Househusbandby Ad Hudler
Lincoln Menner is finding out just how hard it is to be a woman. When his wife Jo was offered her dream job, Linc supported her wholeheartedly, leaving his thriving landscape business in Los Angeles and moving to Rochester, New York. This was a chance to escape the cloying needs and atrocious tastes of his celebrity clientele, start over in fresh surroundings, and spend a little quality time with their three-year-old daughter, Violet.
But Linc had no idea what it really meant to be a househusband: To stay home every day, folding laundry, cleaning soap scum, and teaching his little girl to use the potty. To be ignored at parties by his wife’s colleagues who see him as just a homemaker. To be looked upon with suspicious eyes by the neighborhood women who can’t understand what sort of man would choose to stay home. And with each new day, Linc is sure that the next load of whites will be the one that sends him off the deep end.
Though he has the house humming, Linc misses the outside world, longing to carry on an adult conversation with adult friends (the electrician and the UPS guy are starting to avoid him). Most of all he misses Jo, who is working all hours of the day and night and barely notices the fabulous dinners he slaves over, much less the husband who cooked them. And then there is Marilyn, the attractive next-door neighbor, who has been so friendly and supportive. . . .
Now the only thing Linc knows for sure is that something’s got to give. Should he go back to work and leave Violet in the hands of someone who is sure to be less competent? Or should he give in and embrace his role as househusband extraordinaire? Atturns funny, neurotic, and endearingly vulnerable, Linc Menner will win your heart–and make you wish you had a househusband all your own. (and you’l love the recipes!).
Author of Big Stone Gap
“I’ve always believed that everyone, man or woman, needs a wife. Apparently, so does Ad Hudler. He has written a very funny book on a serious subject–
contemporary gender roles. And he can bake a cherry pie. Wotta man!”
Host of Cooking Live and executive chef for Gourmet magazine
“Househusband is hilarious, smart, surprising, and full of mouth-watering descriptions of gourmet meals concocted on the fly (recipes included). But the best thing about Ad Hudler’s ingenious novel is its fresh perspective on humanity’s oldest conundrum: [the] relations between the sexes.”
Author of The Center of Things
From the Hardcover edition.
- Random House Publishing Group
- Publication date:
- Edition description:
- Product dimensions:
- 6.43(w) x 9.55(h) x 1.06(d)
Read an Excerpt
This is a good day. Though it began as gray and sluggish as simmering oatmeal, it has steadily grown into an energizing, high-speed puree, ever since noon, when I got the phone call from Jo.
“Can you handle a dinner for five?”
“My boss and his entourage.”
“Let me get my calendar.”
“I mean tonight,” she said.
“Tonight! You mean five hours from now?”
“I’m sorry. Can you do it?”
“Of course I can do it.”
“Are you sure?”
“Of course I’m sure.”
“I really can take them out, Lincoln, but it’s Jerry and his group, and they always prefer a home-cooked meal. And they like your cooking.”
“I can do it,” I said.
On the drive to the grocery store, with Violet listening to a tape of Sesame Street songs in her car seat, I decided on an Indian chicken masala, which, after being thrown together, could simmer for hours with an occasional stirring while I cleaned the house. I’d serve it with basmati rice and some kind of cool, astringent salad that would cut the curry.
Jo had said the house was already clean, that it wouldn’t take much to get it ready for guests, but she doesn’t understand these things. It wasn’t dinner-party clean, it wasn’t clean like a fresh hotel room, everything aligned and pulled tight and poofed up, all the collapsed fibers standing upright once again.
So, with my masala simmering on low, I launched into tornado mode, like the Tasmanian Devil on the Bugs Bunny videos. I’ve learnedthat housework, done well, is impossible with a single-task mind-set. It’s best to dart about like a hummingbird, tangential but still focused, conquering as you go, racking up little victories that accumulate and form something larger and significant. I be- gan zipping from room to room, multitasking, occasionally peeking into Violet’s bedroom where she played with paper dolls.
