Tradesmen and women have built the cornerstones of our magnificent country. They are out there, day in day out, doing back-breaking work, sometimes dirty work, always physical work, and skilled work. These jobs that we all rely on are being done by these powerful and very talented individuals — building us whole houses, buildings, fences, and roads. Installing appliances, fixing things, giving us electricity, water and gas, we absolutely can’t live without these skilled workers. Moreover, then there are some of us that are married to these superhumans. We call them Trades People.
The better half
I am a plumbers wife, and I have over the years worked up the ranks. A hundred years ago I found myself Apprentice Plumbers Girlfriend which indeed was a different role to Plumbers Wife, and thankfully so because no one should deal with that much mud and grime for any extended period, just saying.
Over the years, I have gotten extremely good at checking pockets before they go in the washing machine. No one wants a handful of screws going through their Fischer & Paykel. I take my role of Pencil, Stanley Knife, and Hardware Collector very seriously. Once collected, all the bits are given back to Plumbing Husband on the sly, like a stealth ninja wife, I slip all items back into the work bag, and Plumber Husband truly believes magic happens. Moreover, on goes the cycle of Operation Check Pants Pockets by Plumbers Wife. It’s a daily thing.
This operation, in particular, can be rewarding; it is not all pocket jingling doom and gloom. Many a gold coin can be found in amongst the rubble, and sometimes, just sometimes, a crumpled up note appears. Those are the exceptional days, and any good Plumbers Wife point the notion of Finders Keepers, Losers Weepers.
How spectacular it is that when something breaks at home or needs doing, as a Plumbers Wife there is always someone on hand that knows what they are doing and can fix it. Moreover, when I say ‘fix it’, I mean in their own ‘I’m A Tradie, And I’ll Do Work On My Own House In My Own Time’ kinda way, but hey, it’s free so who’s complaining?
Plumbers are up before dawn and are off heading to work in most cases before the sun has even risen. They are hard workers, these tradies, and like to start earl — no cute family breakfasts in our house. However, an early start usually means an earlier finish, so one of the perks of being a Plumbers Wife is that Plumber Husband can sometimes do school pick up which is lovely for everybody. Tradie hours are the best. (Says Plumbers Wife who does not get up at 4.30am)
I touched on earlier that the role of Apprentice Plumber Girlfriend is a little more gritty than the Plumbers Wife’s position, and for any poor love that is currently doing her time, I will say that it DOES get better!
It gets easier
I remember my own time well. The mud and grime are not quickly forgotten. No plumbers uniform comes home more caked in mud, stinkier from cleaning out kitchen grease traps than a Plumber Apprentice’s uniform. I remember the smell of my Plumber Husband (Apprentice Plumber at the time) on those particularly bad grease trap-py days; I remember the thick layer of mud needing to be scraped and soaked off the clothes before they went anywhere near the laundry, I remember hearing the dreaded words “I think I got poo on me today”. Apprentices get the grubbier jobs, and behind every Apprentice Plumber, there is usually some equally tough girlfriend or mum, screwing up her nose, but still getting it done.
These days, as a Plumbers Wife, the icky behind the scenes moments are much less, and the random found dollar notes in the Hard Yakkas make up for all the soaking buckets and muddy boot prints on the front porch
So, if Trades People are the cornerstones of our Aussie way of life, we can look at the Trades Wives and Husbands as kind of the grout that holds the foundations together. No one’s house can get built or their stormwater drainage laid if there are missing Stanley knives, and grey lead pencils are nowhere to be found, surely? Hats off to all the legends behind the scenes.
* NOTE writer wrote most of this with her tongue firmly in her cheek 😆