five truths about being married to my engineer husband

weddingpicThe Mister and I are celebrating our 6th wedding anniversary next month, and because he never does anything without exhaustively researching every minute detail, we were together for another three years before he proposed. While some would say the joke is on him as there are better boobs and better tempers to be had, to them I say ‘Behold the magnificence that is an easy sense of humor, and the alcohol tolerance of an Irish police captain. And quit being a hater.’

For better or worse, the last nine years have taught me to expect certain things from my engineer husband. That, my friends, is why when I tell someone what my husband does for a living I get a commiserating glance before a, ‘Girl, me, too,’ if they are an engineer’s spouse, too. It is also why when I add he is a third generation engineer I am greeted with raucous laughter. Engineers have a certain way of seeing and operating in the world, and here are the five truths I’ve learned in my time with The Mister:

  1. Stuck on Stupid is a Thing. – This phenomenon goes by other, prettier monikers like ‘being captivated by’ or ‘thoroughly exploring’ a subject. However, The Mister and I agreed long ago that once you’ve heard ‘stuck on stupid’ every other description pales in comparison. While the thorough examination of a topic, and subsequent exhaustive return to said topic, serves him well in his profession (and moth eradication), there are times I just want to crawl into the fetal position and beg for something else to talk about.
  2. Paid Professionals are for the Weak. – Master carpenter, plumber, and electrician he is not, but damn if he doesn’t get the job done right. Many people compliment me on how handy my husband is, and we have, in fact, saved thousands of dollars because of his ability to rebuild circuit boards, figure out complex machinery, or eradicate moths. However, if my life were “The Scottish Play” (sorry, the theater geek is strong with this one), a pneumatic drill would be our bloody dagger. Yes, it eventually gets done, and no, we don’t end up calling in the pros, but we will go without a wine fridge for three painfully long weeks until it is better than new. It is at once interesting and frustrating to see him get all A Beautiful Mind on some unsuspecting household item.
  3. There Is No Rest for the Precise. – The Mister’s job lives by precision, and that is why when we bought a swing set that made the egregious claim we could build it in 14 hours, it actually took 30+ hours. With a zillion pieces of wood, a gagillion screws, and an instruction booklet that make Ikea writers look like poet laureates, I am surprised there aren’t more play-equipment-assembly related homicides each summer. But lots of sweat, curse words, and design reinforcements later, our swing set will likely be the last standing monument to human kind after the zombie apocalypse.
  4. Research is the Refuge of… – May the god of seven help us if I switch paper towel brands without first reading the reviews, sharing the reviews, and comparison shopping between all stores that carry paper towels to make sure the decision is well advised. We have lost entire weekends to baby accoutrements, and months to furniture and appliances. These decisions, once made, are still not considered final until a postmortem evaluation of sale prices and features has been completed. Or until I am exhausted hearing about said a purchase and start doling out a stock response like, ‘no, I think our new coffee table is perfect. That microscopic nick from delivery that I can’t believe you even noticed gives it character.’ (See number one.) While it can be exhausting, we always get the best price for exactly what we want…which is good because I will likely never want to change paper towel brands again.
  5. But, So Help Me, He is my Yang. – If I am the left brain, he is the right brain. If I am too wordy, he is action driven. Picking his big ole brain is like navigating a subway system in a foreign country to me because he thinks so differently than I do, and I’m usually surprised by where we end up. He is why I named my blog, “Mrs SmartyPants,” and the reason why my favorite thing in the world is to sit on a porch with a bottle of wine and talk until obscene hours of the night. And, so far, seeing things so differently with him has been one helluva ride. He also doesn’t mind killing irrationally large spiders when I’d rather flee our home carrying with me only our photo albums and important documents, so he has that going for him.

We’ve completed our suburban action figure set, and there’s no turning this SUV around so he’s pretty much stuck with me and I with him. But, if I know The Mister, it’s a decision that has been dissected enough that if he’s still here, he’s probably not going anywhere.

Happy Anniversary, Mr SmartyPants.

Love,

Mrs SmartyPants

How Much Is That Doggie in the Window

I am not a dog person. I’m the house guest who would rather visit with you through the keyhole than get intimate with your pet moments after we’ve met. Even at my wildest you had to buy me a cosmo and a burger.

However, I have managed to own a dog, and, in contrast to the multitudes of plants that have met their untimely demise at my hands, I have kept that dog alive for 12 years. If being able to care for plants were a parenting pre-req, my boobs would be those perky little things of yore.

My dog and I have a tenuous relationship, one that is adversarial at best. On the one hand, when dealing with small people who eat dinner like ravenous drunks it is nice to own a pet that will eat anything vaguely resembling an object. On the other, if you like objects in general, owning a pet that will eat anything vaguely resembling an object can be the pinnacle of frustration.

I have put up with her eating $20 bills, the entire arm of my favorite cardigan, a razor blade, a 50ft strand of Christmas lights, the tongue of a Gortex boot. Her aliases include ‘Asshole Dog’ and ‘Are You F’ing Kidding Me?!’

However, while I’ve made a habit of threatening to make her a Sarah McClachlan dog, I have never wanted to punish her with the force of a thousand suns. Until now.

After spending two weeks hunched over the kitchen table, eyes puffy and burning while I promised myself I would go to bed after placing just one more of the 1,000 pieces. My OCD humming as I finished the black and white swirls of the Coke logo. My children eating on the kitchen floor because there was a method to how those pieces were scattered about the table and heaven help the person who disrupted it. My embattled relationship with my dog has come down to this…

IMG_0040No jury would convict me,

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