Friday, October 02, 2015

Life with an engineer, #421

Have you wondered what it is like to be married to an engineer?

I will tell you.

Being married to an engineer means not only that the squeeze points on the toothpaste must be configured properly - and that that is the task that the engineer attends to first after being gone after a week, but the toothpaste must be used to the absolute last drop.

The good thing about being married to an engineer?

You will never have to hire a repairman, because the engineer will either know or figure out how to do the repair.

When they do have to hire help, to paraphrase my boss, who is also an engineer (and whom I like very much), who has a family situation right now that prevents him from making a simple repair, the engineer's hands "are shaking."

Wednesday, September 30, 2015

Marriage 801, Lecture 23: Pie are round

SH: I like pie warm, but when it's warm, like today (this was written Labor Day weekend), I like pie cold.

Me: Uh huh.

SH: But I don't like pie at room temperature at any time.

Me: Uh huh.

SH: What temperature do you like your pie at?

Me: What? I don't know. Who cares about these things?

Monday, September 28, 2015

Marriage 801, Lecture 652: Part of this complete breakfast

SH: You worry way too much about money.

Me: Which is what people who have never had to worry about money say. You don't worry enough.

SH: We have enough!

Me: No. We don't. We don't have enough to spend freely.

SH: But even if we did, you would not spend freely.

Me: OK. But I would like to know that I could spend freely if I wanted.

SH: What would you even buy?

Me: There is always room for another purse.

SH: You don't need another purse!

Me: Says the man who spends how much money on beer?

SH: That's different.

Me: How?

SH: Because beer is part of my diet.

Me: What?! Beer has no nutritional value!

SH: It has some. And I get some of my calories from beer.*

Me: Oh. Please.

SH: I would be even thinner if I didn't drink beer!

Me: And that argument is supposed to convince me?

* I have never been able to claim that I need some kind of pleasure food for its calories. I never have problems getting enough calories.

Friday, September 25, 2015

Marriage 801, Lecture 234: Perfectly matched

Me: The Monster Va- KOOM!

SH: What?

Me: You know. Va - KOOM!

SH: What are you talking about?

Me: From the "Dear Kitten" video.

SH: What?

Me: We just passed a car wash. There was a huge vacuum cleaner in front. With huge letters saying, "Vacuum."

SH: I didn't see it.

Me: How could you not see it?

SH: I am not reading signs on the side of the road. I am focused on driving.

Me: But you have to pay attention to your surroundings.

SH: I do. I look for threats.

Me: How can you miss HUGE LETTERS?

SH: I am not looking for that. It's like when I am in an airport.

Me: Yeah. You completely miss the woman with the blue face.

SH: She's not important.

Me: Yet when I get up to make you a tomato salad, you completely lose focus on what you are doing to try to tell me how to make the salad. Which I am doing as A FAVOR to you. Why can you lose focus when it comes to a tomato salad but not when it comes to a woman with blue tattoos all over her face?

SH: Because how a salad is made actually affects me.

Me: Do you think you would be happier married to someone more like you?

SH: Maybe. Or maybe I would be more annoyed.

Me: Or more annoying.

SH: Probably.

Wednesday, September 23, 2015

Marriage 801, Lecture 123: I can't sleep on that side of the bed, I can't stop on that side of the road

Me: What? I always sacrifice so you can get what you want!

SH: What are you talking about?

Me: I didn't get to have any coffee before we left the hotel. I told you I wanted to stop to get some in the first town.

SH: I know.

Me: Well, we saw a coffeeshop and you wouldn't stop.

SH: There was no parking!

Me: There were two spaces on the other side of the road, right in front of the shop.

SH: But - I would have had to turn around. Twice!

Monday, September 21, 2015

Marriage 801, Lecture 33: I don't want to change, even to get what I want

SH and I went out of town for the weekend. Not for any burning desire to go out of town, but because circumstance has put us in the better be temporary ownership of a timeshare and credits would have been lost had no action been taken.

(NB: If you run a timeshare, it is not a good strategy to call your guests at 8:30 on Saturday morning to insist repeatedly that they must participate in a feedback survey. In person. No. We do not have to participate in your survey, WorldMark, and we certainly do not have to meet in person with one of your salespeople. Leave us alone.)

So we went out of town to Galena, in the heart of the Driftless Region, which is not terrain you expect in the midwest - it is hilly and wooded and absolutely beautiful. I did not take any photos because SH was driving and driving is the one place where he will not be distracted from The Mission, especially if part of The Mission is to keep those 18 wheelers from getting ahead of us again on those two-lane state roads.

But believe me, it was pretty.

Not that we knew that when we arrived Friday night because it was pouring down rain and it was cold.

