Tuesday, May 3, 2011

housewifery for boys

Yesterday, I was super housewifey.  Kathy needed to run an errand on the Upper West Side on her way to work, which I recalled at the last minute was not actually on the way to work anymore, now that she has to take the train instead of driving.  So I drove her in, waited while she did her errand, and then drove her to work.  I got home, and straightened up the whole, entire house (which mostly involved picking up the most random assortment of toys and stuff I would consider garbage but have been told is not, and putting it on the bed of the appropriate child, for him or her to take care of after school).  I then drove to the grocery store, realized I forgot my purse, drove home, drove back to the grocery store, and bought food for a family of five for an entire week for just over $100 (that is cheap, for those of you who do not regularly shop for five people).  After that, I drank wine and made this fancy Food Network dinner (resisting the urge to cut down on the heavy cream and butter).  While wearing an apron.  With chickens on it.

Today, though, I did some plumbing.  Not kidding!  Remember way back when our pipe burst because we had not shut off the water to the sprinklers for the winter (for two years, actually -- whoops)?  Well today, I hack-sawed off the broken piece of PVC pipe, drove myself to Home Depot with all the shattered pieces, and matched them up to stuff I found in the plumbing aisles.  There was an actual, real plumber there who was buying some supplies, and he gave me a few pointers (which worked, and I think saved me about $30, because I was able to salvage a big brass thingy -- an official plumbing term -- instead of buying a new one).

After my Home Depot trip, I was sitting on my front steps, chipping glued-on PVC pipe out of the brass thingy with a screwdriver, when the little boy who lives across the street rode up on his bike to see what I was doing.  "Plumbing," I said, "I have to chip all this stuff out of here so I can put a new pipe in, then I have to glue those pieces over there together."

"You're like the boy.  You do all this stuff, and the mulch, and you're always mowing the grass,"  he said.  Which is true, I do all those things.  Still, his comment was kind of amusing to me, because my mom was a homemaker, and she definitely did the grass-cutting, the garbage-taking, and a lot of other "masculine" housework, so this just kind of went with the territory to me when I decided to stay home.  While I was pondering this, he asked, "Where's Kathy?" 

"At work," I replied.  Which I think confused him even more, her being out breadwinning and all.

That temptation to categorize one half of a same-sex couple as the "boy" and the other half as the "girl" seems to run strong, especially in kids, who really like everyone to fit into boxes.  C, who is 5, has also tried to figure out whether Kathy or I is the "boy."  He goes back and forth on it, depending on who has most recently done something masculine and whether one of us is wearing a dress.

Anyway, the boy's mom walked up then, and we got chatting, so I didn't get to remind him that neither Kathy nor I is the boy.  Which is kind of the whole point.

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