As the Lysol steeped in the toilet bowls, I watered all the plants on the main floor, stopping midway to make the bed in the master bedroom and pick up from the floor two pens and Jo’s calculator, which I stowed in the pocket of my cargo shorts until I passed through Jo’s office on my way to transfer the red load from washer to dryer.
Which reminded me: Heat of a dryer.
Which reminded me: Dry heat.
Which reminded me: Dry heaves.
Buy Mylanta for Jo.
Play date. Violet needs more friends.
As I dusted an end table, I glanced at my watch. Would there be enough time for the wine to sufficiently chill? I pushed three bottles of chardonnay into the ice bin of the freezer then set the oven timer for forty minutes. Before leaving the kitchen, I washed the floor in the main cooking area on my hands and knees, because damp mops simply redistribute the dirt into fuzzy lines.
I shook the foyer rug outside and draped it over my shoulder, then pulled out my pocket knife and snipped enough daisies and snapdragons and rosemary sprigs for a dining-room-table centerpiece.
Passing through the kitchen, I stirred the masala and called to ask the electrician to return on Friday to correct that flickering fluorescent bulb that made the laundry room look like an old black-and-white movie. The electrician reminded me of the light he fixed in the bathroom, which reminded me of the bathroom-wall bulletin board where we display clippings that amuse us. Since one of these guests tonight was Jo’s boss, I found and pinned up the story from the Rochester Business Journal that featured Jo in the “Twenty Young Executives to Watch” issue.
All the while, I performed house-cleaning triage in my mind: The sandy front stoop—critical. I did not have to soak the knobs on the stove in ammonia water, not until tomorrow, but the backdoor throw rug with dried banana pudding either needed to be laundered or tossed into the closet. I could ignore the master bedroom if I shut and locked the door, but what if they wanted to see the house? They’d know we’d only lived here a year. Out of courtesy, women would request a tour, men wouldn’t, but I couldn’t be certain the group would be all male.
Cover Violet’s pee stain with throw pillows from living-room couch.
Remember to call man to come shampoo couch.
Property taxes paid first.
C-3PO. Was Violet too young for Star Wars?
By five-thirty, I’d set the table and made the salad. Wine was back in the refrigerator, rice simmering in the steamer. I had time to pick five innocuous CDs that would allow for conversation but still convey to the world that we are eclectic and current.
At five to six, I was dressed and sipping a glass of cabernet. I dimmed the lights and lit the candles. This was the first time all afternoon I’d slowed down enough to notice my breathing and the beating in my chest. Though I’d taken a shower, my head was warm and flushed, fresh sweat beading on my forehead. I had that lingering glow from a full day of aerobics. Maybe I’d lost a few pounds.
Join a gym?
Buy birthday card for Jim, Jo’s CFO.
Get Violet’s portrait taken.
Check with dentist to make sure baking-soda toothpaste is okay for children’s teeth.
I knew Jo would remember the evening as a success, though the details that created it would escape her. She wouldn’t realize that a meal from scratch takes at least six hours, and that I’d magically done it in three. She wouldn’t know that I vacuumed the seats of the dining-room chairs or oiled the squeaky hinge of the front door or played the CDs in random mode to help stimulate anticipation, but these things are important to me because this is what I do, and I do it very well.
Linc’s Tame-and-Easy Masala serves six
This is a good dish to try on people who are wary of Indian food. It tastes more like a cross between Indian and Mediterranean cuisine.
1/2cup vegetable oil
1tablespoon cumin seeds
7cardamom pods (Any variety is fine, but I like the large black pods; they have a deep, smoky flavor.)
8ounces onions, chopped
9cloves of garlic, chopped
3tablespoons minced ginger
3big tomatoes, chopped
3pounds skinned chicken thighs (Don’t even think of using white meat; it’s dry and tasteless in this and most other recipes.)
