You’ve seen the memes circulating the interwebs since the start of this pandemic. “Check on your extravert friends, we are not ok.” Or, “Check on your friends with strong-willed children, we are not ok.” Or, my personal favorite, “Check on your friends who work in professions which require them to refrain from saying 90% of what they are thinking, we are not ok.” In all this memeing, there is a forgotten group. For us, I’d like to offer this, “Check on your friends who are married to engineers, we are not ok.”
Those of us, the brave, the tired, the prematurely gray, who have spent hunks of our lives married to engineers have an unspoken bond. When one engineer spouse meets another, we immediately share a knowing nod that says, “I feel ya.” There is no need to explain the madness, the half-finished projects, the overblown plans or the lack of common sense, because we battle it everyday. Are our spouses intellegent? Of course. It takes a serious nerd with a freakish understanding of physics to go into engineering. It also takes a brain that functions unlike the rest of humanity.
Now, with the world on lock-down, all of those engineers are working at home. They have invaded our domains of sanity. Not only are our engineers home, they are bringing dozens of additional engineers with them via conference calls and Zooms. Last week I was privy to a conference call while changing laundry outside The Turk’s hidey-hole. In addition to my husband’s thick Turkish accent, there were two Indian accents, a French accent, a New England accent, one thick southern drawl and another that was unclear if it was an accent or annunciation issue.
“I can’t understand half of these people so how do you?” I asked the Turk.
“I don’t.” He replied.
As each engineer on the call went off on what seemed to an unrelated tangent, it was clear the Turk was not alone. I fled before I got disorganization angina. (Yes it’s a real thing. I get it whenever I go into our garage.)
Then there are the plans. When my engineer is busy with work, he doesn’t have the brain space leftover to devise masterplans that he is fully capable of designing but is probably only partially capable of executing. (And even if he is capable, he loses interest half-way through – thus the hole in my bathroom ceiling at present.) The past month has gone something like this:
Laying in bed, “I have idea. This summer I am going to knock the wall, build new steps and turn attic into huge closet so we have more room for clothes.” – or you could just rotate summer and winter clothes like me.
Sitting by the fire pit, “I have idea. This summer I can dig up yard and put in irrigation system. Then grass can grow.” – or we could just pay a landscaper to put down sod every year for 20 years and it would be cheaper than your idea.
On the deck, “I have idea. This summer I can rent machine, what is it…excavator? I can build jogging track all around woods. I can bring truck with gravel and we can walk there every day.” –or we can just keep walking in the cemetery across the street and never allow you into an excavator.
Eating lunch, “I have idea. This summer I am going to build new guest room in garage apartment.” – gotta catch that raccoon first.
Drinking coffee, “Last night I have idea. This summer I am putting new section on tree house that connect to other two trees. Then I can drink my beer there.” – or you could just finally put the steps on so the kids can get in it after waiting a year.
Readers, it’s rough. Every day he has a new plan and I can literally feel money slipping through my fingers with every word he utters. And if that were not enough, there are the very engineerish things that might just kill me.
Like last week.
9:00 am “Honey, there is a wicked storm blowing through later with 65 mph winds. You should go get gas for the generator.”
“I can go later.”
12:00 pm “Are you going to get the gas now before the storm?”
“I can go in an hour.”
3:00 pm “Did you get that gas yet?”
“I can’t go now. It is raining. We be ok. I have plenty gas in shed and tank of propane too.”
5:30 pm – Power gone – “You need to go hook up the generator.”
5:55 pm- leaning out the window in the pouring rain, still with no power. “What the hell are you doing? Turn it on!”
“I can’t. There is mouse inside. I am waiting for him to leave.” (Insert heavy profanity on my end)
6:15 pm – Generator is finally on and a drenched Turk enters. “I have to go get gas for generator. Propane and gas are gone.”
The Moment I’d Been Waiting For…“I know dear, you used the gas in the snow blower and the propane on the grill when you got drunk last fall and wanted to grill a frozen pizza.”
Long story short, when he tried to get gas, the power was out in the gas stations too. Fortunately we had enough gas to get us through bedtime but when the power was still out the next morning, the Turk was forced to go out gathering gas so I could make the coffee that would keep me from strangling him.
Brilliance comes with a price and this is the price. I get that, but please, check on your friends who live with engineers, we are so not ok.