Household Word: The ‘H’ Word

A new business opened just down the street from my house. It’s called “Rent a Husband.” No kidding. Turns out, it’s not a stud service. It’s a place you can call to have a man with a truck come clean out your gutters or fix your backyard gate. My own husband jokes that since it’s called “Rent a Husband,” they probably send a guy over to watch basketball and fall asleep on your couch.


Frankly, if I was going to pay good money to rent a husband, I wouldn’t waste him on household chores. I’d rent one who liked to dance and bring him to my nephew’s bar mitzvah or get one who wouldn’t grumble about spending Friday night at the movies seeing that new romantic comedy with Pierce Brosnan.


But I already have a husband and even though I will have to wait until “Laws of Attraction” comes out on video and beg my husband  to dance at the bar mitzvah, he works cheap. Good thing, because when something breaks in our house, my guy doesn’t grab his toolbox, he reaches for his wallet.


It’s true, my husband is talented in many areas. He’s got a steady job, he can name the entire 1972 lineup of the Philadelphia Phillies and his grilled steak tips are perfection. But he isn’t handy. Neither of us is. In fact, at our house, it’s practically a profanity. We call it the “H” word. Handy.


ana; FONT-SIZE: 10pt">There are guys out there who are. I’ve seen them. They are at Cub Scout meetings where their sons race Pinewood Derby cars that look like they were engineered by NASA. The sleek lines are testimony to the dad’s professional wood shop and prowess with a lathe. Our son’s car is slopped with poster paint and festooned with Pokémon stickers. He made it all by himself. When the other kid’s car wins first place, the kid gets the  trophy – but it’s the dad who deserves it – for being handy. When our son’s car careens off the track, we tell ourselves that building character is more important than building a winning car. Lewis, whose character is still under construction, sulks in the backseat as we drive home.

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Tool Belt Envy

ana; FONT-SIZE: 10pt">Guys who are handy are like dogs in the snow; they leave their mark everywhere. They remember to put down the toilet seat, then stand on it to install skylights in the bathroom. They watch the NCAA playoffs and during half time they wire their family room for surround sound. When their Internet connection is down, they know how to get it back up. Handy guys see a problem and they get their drill bits. We see a problem and we get an estimate. It’s hard not to be a little envious.

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ana; FONT-SIZE: 10pt">In my neighbor’s back yard, there’s a tree house that my kids adore and that I covet. It’s got more square footage than my entire first floor. The kitchen is nicer too. That’s because the dad who lives next door to us is ... you guessed it, handy.

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ana; FONT-SIZE: 10pt">But, unlike the chickenpox or crabgrass, being handy isn’t contagious. You can’t catch it from your neighbors. Instead, you have to endure watching them tackle one fabulous home improvement project after another. New front steps, a backyard patio, bunk beds, a home theater. It’s exhausting.

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ana; FONT-SIZE: 10pt">“Dad, can you build a real batting cage in our back yard?” my son asks my cornered husband. “Joey’s dad made one and it’s awesome!”

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“Errr ... I’m not sure that we have room for something like that,” Harris stalls. “But if you grab your glove, we can have a game of catch.”


You know, it would be easy to rent a husband to build a batting cage in the yard or hire a hubby to install granite counter tops in the tree house, but I don’t think there’s any place where my kids could rent a better dad. Happy Father’s Day!