So we had to turn on the fireplace.

("Turn on" a fireplace. Honestly. Pathetic. If civilization comes close to being wiped out, I will offer my skills in sewing, gardening, and making a wood fire in exchange for hunting and water purification services.)

The fireplace eventually added some heat to the room.

We went to bed.

SH's side of the bed was right next to the fireplace.

The fireplace had been turned off, but took a lot longer to let go of heat than to build it.

SH: It's too hot!

Me: I will switch sides with you.


Me: Suit yourself.

SH: But - but - but - IT'S TOO HOT!

Me: I will switch sides with you.



Friday, September 18, 2015

Marriage 801, Lecture 1: The essence

This is how SH and I fight:

SH: I am telling you to do something completely obvious

Me: Only an idiot would not know that. Do you think I am stupid?

SH: But you don't always do it my way.

Me: Your way is not the only way. Shut. Up.

SH: But you are not doing it right.

Me: You need to shut up and you need to change.

SH: No. You need to change.

Me: No! You need to change!



Monday, September 14, 2015

Chats du jour: When cats and engineers collide

The cats are on new food. This food costs six dollars a pound. I am thinking of just feeding them steak.

I was feeding the cats the same volume of food - a quarter a cup a day per cat - as with the old food while I sought calorie information on the old food. The calorie information is printed on the bag of the new food, but Eukanuba (a Procter and Gamble brand) does not see fit to provide that information on the package or on their website and they never answered the email I sent two weeks ago asking for that information.

Here's a suggestion, companies. If you are going to ignore any questions that come via your "contact us" section on your website, then do not have a contact us section. Just don't have it. It's better not to have that section than to ignore your customers.


While I was casually seeking information, the cats were starving.


I would feed them and they would cry and cry and cry.

Usually, Laverne is crying after dinner because she wants to go outside, but when I would pick up her leash and open the back door, she would walk back to her dish.

It took me a while to catch on, as Laverne would eat all day long if she could. (She and I have a lot in common.) But Shirley usually leaves half of her food uneaten. Now, she was eating all of it and crying and crying.

A friend suggested that I could just google for "calories Eukanuba cat food" and guess what? That worked.

For dumb.

The new food has 22% fewer calories per cup than the old food.

My poor kitties were 'ongry.

My strategy was just to heap a little more food in the measuring cup - I needed about 25% more, right? So a rounded quarter cup instead of a level quarter cup.

SH was horrified.

He got out the food scale and calculated exactly how much of the new food would give the same calories of the old food.

(It turns out to be a rounded quarter cup.)

Friday, September 11, 2015

Life with an engineer #24

Me: This new computer is just as slow as the old one!

SH: That can't be!

Me: It is.

SH: But that's impossible!

Me: No it's not.

SH: But it's impossible!

Me: I am telling you that it is slower.

SH: But how can that be?

Me: I don't know.

SH: There is no way.

Me: I. Am. Telling. You. It. Is.

SH: But I set up that new network.

Me: Shirley 5?

SH: Yes.

Me: But it's on Shirley.

SH: That can't be!

Me: Should I switch to Shirley 5?

SH: How did it get on Shirley?

Me: I don't know. Should I switch?

SH: That new computer should not even know the password to the Shirley network!

Me: Whatever. Should I switch?

SH: How did that happen?

Me: I don't care! I just want to solve the problem!

SH: Solving the problem means understanding how it happened.

Me: I just want to fix it. Right now, I don't care why it happened.

SH: You are not using the engineer's approach to problem solving.

Wednesday, September 09, 2015

Marriage 701, Lecture 235: To dream

SH and I are watching a movie where two young, very attractive people are getting nekkid and all that entails.

SH: I don't look like that.

Me: Nope.

SH: And you don't look like her.

Me: Never did.

SH: And we don't get all out of focus dreamy romantic sexy.

Me: Nope.

SH: Do you ever fantasize?

Me: Oh sure!

SH: You do?

Me: Of course I do!

SH: Really?

Me: Yes!

SH: Oh.

Me: I fantasize about coming home from work to find a perfectly clean house with dinner ready and all the laundry done and put away and no cat hair in the corners in the kitchen or the stairs and no cat hair on the bedspread. I fantasize.

Marriage 701, Lecture 23: The great debate about beer vs shoes, as seen in world literature

And this book (from the "No. 1 Ladies' Detective Agency" series, which, if you are not reading, you should be) is written by a man.

A man.

Who gets that if men spend money on beer, which is ephemeral in ways I do not have to explain to you, then women should spend money on beauty treatments, which, I grant, are equally ephemeral, which is why I say just spend the money on shoes and purses instead.

