Hapless Husbands

22 Nov

I have been married for more than 18 years. Before you congratulate me, consider that a great deal of staying married is simply being too unmotivated to get unmarried. When the going gets tough, and the going can get pretty tough sometimes in nearly two decades, I have defaulted to a “well, let’s just wait and see what happens here” attitude. So far, the going has gotten much better. Of course, it hasn’t been easy but a little patience and a lot of forgiveness have kept this institution intact.

In addition to patience and forgiveness, there has been a lot of humor in my marriage. Most of it has been intentional. But, I’m fortunate to be married to a man who also does some really stupid stuff.

I understand that it takes a special kind of woman to air her husband’s stupid laundry. I am that kind of woman, but I’m not alone. I’ve found that many other women live with husbands who do really stupid things. I do not mean to exclude gay couples. I am sure that there is a lot of stupidity in every relationship, gay or straight. I can only report on what I know, so if you live with a person who does stupid things but isn’t your husband, just insert that person’s name where appropriate here.

Laundry seems to be the source of a lot of stupid things that husbands have done. My own husband has shrunk cashmere sweaters. He has turned white loads pink. He has failed to remove paper tissues that wound up in tiny pieces all over black pants and shirts. In fairness, these aren’t truly stupid things; they are just the actions of an uneducated launderer.

I have a friend whose husband believes that he knows how to use bleach. He adds bleach to the laundry and to the wash water for the dishes. He has bleached silver-plated cutlery. The cutlery didn’t like it. Once, their dog retched on an antique wool rug. He used bleach and the garden hose to clean it. The rug didn’t like it. My friend didn’t like it.

I think a lot of the things that my husband does he does out of ignorance, but some things he just doesn’t think through. Instead of emptying the wastebaskets then taking the trash to the curb, he took the wastebaskets to the curb. I didn’t notice the problem until, on trash morning, I went to throw out a tissue in the powder room. I turned, tossed the tissue and watched it land on the floor. Putting two and two together, and knowing the garbage truck was due any minute, I ran to the curb. I was too late. The garbage man, who is probably someone else’s hapless husband, took the wastebaskets. I no longer own decorative wastebaskets.

I have another friend whose husband isn’t so much stupid as he is a little lazy. While mowing the lawn, rather than move his baby daughter’s new purple ball, he nudged it with the mower. The baby cried for hours after watching shreds of purple plastic rain down on the lawn. My husband once kept our infant son in his wind-up swing for five hours. It was his first experience caring for our son on his own while I went out. He was confident everything would be fine. I left, had fun and came back home five hours later. When I left, the baby was in the swing. When I came home, the baby was in the swing. Every time the swing wound down, my husband would wind it back up again. He claims our son suffered no ill effects. I say tell it to the therapists we’ve been paying for since he was five.

I’ve heard of lots of husbands who pretend to be asleep. My own husband does this when the children come into our room in the morning. He has the kids fooled, but not me. Even when I tell them they can get Dad to make their breakfast because Dad has arms and legs and is just pretending to be asleep, they leave him lie. They claim he is grumpy in the morning. Maybe I’ll start telling them to shut up, go away and make their own darn breakfasts.

I know of a husband who pretended to be asleep through an entire burglar alarm malfunction. The alarm malfunctioned. The husband slept through. The wife reset the alarm. The alarm malfunctioned again. The wife reset it. The alarm malfunctioned again. And again. And again. The husband slept. The wife looked up the problem on the Internet. She attempted the fix suggested. It didn’t work. The husband slept. The wife tried shutting off the appropriate circuit breaker. In the process, she caused every clock alarm in the house to go off, except the one by her sleeping husband. The burglar alarm still wouldn’t shut up. The husband still slept.

Eventually, the wife, accompanied by their daughter, dug through the cobwebs in the basement, moved the refrigerator in front of the burglar alarm control panel, then discovered she needed a flat-head screwdriver. The husband slept. The wife could not find a flat-head screwdriver, so used the end of a saw blade to open the box, find the battery and end the beeping siege. The beeping husband slept on.

My favorite stupid husband trick involves the slightly lazy purple-ball mowing husband. He lives in a beautiful old house that has a wood-burning fireplace. On occasion, the odd bird will fly down the chimney and need assistance in leaving the home. My husband, when asked how he would handle the situation, said he might open all of the windows in the family room and swat at the bird with a broom until it got the hint and flew away. Not too stupid, I thought, and the kids would love the show.

My friend’s husband, though, is not just lazy, but inventive. Faced with the bird, he did indeed get a broom. Then, he held the broomstick out to the bird and spoke encouragingly to it, hoping to entice it to hop on the handle. He has become, of course, the butt of many a family joke. I can picture his wife and children taunting him with, “Here, Birdie, Birdie, Birdie. Hop on the nice stick, Birdie.”

Having dumped on my husband and the husbands of others, I suppose its only fair to reveal my own stupidities. I have slept through picking up my daughter at preschool. I continue to expect my son will spontaneously hug me and say, “I really love you, Mom. Thanks for all you’ve done for me.” I let my children convince me we needed a cat.

The dumbest thing I’ve done though is arguing with my mother-in-law. For years, she pushed every button I had and I let her. Dumb, dumb, dumb. I eventually smartened up and got along with her for the last year of her life. For years, my husband forgave my stupidity. Pretty smart guy, huh?

Copyright 2010 Janice M. Lindegard. All rights reserved.

4 Responses to “Hapless Husbands”

  1. Elaine November 22, 2010 at 9:41 pm #

    The purple ball story made me laugh out loud! Gee, I can think of somebody else who would attempt that sort of “genius” maneuver. The same one who will sit in a dark room with a burnt out light bulb for ages rather than just change the dang thing! Oh yeah, I forgot, that’s what the magical light bulb fairies are for. 🙂

    • jmlindy422 November 23, 2010 at 6:31 am #

      I want that fairy at my house!

  2. Beverly November 23, 2010 at 12:21 am #

    My husband has washed three cell phones in the laundry, and hopped into the pool with one in his pocket — all in the span of about two years. When we replaced the last one, he said “Maybe I need an iPhone.” I haven’t yet stopped laughing (or gloating as I gleefully play Angry Birds on MY iPhone). He can’t figure out how to access his email on a computer, let a alone a phone. I think the term smartphone refers to something you must be to own one. He does not qualify. Sucks to be him.

    • jmlindy422 November 23, 2010 at 6:33 am #

      Beverly, LOL!!! My nephew is on like his third or fourth phone. He eats them, or something. I have to admit to boiling a cordless land line phone once. THAT was a story!

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