By Andrea Brown Herald Writer
The house is spotless. The yard is perfect. A pot roast is tucked in the oven.
But a housewife’s job is never done.
Just ask Brian Baisch. He’s “The Real Housewife of Snohomish County.”
That’s the name of his blog, and he stands by it like a man.
“I know I’m not a woman, but I live the life of a housewife,” said Baisch, a 33-year-old newlywed. “I run the household. I take care of the dogs and chickens and the garden and I volunteer.”
In the idyllic Edmonds suburbs, he’s just another apron-wearing, dust-busting multi-tasker with a hard-working doctor husband to feed and a two-story house that doesn’t clean itself.
He echoes what women have been saying for years: “It’s a thankless job.”
“There’s a reason I have wine with dinner most nights,” he said. “And sometimes during chores.”
His “Real Housewife” blog follows the daily ups and downs of domesticity. He uses the blog and YouTube videos as a creative outlet to not only connect with other homemakers but also to open the door on the lives of gay couples.
“It is showing people around here that gays are like everybody else,” he said. “We’re just normal people.”
Baisch and his husband are the new normal.
The Supreme Court recently extended federal benefits to same-sex marriages in states where it is legal and overturned the ban in California. Same-sex marriage is now sanctioned in 13 states and the District of Columbia — about one-third of the U.S. population.
After it became legal in Washington in December, about 2,500 same-sex couples were married in a four-month period. Same-sex unions accounted for more than 20 percent of all 11,661 marriages recorded through March 31, according to Washington’s Department of Health. Baisch got hitched in February.
Legal or not, the reality of two men living as a married couple still has its opponents. About 45 percent of Washington voters rejected the referendum legalizing same-sex marriage.
Baisch asked that his husband, Michael, be identified only by his first name in this story. “He works with the public and I don’t want my blog to be an issue,” he said.
Michael works 12-hour days as a doctor at Providence Regional Medical Center Everett.
“I like to have a nice meal ready for him when he comes home,” Baisch said. “I love to cook and nest. I get that from my grandmother. I’m really an old lady trapped in this body.”
He was born and bred in Montana and worked on ranches. Now, his sturdy hands knit blankets for baby gifts. Seems he’s also quite the seamstress.
“I made an apron and put a button on it so I can hang my dish towel,” he said, “so I don’t have to keep looking for it.”
Speaking of dish towels: He got so excited about getting rid of the dreadful mildew smell that he did a how-to video. Move over, Hints from Heloise. Meet Baisch in his “Queen of Friggin’ Everything” T-shirt showing how it’s done on YouTube. (His secret: Add a half-cup of borax to the load.)
He also did a serious video clip saluting the Supreme Court, with tears streaming down his face.
The skills he honed on a cattle ranch in Montana transfer nicely to home projects. He built a chicken house, retaining walls and garage workshop.
When he’s not wearing a tool belt or an apron, he volunteers at hospice and as a counselor at a bereavement camp for children.
He met Michael at a Seattle bar after moving Washington in 2008 to be near his sister and her children in Poulsbo. The couple formed a domestic partnership in 2011 and Baisch became a homemaker.
“I went from managing an office to managing a home,” he said. “For a while I was embarrassed to tell people I didn’t work. And then I realized, ‘I do work.’ And now I just say, with a smile on my face, ‘Oh, I’m a housewife.’ It makes them laugh, and instead of trying to explain it, people drop it after that.”
Who has time for explaining anyway?
“There’s always something to be done,” Baisch said. “I’m up to my elbows in chicken muck or mowing the lawn or landscaping or doing traditional housework, like cleaning bathrooms, my least favorite chore.”
It can get lonely. He doesn’t know any other mister housewives.
He admits talking to his three chickens.
For company, there’s Cooper and Puck, two frisky rescue mutts who constantly mess up the house with their hair and dirty paws.
Sure, Baisch’s social media friends are there for him online, but in real life it’s the cashiers who provide the human contact that staves off isolation.
“Other people have colleagues. I have the ladies at the grocery store,” Baisch said. “I see Jane every day. I love it that Jane always asks me, ‘What are you making for dinner tonight?’ And she says, ‘Oh, I hope Michael knows how lucky he is.’ People that others take for granted are my support system and my network.”
Baisch got on the homemaker track at a young age.
“My parents divorced and my mom raised three kids while going to school full time and working at Denny’s,” he said. “She wasn’t the housewife — we were. In junior-high home ec, there were boys who’d never washed dishes before, and I was like, ‘Are you kidding me? I’ve been doing my own laundry for four years.’”
He looks forward to expanding his housewife blog into a mommy blog someday.
“We hope one day to have children,” he said. “It’s the one time we wish that one of us was a woman.”
Andrea Brown; 425-339-3443; firstname.lastname@example.org.
To read Brian Baisch’s “The Real Housewife of Snohomish County” blog, go to www.realhousewifesnohomishcounty.com.
To view his cooking, cleaning and other videoes, go to www.youtube.com/snocohousewife.