an A on the first, a B on the second (I have my teeth, but a lot of them are filled or crowned), and, well, I don't know what I get on the charm requirement. I think it would depend on my mood--maybe a C overall.

Why, Suldog, I haven't seen you in a coon's age--or you me for that matter--but I always enjoy our connections.

Jane "Glad Peggy knows where the money is, but it's more important in knowing how to manage it."

Here's the plan. A certain % in domestic index stock funds, a certain % in foreign index stock funds; a certain % in intermediate bond index funds; some more in CDs; and the rest in money markets. The funds are fixed, but the %'s is to be reallocated away from stocks and into bonds as we age. It doesn't take a brain scientist.

Brian, I'm delighted to have you drop by. Thank you.

Sonia ;) said...

I applaud the honesty of you and Peggy's relationship and dynamics of it. Once again buddy...I think house husband are very under appreciated it.

Smiles and Hugs
Sonia ;)

kj said...

hello snowbrush, i'm sorry it's taken me so long to get here. besides the emergence of blogland lane and being on vacation, one reason i often show up late is because i always want the time to read and savor your stories.

i had to laugh at how you described peggy's helplessness, and then you said she travels, skis, climbs mountains. that doesn't sound like a woman who wouldn't/couldn't figure out how to drive two miles to the dentist if she had to.

know one of the reasons i like you so much? you can't help writing about your personal life. me too.

i also have a loving and nuturing relationship, going on 25 years. we both work now, but there have been times when one didn't and we've usually been fine with that. jb and i just try to say 'yes' to one another as much as possible.

still, snowbrush, and let's be real here: there is something about new passion that doesn't keep quiet very easily. i am still trying to reconcile that, alone and together. i don't necessarily mean sexual passion, i mean passion-passion.

btw, i am really glad you turned up on blogland lane because i think there is more of a chance of becoming 'neighbors' in some way than there is through our individual blogs.

okay, i've written enough. oh, one more thing, your comment on my blog about missing me made me feel good.

xo
kj

Mim said...

Hi Snow - I wish my husband was a blogger - I think he would get a lot of support from the male house/life tenders out there. I don't think it's an easy or thankful job. Not to say I'm thankless, but sometimes I think it's nice to have a pat on the back from someone who doesn't have a vested interest in making you feel good (hope that sentence makes sense, it's early am) I always thank him for dinner and the obvious things but I don't often know about the bills getting paid, or the lawn guys coming or the plumber...and he get's no thanks for the unseen part of his job.

I get comments from other women all the time about how lucky I am to have someone like him. I agree, but hey...it's not a one way street. I work hard to keep us both able to have this type of lifestyle. He's rather lucky too.

I also worry a bit about him getting kudos from other women, who's husbands don't do all that stuff and getting into the "you're so great" routine with him. Ug - hate that shit, hate that feeling.

So advise me...how can I make a house husband feel like his job is worthy, or done well - aside from daily platitudes or daily sex?

kj said...

DAILY SEX???

oh mim....

:)

The Sagittarian said...

Crikey! 50 comments, I bet the last thing you need is another one!! Just thought I'd visit, tell you I think it's great that you can work at home etc. my husband is 10 years older than me and I think I'm his retirement option! I like your last paragraph best, thats it in a nutshell. Cheers!

Mim said...

I just close my eyes and think of england...

NOT!

Putz said...

the whole problem with being a house dad is that if you are not careful the wage earner will resent the housedad's interferrance in allocating moneys....my wife wants to spend ALL ot the $ left in 'THE' account to take all of her 13 kids, laws ,grqands to disneyland which would be her whole life savings of 36,ooo dollars ... this i say is unwise and she says mind your own busineesss....i would rather hire someone like snowbrush and redo the house, but the houseguy has no say, only the wage earner...what say yee, snowbrush...I WOULD APPRECIATE YOUR INPUT

babbler said...

Snowbrush,
I very much enjoyed reading this entry, it is a very important subject. Love is not just a romantic moment (the dessert wine) but it is the glass itself. Transparent with a solid base and a stem that has been held by the same loving hands for many sips!
I always enjoy visiting your place, I want you to know that you get this squishy slug brain of mine thinking deep thoughts when I read your posts!
Love and stemware,
Mrs. Slug

julie mitchell said...

Romance is like dessert wine. It’s great to enjoy but bad to get drunk on….
ummmm but so much fun….and a shame to live without.

Snowbrush said...

Sonia: "Smiles and Hugs"

Aw, shucks, Ma'am.

KJ: "that doesn't sound like a woman who wouldn't/couldn't figure out how to drive two miles to the dentist if she had to."

Right-o. Peggy is not weak of mind or body.

KJ: "there is something about new passion that doesn't keep quiet very easily."

Yep. It's like food when you're really, really hungry. You feel like you would scramble through a brier patch to get at it.

Mim: "I get comments from other women all the time about how lucky I am to have someone like him. I agree, but hey...it's not a one way street. I work hard to keep us both able to have this type of lifestyle. He's rather lucky too."

When people praise me too exorbitantly, I don't think they are seeing that it's a trade-off. Sure, we both have things easier because I stay home, but then we also have less money.

Mim: "So advise me...how can I make a house husband feel like his job is worthy...?"

Verbal appreciation is always nice. Peggy once said that she doesn't get it at work, so why should I want so much of it at home. She had a point, I thought, but part of what a marriage is about is correcting some of the imbalances and deficits that one encounters in the outside world.

KJ to Mim: "DAILY SEX???"

Do you mean to say, KJ, that YOU don't have sex every morning between 6:45 and 6:52, those precious moments between the time that the alarm goes off and the coffee is done brewing?

The Sagittarian: "my husband is 10 years older than me and I think I'm his retirement option"

And maybe even his nurse when one considers the difference between a 70 year old woman and an 80 year old man (assuming the poor old fellow is still alive).

Putz, I am sorry that you and your wife have different values about money. Peggy and I have no children and no grandchildren, so that makes it easier. We are also pretty well aligned in regard to how we value money.

We share her income 50/50. When she got a hobby that began costing more than I felt good about her spending, we agreed that she could spend as much as she wanted, but that I would get an equal amount to spend as I pleased. I put mine into stocks. No doubt, it will go to support both of us someday, but it's mine until then.

It doesn't sound as if there is any give and take in what your wife is doing, and that must make you feel undervalued. Maybe some counseling is in order? I wish I had more to offer. I really do.

Babbler: "Love is not just a romantic moment (the dessert wine) but it is the glass itself."

Either that or a plastic mug! I have no luck with fragile glasses.

Julie: "Romance is like dessert wine. It’s great to enjoy but bad to get drunk on….ummmm but so much fun….and a shame to live without."

Damn right, Julie.

Just_because_today said...

a housewife or househusband is a job seldom appreciated by the outside observer. Hopefully it is appreciated by the partner. It is a fulltime job where the shifts are continuous and no 401K offered.

dirt clustit said...

Damn dude!

I thought you should know that you have a twin (identical details in life and the situations it presents)

Good Luck out there friend