From Time To Time, A Husband Would Be Nice, or, “I Fixed My Luggage.”

posted in: Day In The Life 40
The file of this picture is named: "Winston Churchill SnowQueen of Feliland." I don't know what that means. Read on. Image: Where else? Wikipedia.
When I searched “luggage” in Wikipedia Commons, this was one of the images I found. It’s weird, but it kind of properly conveys how happy I am that I don’t need to buy new luggage.


Remember when I told you my luggage was on its last wheels and that I would need to replace it? How bummed I was; how peeved. The wheels were broken, I was sure. The latch wouldn’t close, the brakes were surely busted.

Before I clicked “Purchase” on two new suitcases — a huge expenditure for a person who travels as much as I do, hauling quilts, books, and homework from coast to coast — I decided to try something. I decided to try some WD-40 on those wheels. I remember WD-40. My dad used to use it on stuff. It’s lubricant for wheels and things. Maybe my wheels weren’t ruined, just squeaky. So I went down to the hardware store and bought some WD-40.

Then I thought about the rainbow-colored straps I see wrapped around suitcases on the baggage carousels, sometimes. Those straps… I decided they’re for keeping luggage closed tight when a latch is broken or dodgy. I tapped my nose. I looked at my luggage. Then I went out and bought a wide, black strap for $8 bucks at the luggage shop in the Loop.

Today, my silver hard-top suitcases are more fabulous than they have ever been. They are fixed.

Both pieces roll like they’re on rails — real smooth. The WD-40 was magic. It’s almost spooky how little sound I make as I walk with my suitcases. I could easily commit a murder while wheeling my suitcases along with me. That’s me: The Luggage Killer.

And the strap. That luggage strap is like a seatbelt for my soul. The buckle is big and strong and when I pull the strap tight and snap it (click!) around Suitcase #2, it feels physically satisfying. I feel like I’ll buy one for my other suitcase, just because. Snapping that black belt around my possessions is like swaddling a baby. And it makes a really good sound.

The only problem with all this is that when I was buying my strap and my WD-40 and spraying the stuff all up in those wheels, I literally thought, “It would be nice to have a husband. He would do this stuff.”

Isn’t that terrible? Or maybe it’s not. I have no idea. I do know that some people will spit out their tea when they read such a sentiment. Because girls can take care of themselves. Because not all men know about WD-40, anyhow. Because I’m clearly a capable woman. Because men shouldn’t have to be the ones in a relationship to do stuff with wheels. Because gender, because Mary, because ew, because no, because yes, because God, because etc., etc. It’s a very fraught thing to say, this, “I wish I had a husband who would WD-40 my wheels for me.”

I know. But I’m posting this anyway.

I don’t long for a husband. I really don’t. Not right now, maybe not ever again. And I did, after all, fix my own luggage; I figured it out. But I’m being honest. There was a moment of feeling bummed out because it took me a several months of wheeling around a pair of suitcases that sounded like dying ducks before I thought about repairing/fixing them up and, when that did occur to me, it was up to me to do it. This could also just be a nasty case of woe-is-me, in which case, yuck.

But that’s what happened. Also, I have a full can of WD-40, so please: Call me. Let’s grease some wheels. I will have this can of WD-40 for the rest of my life if I don’t make some house calls.

40 Responses

  1. Trish
    | Reply

    Sometimes it’s nice to have someone to troubleshoot a problem with, or share in the triumph of the fix…you might not NEED, but damn, sometimes it’s a luxury to have. Also….pretty sure owning a can of WD-40 makes you an honorary southerner. Welcome to the club.

  2. Kat
    | Reply

    Next time you have sticker residue on something purchased…spray it with WD40 and give it a rub and it will be gone. The can will still last forever. WD 40 helpful hint #1.

  3. Cindy
    | Reply

    WD-40 is amazing stuff, Mary. Check out its other uses…trust me, you need another can before you know it. Shower doors…those horrible price ssticker labels, dodgy locks,, another can is in your future!

  4. Jennifer Reinke
    | Reply

    Mary, there are so many interesting uses for WD-40! Just Google it. And I am glad you got those wheels and latch fixed-you go girl! Have a great Sunday 🙂

  5. Janice Tucker
    | Reply

    Sometimes you just want/need a partner. I appreciate that my hubs thinks of the little things that make my life easier. I am, as are you, perfectly capable of handling myself, thank you very much. But it is oh so nice to share life with someone who takes care of those little things.

