By Lisa Curry
The year 2008 brought big changes to the Curry household. After 22 years with the same company, Mr. Curry (a.k.a. my spouse) joined the growing ranks of America’s unemployed as a result of corporate merger/acquisition. After 10 years of freelancing and part-time employment, Mrs. Curry (that’d be me) rejoined the full-time workforce, primarily to gain health insurance coverage and avoid those COBRA premiums that would eat up all Mr. Curry’s severance.
Now, I am not and never have been a lesbian, but I always thought it would be a fine thing to have a wife. Not a wife like me, who hates housework and can always think of a dozen more important things to do, but one of those housewifely wives who cooks and cleans.
And guess what. Now I have one. It’s Mr. Curry, who has turned out to be a way better wife than I ever was. (Although he prefers to refer to himself as “Lisa’s bitch.”)
I leave for work in the morning before the kids are out of bed. After I’m gone, Mr. Curry wakes them up, makes their breakfast, and gets them on the school bus. And when I say he makes breakfast, I mean he actually cooks breakfast, and not in the toaster or microwave like I always did. The other morning he got up early and baked a batch of big, sticky cinnamon rolls in time for me to have one fresh out of the oven before I left for the office.
After the kids leave for school, he gets on the computer, searches for job opportunities on monster.com, and applies for ones that look likely. Then he cleans. And when I say he cleans, I don’t mean he just washes the dishes and vacuums.
First he cleaned out the silverware drawer. Took out all the cutlery, vacuumed out the crumbs and such, wiped it thoroughly, and put all the cutlery back in. I think the last time I cleaned the silverware drawer was when we moved into this house five years ago.
Two weeks ago, he took on the linen closet. Now we don’t have to use one blue pillowcase with the floral sheets because the other floral pillowcase is missing in action somewhere in a tangled jungle of linen. All towels and sheets are folded and stacked on the shelves in orderly, color-matched sets.
Last week he tackled the cabinet in the bathroom vanity. No more ooey-gooey bottle of Nyquil that expired six years ago under a heap of assorted bottles and jars. All medicine, bubble bath, hair gel, and other personal-care items are lined up in tidy little rows on a pristine surface.
Today his conquest was the kitchen pantry. I received an email at work from him that said, “Found something in a produce bag that was very flat and brown but otherwise unidentifiable underneath about 3,000 plastic Giant Eagle bags. I expected it to stink, but surprisingly, it doesn’t.” I suspect the unidentifiable substance was potatoes or onions, because any other kind of produce would surely have been in the refrigerator. I also suspect it didn’t stink because it’s petrified, like fossilized dinosaur poop.
When I come home from work at the end of each day, the children’s homework is all done, the pets are fed, and Mr. Curry has dinner simmering on the stove. Frankly, I don’t know how he manages it. When he worked and I was home, the kids and I were always still wrangling over their homework when he walked in the door, the dogs and cats were yowling to be fed, and we rarely ate dinner before 8 p.m.
Would I like Mr. Curry to find a job? Well, I can pay the bills, but if we’d like to send our children to college or retire someday, we’re going to need his income, too. And I know it isn’t very much fun for him being stuck home alone all day while the kids are at school – believe me, I’ve been there. Once he’s vanquished all the hidden messes in our house and figured out which aisle the Giant Eagle stocks the pancake syrup in, what’s left to give purpose and meaning to his life? So, yes, I guess I want Mr. Curry to find a job.
But maybe not just yet. And in the meantime, like a 1950s husband, I’ve got it made.