Friday, September 04, 2015

Cats 101: Laverne doesn't vomit for over two weeks with her new cat food that costs as much per pound as good steak and I make the mistake of bragging about it on facebook

I should not have bragged that she had not vomited since she started on the new food.

Because as soon as I wrote that post, she barfed.

And not just regular barf. This was three separate barfs in three separate locations. She had been outside for two hours - I put her out after she had supper - but she cried to come in.

I thought she just wanted to come in for some Inside Water, as Inside Water is way better than Outside Water, even though Outside Water comes from Inside.


She came in to barf.

Because it would be what - gross? indelicate? rude? - to vomit on the lawn?

It's not like we have a nice lawn. It is full of weeds and rotting pears. A little cat barf would not hurt the scenery.

She cried and I brought her in and went back downstairs to watch more of "A Place To Call Home" and then I heard the pre-barf sound, a sound that every cat owner recognizes, and ran upstairs.

Amazingly, she was barfing on the wood floor, not on the rug that SH and I bought in Morocco and had shipped back to the US.

Three separate increments.

Three places to clean.

I won't go into detail, but I will say that the barfing was of such a quality that I had to summon SH, who thought I was asking him to do the cleaning, which I was not. I just wanted him to see it.

But he was already cranky and already starting to clean it up, muttering that I use too many paper towels when I clean vomit (to me, the proper number of paper towels is as many as it takes for me not to feel the warmth of the vomit through the towel)(and I am not a paper towel waster - I use paper towels for nothing but cat vomit and cleaning windows - for everything else, I use cloth rags that I wash), so I just let him.

I think maybe I should not discuss her vomiting publicly, as it just seems to encourage her.

Monday, August 31, 2015

Marriage 701, Lecture 34: The clothes wouldn't have fit

SH: Are you going to try to lose weight for our class reunion?

Me: Of course.

[Look at inside-out oreo cake from state fair, a bite of which is making its way into my mouth]

Me: Except every time I see myself naked, I think, "I don't look awful" and then I lose motivation.

SH: I think you look fine. As long as you can fit into whatever you want to wear, that's all that matters.

Friday, August 28, 2015

Cats 101: He didn't even see it coming but I did

Me: Would you put the space heater in the basement tomorrow? [Finally. In July. We are putting the space heater away. It will probably need to come out again in a month.]

SH: Yes.

Me: And the peach box in the recycling?

SH: Yes. I'll put it here so I remember.

Me: You know what's going to happen, right?

SH: What? HEY! STOP!

SH: How did she do that so fast?

Wednesday, August 26, 2015

Cats 101: We return from our wanderings and Laverne acts all happy but then throws up in the middle of the night

I have told you about our problem with cat vomiting. SH maintains that this is normal, but it is new that Laverne vomits as often as she has been. We tried the tennis balls in the bowl thing. Laverne was too eager to eat to figure out that she could just knock the balls out of the bowl. Shirley, who usually does not get any credit for being that bright, although she does manage to

1. spend most of her life sleeping
2. have someone else take care of getting her food and cleaning her living space
3. get SH to work to get her approval,

is the one who realized that all you have to do is to knock the balls out of the bowl. She wanted the bowl with the balls in it because that looked like fun. Laverne wanted Shirley's bowl because it is no work to get to the food.

So anyway. SH and I returned from being gone for ten days and Laverne was so happy to see us. She was purring and rubbing up next to us and meowing and pretty much being a huge nuisance as we unpacked, but she is our kitty and we love her so we put up with her.

And it was nice that she was happy. There have been times when we have traveled that the cats have punished us for abandoning them. They have ignored us and they do not know us. Nice that we were not facing any drama for being gone so long.

We got everything put away - my uncle's bratwurst, the cinnamon rolls from Coco Bakery in Washburn, the laundry, the kitchen utensils. I had to go to work the next day, so I made my lunch and got my gym clothes together and put my work clothes in the bathroom.

We were tired. I finally got to go to bed. I had to get up in six hours to go to work. I wanted sleep.

But it was not to be. Two hours later, I was awakened by a sound I know oh so well. The sound of a cat preparing to vomit.

(For those of you who do not have cats: there is a pre-vomit sound - the retching. If you hear it soon enough, you can locate the cat and remove her from the very small carpeted or rugged area where she wants to throw up and put her on some kind of cement or wood surface that is easier to clean. It is almost impossible to locate her soon enough usually.)

It was dark.

I was asleep.

I heard the sound.

It woke me up.

I couldn't find the light.

I couldn't find the cat.

Our bedroom consists of 70% wood floor and 30% nice handmade rug that we bought in Morocco.

She threw up on the rug.

I guess she was ticked off after all.