My Other Husband

- by Rebecca York

I hope the headline got your attention. But it’s not what you think.

In the late eighties, Harlequin Books had a Valentine’s Day reader party in Baltimore, and they invited me and some of their other authors. A friend from Washington Romance Writers, was among them and she introduced me to her husband, Keith. I remember him as a blond guy in a green sports coats (which I think he still owns).

I learned that Keith was a science teacher who also did handyman work. Since I am married to the least handy guy in the world (except for matters pertaining to computer software), I hired my friend’s husband to do some work for me. I can’t remember what that job was, but I do remember that when I gave him a check, he asked me if it was going to bounce. That made me wonder whom he’d been working for previously.

I’ve always had a lot of ideas about improving my home. And it was fantastic to find someone who could help me implement them–and do all the repairs that my real husband hates.

Keith has made vast changes to our home. His first big project was turning our son Ethan’s bedroom into a sitting room and big closet off my bedroom. (This happened while Ethan was away at college, and he was unhappy to come home and find I moved him down the hall. I was unhappy to find a poster covering a big hole the boy had punched in his wall.)

In the past twenty years, I found that Keith can do just about anything. He and his sons remodeled my kitchen. And he was willing to use some of my crazy ideas like putting separate refrigerators at opposite ends of the room. The arrangement works! So do the two ovens. And he figured out what to do when the cabinet company delivered the wrong tower unit for the wall oven.

He built the deck in my backyard. And while we were away one summer, he and his crew removed everything out of my real husband’s huge basement junk pile–I mean office–and put ceramic tile on the floor, then put everything back. The job was complicated because the room at the back of the house had a slightly lower floor. Keith had to even it out before he could tile.

Keith has taught me how to fix drywall, grout tile, pressure wash, and prune bushes. But he knows I can’t paint a room without making a royal mess. When he remodeled my library, he let me paint the bookshelves, but he wouldn’t let me near the fancy woodwork around the doorway.

A few weeks ago he was helping me tame my outdoor jungle. He cut down and trimmed bushes. I carried the stepping stones he’d bought at Home Depot to the locations where I needed them. Then we moved inside to remove my bed headboard–so he could spray paint it.

What’s next?

Hey, Keith, what do you think about a fishpond in my backyard? Or is that too crazy?

One comments

  1. Ruth,

    Funny–and thoughtful. And I strongly suspect you aren’t the only woman who thinks of MY husband as her “other husband.” I’ve been “sharing” Keith with other women for nearly thirty-two years (happily, without ever being even slightly concerned that he might forget who is REAL wife is). I think it’s safe to say, though, that of all Keith’s “other wives,” you’re at the top of his list.

    Mary