  6. Barbara
    | Reply

    You are so funny, Mary. You are a breath of honest fresh air, if honest means truly, real, fresh air. WD-40 is good, a strong black belt is good and secure. Keep on, Mary.

  7. Kristina Morrow
    | Reply

    This makes me laugh – and I really understand. I’m smart, capable, self-sufficient, and married to a man who is a mechanically-inclined Mr. Fix-it. One day he actually said to me, in a not nice tone, “When is the last time you checked the oil in your car”? I nearly spit out the coffee I was drinking. Really? Why did I get married? We straightened that out.

  8. Linda
    | Reply

    Sometimes I get whiny when I have to do “me ‘S work,” because I’d really rather be sewing on a quilt. Alas, I live alone, and my brothers have finally figured out that I am quite capable of doing the work of men! Still, the work of men bores me to tears!

  9. Susan
    | Reply

    Personally, I am PROUD of you for fixing your luggage! Go Mary! Get the second strap. (Glad you opted for black rather than rainbow, however…totally gauche!). That being said, I must admit a husband if often a handy thing to have…IF he’s a good man, good to you and good for you. That’s a pretty big set of IFs. Meanwhile, you fixed your luggage. You have a nearly full can of WD-40. Get yourself a big roll of duct tape. You’re pretty much good to go. IF one day you find a husband, great! If not, you’ve got the tools. Oh, and you might want a hammer, pliers and a cordless drill with screwdriver bits. Hugs!

    • Susan
      | Reply

      Oops typo. Sorry

    • Pam Martin
      | Reply

      I think a lot of the colorful straps are for luggage recognition but (even as a gay person) I’m with you on the black!

  10. Cathy
    | Reply

    Hi Mary, I plan to write you a paper letter soon but wanted to send you this quick note. I retired the last day of 2015 and have since taken up sewing (that I never had time for while working full time). I was a legal assistant for 30 years. I discovered your Quilt videos on YouTube and love them and have learned so much. I discovered this blog just last week while reviewing some of those videos again. I was so disappointed that you are no longer hosting but understand that new opportunities came your way. You have a gift for teaching quilting skills and it is refreshing to watch your videos. I was so sorry to read of your health issues but trust you are doing well these days. I have been praying for you. God has given you many talents. You are a true example of a positive attitude and connecting and serving others. Keep looking up!

    One little request–could you use a darker font or print when writing your blog — it is very pale on my screen. Is it my screen only? Hope you have a wonderful day! The weather is beautiful this morning here in North Carolina.

    • Pamela Keown
      | Reply

      Cathy – the font is pale on my screen too. Mary – I have had two husbands. Number one was not a handy person. Number two is extremely handy. You just never know with husbands.

  11. Sandra Kaufman
    | Reply

    I grew up in a home where my father fixed everything and married a man who can’t even zip his own jacket without an issue. and WD40 he has no idea what that is. We dont always need a husband.

  12. jean morton
    | Reply

    Thank you Mary, for the first chuckle of the day! WD40 is a great can to fix squeaks, but my husband is not the fixer, I am. If I want a project completed, I do it myself.

  13. Sue
    | Reply

    Having a husband does not mean you don’t have to grease your own wheels. You go girl!

  14. Mary Lou Hutson
    | Reply

    There is a hilarious passage in a Bailey White book where she calls a customer service person about some household item on the blink, and the CSR asks her, “Dontcha have sumthin like a husband?” White ponders this and determines that the closest equivalent in her house is a parakeet, so, no.
    Proud of you for figuring out your own fix.

  15. Beverly Letsche
    | Reply

    I have to laugh. I have a husband and consider that to be a good thing. But household repairs? That is mostly me. So do not count on a husband to do repairs!