1/3cup plain yogurt
Salt and pepper to taste
1teaspoon garam masala (This can be bought, already made, in any Asian market. It’s not a critical ingredient, but it does add some life to the sauce.)
Heat the oil in a big pan over medium heat. Put in the cumin, cinnamon, peppercorns and cardamom and stir a few seconds before adding the garlic, ginger and onions. Stir a few more minutes, then put in the tomatoes and chicken. Add a few shakes or pinches of salt and fresh ground pepper. Mix together and bring to a boil, then cover, reduce heat to low and let simmer for an hour. Add the yogurt and garam masala, stir and serve over basmati rice.
Meet the Author
Ad Hudler is a househusband, having given up his career as a journalist to stay home. This is his first novel. He lives in Florida.
From the Hardcover edition.
Most Helpful Customer Reviews
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Linc Menner had grown frustrated with his landscaping business, when his wife, Jo, was offered her dream job. Happy to have a fresh start and support his wife, Linc packed up the house and their daughter, Violet, to move across the country. Now, in unfamiliar territory, Linc finds himself in the position of househusband. Slowly but surely he learns the new, necessary duties of making his house a loving home, while raising his precocious three-year-old. As Jo becomes more and more involved in her work, Linc sees her less often and as the responsibilities take over, Linc begins to lose himself. Will their marriage be at risk or is Linc the perfect HouseHusband? With a sarcastic wit, Ad Hudler builds the imperfect world that absorbs readers into the daily chores and hazards of a stay-at-home caregiver. The short, easy to read chapters make this a great choice for busy, overwhelmed readers. Written with bits of stream-of-consciousness, readers will chuckle at how one thought triggers a completely opposite task. Since the main character is very mindful of the food his family eats, there are delicious recipes included that will entice readers’ stomachs. Anyone who has spent time at home to care for a loved one can relate to Linc’s constant struggle against dust bunnies, losing one’s identity, and the constant need to defend one’s worth. Notes: This review was written for Sasee Magazine and My Sister's Books. This review was posted on the Ariesgrl Book Reviews website.
This is book for everyone...(well...maybe not YOUNG people). Ad has brought out so much within the home as well as society. Walking the halls of elementary school...on up to dinner parties with his wife. He is quick and eager to share his opinions, and if you don't want to hear them....then walk away. Love this guy and his family is TOPS in my book. Very interesting read.
This is a very good book. It's an interesting twist on typical gender roles. I saw it on a table at a bookstore, and thought the cover looked a bit silly, but I'm happy to say the text proved me wrong. The character has interesting views on staying home with children, and funny observations on suburbia. It's an easy, fun read.
This quick-read is suprisingly trite in its treatment of the old 'Mr. Mom' story. Oddly, the Michael Keaton movie did it better, which is almost never the case. If you want a half-amusing light read this summer, and if you don't mind misplaced male whining, then this book is for you.
Househusband is one of the best reads I've had in a long while...kept me entertained until the end. It would be great to have a sequel with Linc and his family in later years.
This book should be a manual for every husband and working mother. What an enjoyable story about situations Linc Menner (Househusband) goes through being part of the gals but is still a guy. FUNNY!!!
Finally, a guy who gets it! Ad Hudler has managed to describe the life of a primary caregiver as only a woman knows it ..... or so I thought! I felt so validated reading this book. Househusband is a fun, quick read, but it's full of brilliant insights into gender behavior. Forget Dolly the sheep -- can we clone the protaganist of this book?
So many stories about today¿s changes and attitudes in the role of the sexes are displayed in Ad Hudler¿s Househusband. From a man¿s point of view, I thoroughly enjoyed this novel. You can¿t help but laugh at what a perfectionist father will try to do to keep the house in order.
I couldn't wait to read this book after watching my husband roll off the couch with laughter. A smart, sensative, insightful read involving the challenges of the everyday household and the roles of husband and wife. And a bonus--fresh and scrumptious recipes that I can't wait to prepare. Bravo! Ad Hudler, I'll be waiting for your next entertaining novel.