My husband grew up on a dairy farm in rural western Pennsylvania. As a result, he has many virtues. (I really do believe that there is a direct correlation between those two–growing up on a farm, having particular virtues. He, being a professor of philosophy, would probably say something philosophical about it, like that there is a necessary but not sufficient connection. I just call it how I see it.)
One of those virtues is that he likes manual labor–a virtue that, I think it is fair to say, is not normal for your average full-time academic.
Another of those virtues is that he is really handy.
These two things work well together when you buy a house that is old and in need of renovation. A lot of renovation.
For example, when debating whether we want to put a window unit air conditioner in our guest bedroom, this is how the conversation goes: Should we put a window unit in upstairs so that our guests this summer don’t die of heat? If we do, we’ll need to rewire the electricity in that room to handle the unit. We’ll also need to add an outlet on that side of the room, probably two. We could at least put a ceiling fan in there. Yeah, we have that old one from our room. It’s brass and looks like an old-lady fan. I don’t like brass or old-lady fans. We could repaint it. And we’ll also have to rewire the fan so that it works from the switch at the door. Yeah. Sure. Why not. We could put an a/c in that room.
And here we go again.
Yesterday, I found myself standing on the floor, handing various screws, nuts, bolts (whatever) up to J, who was standing on our guest bed, wiring the ceiling fan in question. A few minutes before that, he was crawling around in our 100-plus degree uninsulated attic, replacing all of the electrical wires. (Remember that he’s doing these projects in between trying to get scholarly articles published, attending required trainings, prepping for classes, and working in two community gardens, as well as our own. Whew.)
Needless to say, he’s pretty sweaty and tired, but he’s working on this ceiling fan, which by the way, he did spend the time to spray paint white because though I hate brass I am also a cheapskate and refuse to pay for a new fan when we have perfectly usable fans from the former homeowner. So I’m standing there, watching him work and sweat and rip off electrical tape with his teeth (okay, probably not).
And this is what I say to him:
“You are so awesome.”
Because he is.
And, as we approach seven years of being married, most of the time I don’t get scared when, like earlier this week, I open up the door to our downstairs bathroom and see this:
Because I know that means we’re going on a date this weekend…to the hardware store.