The Supportive Spouse and other writer problems

The Supportive Spouse and other #writing problems -
background images courtesy of Unsplash and

I’m starting to suspect my hubby’s support of my writing career may not be quite as altruistic as he lets on.

Oh sure, he says he wants me to succeed. He wants us to be in a position to offer our closest friends a spur-of-the-moment place at our beach house or mountain chalet as much as I do. In fact, he probably wants that even more than I do (mountain chalet and beach homes can be dirt magnets after all).

But . . .

Well, take, for example, this past summer. He decided, quite out of the blue, that I deserved a proper writing desk rather than the shared surface I was using. But space in my house is at a premium and the children’s toys seem to multiply even faster than the dust bunnies. So on this day, he decided he would build me one that could be folded up on the wall when not in use. A Murphy desk.

Out he went into our garage with his trusty sidekick, Kiddo, in tow. I heard the saw blades spin and the power tools whirl. Kiddo came back in. Kiddo went back out. Kiddo left the door open. Repeatedly. Whirl. Mommy went a little insane.

Not to be outdone, LT joined the fun, as did Her Royal Highness (the dog) too. LT fell down. Mommy kissed boo-boos. HRH decided to trot down the street and visit the neighbors. Mommy got a call. Mommy wasn’t so sure she wanted this desk any longer.

Then, after several hours of holding what smidgen of rationality remained in my brain together, Lamont returned ready to show me the fruits of his labors. There was my new desk in unfinished wooden splendor.

“Uh, that’s not level.” I pointed at the top joint which could better pass as abstract art than as a right angle.

Lamont frowned. “I can fix that,” he said. “But it will need to wait until tomorrow.”

Murphy Desk - #DIY -
It’s wall art! It’s a desk!

The next day came, but the cobbler’s elves either failed to arrive, or they neglected to fix his handiwork overnight. Taking another look at it with fresh eyes, Lamont admitted he was going to need to start from scratch.

Considering it was going to be my desk, meaning I would have to look at it every day, I had no choice but to agree with his assessment even though I knew it meant I would lose my co-parent and general weekend-chore-sharer to the garage once again.

The second try was much more successful and soon the desk was ready for finishing. This time Lamont invited LT to help as it was a painting project. What’s the worst that could happen? White, child-sized footprints adorned my steps. Even better, paint covered my boy’s body from head to cheek as he’d chosen to work on his masterpiece in only a pair of briefs.

I was forced to drop everything except the wiggling paint monster in order to scrub him down in an impromptu bath. As LT splashed about, I realized my husband had stumbled on the most genius plan imaginable for getting out of his standard weekly honey-do list. He’d gotten to play all day in the garage for the last two weeks, and I couldn’t complain as it was all being done for me.

Or at least I thought it was his most genius plan.

It turns out he had one better.

Flash forward. I completed the early drafts of my manuscript, a sequel to The Fair & Foul at the end of October. I knew I needed to let it sit and simmer before I attempted any further re-writes, but I also knew how strong the temptation would be to dive in and start on the edits anyway. Determined not to succumb and edit too early, I enlisted Lamont’s help as an alpha reader. Every day was a challenge not to ask him what he thought until he was done. “I’m at 10%,” he’d advise. “20%. 35.” To him, it was breakneck progress. To me, it was grueling.

The weekend came around again. Lamont held up his Kindle. “85%,” he announced. The children started to bounce off the walls. “I’ve got to finish it.” He disappeared. Sigh. Speaking of percents, it is probably the only time I wasn’t 100% thrilled to hear I’d written something someone didn’t want to put down, but even so, it was still better to hear than the alternative.

I’m happy to report I now have my weekend helper back, which means that I will soon be able to move forward with edits once again. With any luck (and maybe a little more help from my supportive spouse), I might just be able to publish this book next year. And that’s certainly a problem worth having.