  16. Christine Houghton
    | Reply

    It’s tough to stay independent when you have a husband. I’ve lived for years without one and for years with one as I am currently. Last night my sewing room TV didn’t work and I tried to fix it but couldn’t figure it out so I told my husband and it took him three minutes and it was working again. I could have eventually fixed it myself by unplugging the system but I had my tech savvy husband do it, cause I wasn’t sure it was the thing to do. And it makes him feel useful! Lol

  17. Maribeth Woolsey
    | Reply

    Sometimes I would also like to have a husband or a whatever to handle those chores I don’t like or want to do. But that guy might not know how to do what I want him to do and then might be stuck with him when all I wanted was a garbage-taker-outer, oil changer,, or drain clearer. I just borrow my girl friend’s.

  18. Catherine
    | Reply

    Hay Miss Fix-it, you go girl! I’m married 44 years and my husband never used WD-40. He’s helpless when it’s time for repairs. I’m the one who always did repairs around the house but he’s still my rock. Oh, the font is very light for me too, as one poster commented, but I do enjoy your blog.

  19. Beth Ann
    | Reply

    As a card carrying feminist, I am NOT offended by your post.

    I did not read it as “I need a MAN to do these things because they’re men’s work.” Instead, I read it as “Yes, I can do this; but, wouldn’t it be nice to have a partner?” A partner who looks after me as I look after him – because some things I’d rather let a partner do. 🙂

    And the type of life parter you envision maybe, some day, possibly, having is male.

    Some days we all want pampering by someone who loves us. And, yes, fixing your luggage is pampering.

    Good on ya for pampering yourself!

  20. HelenMarie Marshall
    | Reply

    A gentle reminder: WD40 is more a cleaner than actual lubricant. So basically it melted whatever lubricant had dedicated in your wheels. Now you need to use some real lubricant in them. The white grease used for old Singer sewing machines is good.

  21. HelenMarie Marshall
    | Reply


  22. MrsB
    | Reply

    I know what you mean. I’ve been divorced almost 30 years. Sometimes I’d just like a hand replacing bulb in carport light. Hang curtain rods.
    Son tells me I’m TOO independent.
    But, I’d rather live alone than have someone around driving me nuts.
    Lord, can I fix a lot of stuff.

  23. Mark
    | Reply

    I miss you on F&P! I tape episodes and start them, but only you and your Mom can make old lessons seem new.
    It’s regard to WD40, Helenmarie is right, you’ve cleaned out the axle/when junction and some dsm grease worked in there will sole the problem in the long term. And get the 2nd strap. Why wait for the latch to break?

    I enjoy your blogs and other writings, but miss ‘seeing’ and hearing you.

  24. Downtownquilter_allie
    | Reply

    I had the same thoughts this week when I had to ask a friend to drop me at the rental car place to pick up a car for a work trip. There are only a few instances when I think it would be nice to have a husband, when I’m sick is a big one!

  25. Mrs. Plum
    | Reply

    As several do the previous commenters said, having a husband is no guarantee that you won’t be fixing your own stuff. My husband travels frequently for work, and invariable, something in the house breaks when he is gone. This past week was the garage door opener. Thanks to a calm and patient customer service rep (who happened to be a woman) who walked me through the whole process, it is fixed and working just fine. Hallelujah! Good for both of us that we did what needed to be done.

  26. Nurseli
    | Reply

    Totally understand. I’m divorced and have been doing things on my own for many years now. But sometimes you just don’t want to deal with those things anymore- moving heavy furniture, taking the car to the shop, fixing the heater, changing the shower head, etc…. it’s not that those things can’t be done, it just requires planning, a YouTube video, or sometimes paying someone to do it. Idk about having a husband though. Lol. That’s way more trouble than it’s worth!

  27. Diana
    | Reply

    Maybe you just want a companion/husband/friend so that you have someone to troubleshoot with. I became extremely independent during the time when my husband of 35yrs was in the Navy. But, what I found was that I talked to myself during those times. I wasn’t the crazy lady, I just needed to hear another human voice. ,I was a little bit lonely.
    To this day, I still fix things. In fact, I just fixed the plumbing under the kitchen sink. And when my husband gets home, I tell him all about it. It’s satisfying .
    And WD40 is fantastic for lots of things. Congrats on fixing your luggage. Luggage can cost an arm and leg.

