I never thought I’d ever be a middle-aged suburban housewife, but here I am and it’s no ‘Desperate Housewives’ where I live. As far as I know, no one is sleeping with anyone else’s husband or wife. No one has killed anyone in the neighborhood. A plane hasn’t crashed into our Christmas block party. Come to think of it, we’ve never had a Christmas block party. Boy, are we dull!
I grew up in a small town where we didn’t have suburbs. Suburbs were for large towns and rich people.
You know, living in the suburbs is a funny thing. Men, when living in the city think of grass as either a place to tee up their golf ball or let their dog unload, are suddenly obsessed with it once they transplant to the suburbs. You will find them down on their hands and knees inspecting each blade of grass for some exotic sounding disease like ‘metamorphaguritate’ with translates into, literally, bugs eating your grass.
Hardware stores were invented to keep men off the lawns so their wives can call in an expert (preferably one who looks like Bradley Cooper). It doesn’t matter to the wives if the lawn is dead or alive as long as they can get Bradley Cooper to come and take his shirt off.
My husband will spend hours browsing the aisles of the local hardware stores in search of the perfect ‘screw’. Apparently there are approximately 1,098 different types of screws and you are guaranteed that either (a) the store will be out of the one you MUST have to finish a project that has taken a month to put together and will fall apart in the night without it or (b) that particular screw is no longer manufactured in the U.S. and must be special ordered, which will then be sent on a slow boat from China.
One Christmas, Santa brought our children a swing set. And not just ANY swing set. This was the ‘Futuristic 5000’. I wonder what happened to the other 4999?
Anyway, I took our kids to grandma and grandpa’s so he could spend the day assembling it. Apparently that number also applies to the amount of small, mostly mislabeled pieces that came in the box. (I guess they might have been correctly labeled if anyone of us could read Chinese.)
He carefully laid out the pieces, according to the chart, deciding this would be a ‘piece of cake.’ Turned out to be the project from hell. He spent six hours assembling the frame before he discovered he had to attach the overhead brace to the slide BEFORE the platform. He discovered three hours later that he’d used the screws that attach the overhead fort for attaching the legs.
He was finished when we got home. It looked like it had been assembled by Picasso or a monkey on crack. Strangely enough, the kids loved it! At least it was one of a kind and we had enough screws left over to finish the playhouse he started the summer before!
That little project involved at least two dozen trips to town for wood, nails, glue, paint, gloves, bandages, buckets, hammers, a new table saw, a tetanus shot, saw horses, shingles, felt, a chalkboard, kid-size furniture, wiring, and a trip to the emergency room when he tried to hook up the electricity himself.
You think I could get the hardware store to take out a restraining order against him?
Life is definitely different for the suburban wife, too.
My first duty, I have found, is to join as many clubs as I can. This seems to be a badge of honor to be able to brag about how many clubs you belong to, how many committees you’re on (bonus points for being chairwoman) and how many hours you spend sewing rags to looks like bears for the local hospital or homeless shelter.
One of my clubs is “Overseas Aid to the Charity Du Jour” where we stuff boxes to send to the needy. I guess people who live in poor, underdeveloped areas can never have too many tiny bottles of shampoo, conditioner and mouthwash. That’s mostly what ends up in our boxes, along with tiny bars of soap that don’t last through one shower, unless you’re extremely small. Do you ever wonder if the people who receive these care packages wonder if people in the U.S.A. are really that small?