Where is Fabio when you need him?

FONT size=9My husband has two different personalities. First, there is the romantic side — the Fabio-like personality that enjoys moonlit walks, engaging conversation, and washing the dishes.

FONT size=9Fabio doesn’t hang out much, although he did show up from time to time during our courting years. bringing roses, opening doors and gazing at me lovingly across a candle-lit table. Nowadays, I’m lucky to receive a look from above the newspaper. That’s where Bob, personality No. 2, comes in. Instead of telling me how lovely my eyes look as they dance in the kitchen lights, Bob likes to say, “uh-huh,” and “I’ll take more coffee while you’re up.”

FONT size=9He never serenades me with love songs, never fills a room with roses and has never given me a coupon for a back rub. He even scoffed at the T-shirt I gave him with my picture on it that said, “My heart belongs to Lori.”

FONT size=9Fabio would have worn it.

FONT size=9Recently, we decided to build a home together. That’s when Bob all but kicked Fabio’s rear end right out the door. He put an end to romance, halted all feelings of endearment and hung a mental sign across his head that says, “Fabio doesn’t live here anymore.”

FONT size=9Romance did appear briefly in August, however, when the weather was sultry, and the heat intense. He appeared by my side as I stood among the construction materials and handed me a Diet Coke. “Fabio?” I asked as I took the soda. I was overwhelmed with emotion. “Gosh, I hardly know what to think,” I said as I wiped the sweat from my brow and brushed bits of tumbleweed out of my hair.

FONT size=9He said nothing. He just handed me a hammer and a bucket full of nails and told me to get back to work.

FONT size=9Thanks a lot, Bob.

FONT size=9In the past several months I’ve spent 100-degree days in a dust bowl, long hours in high winds and learned firsthand how to install a foam block foundation. I, the wife of Bob, have cut and measured lumber, glued down plywood, and learned how to run a power trowel. I can run a wacker-packer like no one’s business, and if someone should need their dump truck dumped, I’d be the gal.

FONT size=9A child who may or may not have belonged to me came up to me the other day and gave me a hug. With all the love I could muster, I turned to him and said, “Man, honey, you have to go home and shower. YOU seriously SMELL!”

FONT size=9To which the child replied, “Sorry, but that smell belongs to you, Mom.”

FONT size=9It’s totally ruining my reputation as a girly girl.

FONT size=9Most importantly, I resent wearing construction garb. The hard hat flattens my hair, the goggles leave indentations on my face that won’t go away for days, and I don’t mind telling you, the tool belts do not compliment my hips.

FONT size=9Above all, construction boots are heavy to wear and make a make a gal’s legs look chunky. I know that open-toed shoes are not recommended on the job site. But, in my defense, I know where my toes are at all times. I don’t carry skill saws, nor do I lug around anchors and anvils.

FONT size=9I was good to go up until my family of men dragged a wall across my toe. Not just any wall, mind you, but a genetically engineered and manufactured support with “zig-zag” framing members. And a heavy one at that. I didn’t scream loudly as one might suspect, but I did have thoughts of anger as I danced in pain.

FONT size=9As I was in the middle of suppressing curse words and masking my anguish, I caught a glimpse of my family. Bob and all of the boys were just standing there, looking at me with disgust. No compassion … just simple unadulterated distaste.

FONT size=9Not a one of them rushed to my aid. No one offered their condolences, sympathy or a Band-Aid, for that matter.

FONT size=9Nope, they simply looked at me with repulsion. Bob and his band of charges. Finally, Vernon, my eldest and wisecracking child, asked me, “Can you say steel-toed work boots?”

FONT size=9Later, as I sat in the chair with my foot elevated, my husband appeared at my side and asked, “Does it hurt much?”

FONT size=9“Like a monkey.”

FONT size=9“Perhaps you should stay home tomorrow and just take it easy.”

FONT size=9“Do you really think so?”

FONT size=9“Yeah, you could use a break.”

FONT size=9I just love it when he’s Fabio.

FONT size=9Lori Clinch is the mother of four sons and the author of the book, “Are We There Yet?” Her e-mail address is lclinch@charter.net.

FONT size=11Lori C FONT size=11linch

FONT size=12Are We There Yet?