  28. Suzanne
    | Reply

    My mantra for 2017 is to become a competent traveler (of life but also of actual travel). I recently left a relationship of six years where I think I let myself sometimes not be so competent and feel like I lost a bit of my independent spirit. So the other day when I used my very own can of WD40 (which I’ve owned for a very long time – that stuff does not go bad) to fix my sliding patio screen door I was perhaps overly too excited about my self-reliance! And then I have moments where I wish that I was back in my relationship. Like when I think about traveling somewhere far away, I have to admit that I don’t want to plan that trip myself or be on my own for 2 weeks. (My former partner was really into planning trips!)

    All of this to say, I think it’s ok to feel both ways. To want to be a competent traveler through life but also want a companion (sometimes!)

    I love your writing and relate to it probably more than you’d think. Thank you for being you!

  29. Marge Herrmann
    | Reply

    This is off the subject, but just a brief note to tell you how much my friends and I enjoyed the two lectures yesterday (Sat.) afternoon. (I was the rude one who knitted while you spoke. I have an attention deficit and can concentrate on a lecture much better when my hands are busy.) I enjoyed hearing about how Fons and Porter originated, about your journey into quilting, etc. I also love your blog. Take care of yourself. (You’re off to a good start with the WD 40!)

  30. Jennifer
    | Reply

    I’m single, straight, and work in a traditionally male field. When I worked on a project with long hours, I wished I had a wife like my co-workers. So nice to have someone cook dinner, clean the bathroom, do laundry or change the sheets. It’s not about having a man, but about having a partner to help pick up the slack and maybe “unfavorite” chores. On the other hand, isn’t there such great satisfaction in doing stuff yourself? I helped a friend hang towel hooks firm & level today and she grinned the whole time.

  31. Judy Forkner
    | Reply

    My husband is so good at figuring out how to fix things! & he climbs ladders to change light bulbs for me too!

    I’m afraid to climb ladders any higher than the 2nd step & I’m also afraid to carry a ladder through the house–afraid I’ll bang up all the walls!

    Husbands are great–at least my husband is!

  32. Linda Duff
    | Reply

    You crack me up !!!!! 🙂 🙂
    And NO, just because there’s a husband around the house doesn’t mean you still won’t be WD-40-ing the wheels yourself, dear Quilty Girl..
    Glad you didn’t have to spring for new shiny luggage, though. And just an FYI, we (or should say I) ordered some of those TSA-approved padlocks for our luggage. They’re amazing, and so far, KNOCK ON WOOD, the baggage folks have been nice and have opened them with their code, rifled thru our belongings, and put the padlocks back on the luggage! INTACT. (I have a friend who came back from vacation to announce that her TSA-approved locks had been cut off. Told her she should have carried a 2nd one inside the baggage for use in returning home.)
    Google WD-40 .. you’ll be super surprised at what uses are available for all that good stuff left in the WD-40 container!
    Roll ON !!!!!!!

  33. Neame
    | Reply

    Having lived solitary for most of my life, I know exactly what you mean. But for me the thought was “I need a wife to handle this”. My leaning is to handle the WD40 and house repairs and corporate crap myself, but please I need someone to handle the grocery/laundry/cooking stuff. And just know that I invoke plausible deniability. If asked I’ll say someone must have used my name.

    I would love to do it all, but it is a human impossibility. So some stuff goes forever undone.

    Hang in Mary.

  34. Charean Patterson
    | Reply

    Love this April Fool’s Day post, Mary. I’ve been married to the same WD-40 man for 53 years. But, I have my own tools, ladder, etc. Check out Judith Viorst’s poem about why it is nice to have a husband by your side. I keep it in my top desk drawer and reread as needed!

  35. Elizabeth A Benedict
    | Reply

    Remember my dear that as you travel the airlines are hard on luggage in fact they wreck it. So take heed and purchase inexpensive luggage then when it goes bad you just toss it out. Once one of mine came off the carousel taped shut where a zipper was ripped loose.

  36. Sue S
    | Reply

    OMG I just snorted out loud while eating lunch at my desk and now the guy next to me is wondering if I’ve lost it! Mary, I know just what you mean… sometimes the wondering about how to fix things and then doing it is just too much for one to cope and you wish some other one would come along an do it for you. How I wish for Elizabeth Montgomery’s twitchy nose some days!! You go girl!

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