When I married DH (Dear Husband) nearly 40 years ago, he came with the expected bachelor baggage — mismatched dishes; heavy "he-man" furniture; hand-me-down linens.
And a house.
DH had the foresight to purchase a home, in the late 1970s, pre-Anne. Shortly after our wedding, he altered the deed to include me — "for love and affection," it said.
That was the county's suggested reason for joint ownership. Not sure what DH's reason was or would be now.
We were second owners of that house, a tidy little tract constructed abode that eventually sucked us dry in repairs. Twenty years later, we threw in the towel and moved into a newly built home in southwest Gresham. The paint was fresh; woodwork was unmarred; the appliances had never been used, and there wasn't a fir tree in sight to clog the gutters.
DH thought he had died and gone to heaven — repairing anything beyond a battery in his rooftop weather station was a thing of the past.
But two decades have begun to take their toll on the no-repair-needed happy house. The trim needs a facelift; one shower head can only cough a skinny stream of water; and an entire section of the backyard fence blew over during a recent windstorm.
DH has the skills for fixer-upper stuff — he was a steamfitter for more than 40 years — he just lacks the desire.
Until a damp spot appeared on the carpet in the dining room doorway.
Generally, retirees aren't impacted by a sense of urgency. Unless a wheel falls off the golf cart, there's always tomorrow. So when the wife points out that the hardwood flooring in the kitchen feels and sounds like a sponge, you're really left with two options — "love and affection" or call somebody.
Not one to easily open his wallet, DH crawled into the cabinet under the sink. He discovered a pipe had separated, spewing water between the flooring and subflooring. My contribution wasn't so much in the handing-him-tools department than increasingly less-than-gentle reminders he could hire someone better suited to fit into small spaces.
Over the course of two days, DH spent so much time at the home-improvement store, the employees thought he was a new hire. We had enough Teflon tape and chunks of pipe to re-plumb an entire building. Nonetheless, Bob the Re-Builder had successfully replaced the pipe and buttoned up the now dry crawlspace under the house. But glaring at me while he pounded Advil, it was clear where he stood on that "love and affection" thing.
Anne Endicott is a columnist and special-sections editor for The Outlook, Sandy Post and Estacada News.