The spousal assumption

Internet, I have something to tell you. I am single. A single mom, in fact. I have no spouse. Well, I suppose I do, technically. But, we are separated, and have moved on with our lives. While that tidbit of information is important, that’s not what this is about.

Another important piece of information is that I am a homeowner. Before our separation, we both dealt more-or-less equally with contractors and repair technicians. Of course, now I am solely responsible for the household upkeep.

Something is bothering me. This “something” has happened more than once over the past year. Before, it didn’t bother me. Now it does. Things change, right?

Thankfully, I haven’t had a problem with people talking down to me or brushing me off because I am a woman. (If they have, I have been blissfully ignorant of the fact.) I do, however, have a problem with people assuming I have a husband.

When I got my gutters cleaned, it was pointed out that some of my downspouts were loose and should be re-fastened. “You or your husband could fix it easily.” Damn right, I could fix it easily.

That was a lie. I struggled a bit with it. Who uses 2” nails to attach brackets to vinyl siding? Apparently, the previous homeowners did. Anyway.

When it was pointed out that one of my exterior vents was clogged with leaves and debris, I was told that it might be a bit high for me to reach without a ladder (I am, ahem, vertically challenged) but my husband could probably reach it easily.

I had an HVAC company in recently to do an assessment and give a quote. The technician used the phrase “you guys” as a way to reference me and my non-existent husband as a singular entity. “You guys can have a look at the quote and tell me what you think.” I wanted to butt in and correct him — “it’s just me, actually” — but I didn’t, because at the end of the day it wasn’t important for the job.

I should have, though. I shouldn’t just accept it because “they didn’t mean any harm”. Families come in all shapes and sizes. Is it really that out of the ordinary for a woman to own a house without a spouse by her side? To be a single mom and not to struggle to stay afloat?

Maybe I should just set the record straight as soon as I open the door. “Hello, welcome. I’m Stephanie, and I do not have a husband. Come in, and please remove your shoes.”