Home alone


Mr. Wonderful can never retire. There may be bloodshed.

No matter how much you love each other, I think that too much togetherness after 20 years together may be more than is strictly needed. I say this with love, but I need to miss a person.

Mr. Wonderful is wonderful and has always been a wonderful provider. He’s hard working, intelligent, and has worked his way up to some pretty great positions over the years. We have never gone without on his watch, and I salute him. He also works in an industry that is not currently thriving: manufacturing. Mr. Wonderful makes no bones about being the last of what appears to be a dying breed of people who make things.

Fix it

Fix things. Retrofit and repair things. Of people who travel and weld, fix, supervise, oversee production processes, demand safety, quality and discipline and most importantly, can pass any drug tests offered. This, these days, seems a rare breed indeed. Unfortunately, that breed is less and less in demand and valued as time goes on.

He has been out of work exactly six weeks in the entire 22 years I have known him. Four of those weeks just recently following a layoff. Let me assure you that no matter how much you love each other — too much togetherness may be too much of a good thing.


Taking advantage of the time, after seven years of holding on to the shingles waiting for the right time, Mr. Wonderful repaired the porch roof. You read that right: seven years.

They are finely aged. Like wine. To be fair, he was always willing, he just didn’t have time. If he did have the rare free day, I always opted for family over framing.

The good part about being laid off is you have more time. The bad part — you have no money. Since the shingles were already purchased, he set to work and had the roof all done inside of five days.

Working alone

He’s definitely not lazy. I am so happy to report that the porch roof looks amazing. The very next day, however, he was hanging a shelf for me in our upstairs bathroom (newly renovated two years ago). This was a small shelf weighing less than a half pound. Nothing to it really.

Lining up to drill into the studs, he said with complete confidence “I’m probably going to drill right through the water line for the shower behind this wall.” He laughed. I laughed. Such a kidder this one.

Then he proceeded to do just that. One zip of a tiny screw and the shower let out a gusty sighing sound like water escaping a broken line, and we looked at each other, wide eyed.


Seriously. I don’t even know what to say to that. The wall would have to be opened up to check the water line. Now the tiny screw hole would be a much larger opening. Accidents happen, but he said “I’m probably going to drill a hole through the waterline” seconds before he did it. It was premeditated plumbing murder.

More entertaining, he opened that wall only to find that he hadn’t touched that water line at all! So why the shower made that weird sound at that precise moment, we will never know.

Meanwhile, we can now repair the hole in the wall. I swear it’s like the balance of the universe would be off if we didn’t have at least one drill, a can of paint and some drywall patch on hand at all times. That’s all water (not) under the bridge. In the past few weeks, he has also chopped firewood, replaced his father’s garage roof, and torn down a shed for his sister.

He is not a lazy man by any means. He is just slightly overzealous when left unattended with power tools. He needs a job before he destroys the house. Meanwhile we’ve always worked. We never really spent that much unfettered time together.

My advice on How to Survive Your Spouse’s Layoff in Three Easy Steps? Leave. The. House. Just don’t leave your spouse alone there. Your marriage will survive it, but your house may not.


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Warm, witty and just a wee bit warped, Kymberly Foster Seabolt is a native of Kent, Ohio, who survived childhood exposure to disco and grew up to marry and move to the country. Her column weaves her special brand of humor with poignant, entertaining, and honest portrayals of parenting, marriage, and real life. She currently lives in northeastern Ohio with her husband, two children, two dogs, two cats, and numerous dust bunnies who wish to remain nameless.



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