Stay-At-Home Nerd: Labor and Delivery
a blogumn by Josh Pullin
If I told you it took 72 hours, incredible patience, nearly intolerable pain that resulted in blood, sweat and tears for everyone involved, you might think I was talking about my wife giving birth. I’m not. While she has her own labor and delivery story that we’ve shared with countless friends, neighbors, coworkers, and that guy at the video store, I’m not going to repeat it here. I’m going to share my very own labor and delivery pains.
Though my wife and I may have switched roles domestically (she the breadwinner and me the primary child care taker), I still maintain a certain Mad Men-esque responsibility for getting sh*t done around the house. Unfortunately for my wife, my expertise does not extend to cleaning the commode and washing the shower doors. In fact, I rarely notice when the toilet needs cleaning (I try not to look at it which may explain my poor aim) and do you have any idea how hard it is to get soap scum off of a glass shower door? It’s really, really hard and involves some kind of magic lemon juice concoction.
That said, my duties do include your run of the mill man chores like killing bugs, tightening screws, talking to contractors and repairmen when need be, as well as less “manly” activities like the laundry, vacuuming, taking out the trash and doing the dishes. Granted I don’t touch my wife’s laundry and I have to be constantly reminded to do the dishes. However, I find myself contributing more to the household chores then my father ever did.
Don’t get me wrong. I’m not complaining. Not yet, anyway. My definition of what it means to be a man, husband and father is a far cry from my dad’s. But, this isn’t what this blogumn is about either. Today, I’m writing about a new challenge facing the men (and women) of our generation. And, that challenge is self-assembled furniture.
You see, I imagine a time and a place where one would go out and buy a piece of furniture already made. Maybe you would load it in the back of the wagon or the car and call over a buddy to help you get it inside. Or, better yet, it would be delivered to your house. Afterwards you would admire your purchase and down a cold one, satisfied that somehow your life was made that much easier because someone else had the time and patience and inclination to make something that would last. My childhood dresser lasted thirty years and thanks to Goodwill is probably still going strong.
That is not the case today. Today one buys hundreds of pieces of particleboard, tiny dowels, an allen wrench and graphic instructions on how to build a crib, a changing table, a dresser, a futon etc. You even have to put together the car seat, the swing, the playpen (they call them play yards now so that they feel less like prisons and more like fiefs) the high chair, the stroller and everything else your kid might want or need. Do you have any idea how many pieces are involved with the Leksvik crib from IKEA? A lot. That’s how many.
By the time I finished assembling all the required gear to safely house a kid, I felt like I had given birth. Before you say anything, I know it doesn’t compare. But, think about this. At the end of my wife’s labor, she delivered a baby boy. He’s beautiful and he’s certainly meant to outlast us. At the end of my labor, I created some furniture that may or may not be level. It certainly won’t outlast us and as a cruel joke some of it doesn’t even fit through the door nursery door, meaning I had to deassemble (can that be a word?) and reassemble it. That’s not the worst part, though. The worst part is that IKEA doesn’t deliver. That’s right. On top of everything else, I had to deliver the furniture myself. If you thought squeezing a 14 and half-inch head (actual size) out of your you-know-what was difficult then just try loading a nursery room full of stuff into a ’96 Camry.