Speaking Farsi and Interpretive Dancing With Engineers

My husband Tex makes my life nice. He’s an engineer, meaning he loves science, understands math and his entire life is organized by a series of intricate but straight forward systems. I, on the other hand am a failed scientist turned artist whose life contains no obvious organizational systems, however I cook so this arrangement works for us. I joke that he lives to solve problems and I create them by virtue of existing.

For the most part, that last statement is true. Broken door? Tex is on it. Excessively complicated taxes? Put away the calculator, the engineer is here. Hosting family Christmas on the same day a drop shipment of furniture is set to arrive to fill three empty rooms of the house? Let the organizational pro through, he’ll schedule this day into submission.

Artistic problems are a horse of a different colour though. Having dabbled in the arts throughout my life, I’m experienced at collaborating with other like-minded artsy people. In those circumstances, I will explain my vision for a project, listen to my partner’s ideas and together we’ll come up with a product that is infinitely better had I just worked on my own.

For the No Excuses November post, I wanted to recreate the John Snow “Winter is coming” meme.

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Only with my name because I am equally powerful as a season of course. Modified from makeameme.org

It was going to look like the original but with curly hair.

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It’s like John Snow is wearing a wig. Modified from makeameme.org

And of course Mini Tex would be incorporated.

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Because who doesn’t love babies with preternaturally long fingers on their left hands? Modified from makeameme.org

In his ridiculous bird/dragon/fish costume, because there is no point in purchasing a costume for your child unless you force them to wear it in all manner of situations. Admittedly, bringing a fish/bird child to that funeral was not the most popular decision but I stand by it.

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You can properly appreciate the randomness of the fin/wing/foreshortened arms of the costume at this angle. Modified from makeameme.org

But no matter how many images Tex and I took, or alterations that I made to the poses or suggestions for framing, the photos all looked completely awkward and not even remotely like the meme. And it wasn’t even like I was unprepared! I had fur! I had a giant heavy dark coat! I even had a giant sword-like thing! All of the elements were there but the fairies of luck and creativity refused to smile on us that day.

I concluded it was a one-off, that there was all the possibility in the world that Tex would suddenly morph into a free love spouting, organic eating, Burning Man attending, artsy hippie. I mean, I’m becoming like him after having lived together- just last week I used the words “anaerobic reaction” in a sentence and it wasn’t just an example of my mommy brain substituting words while trying to describe a new fitness class.

Only time will tell though. In his words, I’ll continue asking him to “take weird pictures of me” and hope that in the future we’ll be able to artistically trouble shoot together. In the meantime, my readers can enjoy my Microsoft Paint photos.

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He Said, She Said, Engineers versus Artists

She Said: Marriage According to the Great Unwashed

(Tex has added in his two cents in italics)

In a word, being married to an engineer is awesome. I love it. 

I always know where Tex is and what he’s doing; I’m kind of like Santa Claus but without the beard

Around about when we first started dating, Tex linked me to his Google Calendar. To say that it’s a comprehensive document is an understatement. It includes when to check his tire pressure (the 2nd of every month), any outings he has tickets for within the next couple of weeks and his work locations for the next year. I’m not saying I know when my hubby goes to the loo; if he starts slotting that activity in there too, it wouldn’t be shocking. After Tex sent me his schedule, I was supposed to create my own. That was a year and a half ago.

“By the way I need to borrow the car tomorrow to do this thing. Didn’t I tell you about that? Remember?”

 

The keys are always in the same place. Actually everything is in the exact same place

Or rather I should say Tex’s keys are always in the same place. It’s a crap shoot as to where I’ve stowed mine. This makes it easy to take my significant other’s keys. Please note this kind of behavior will get you into trouble on occasion. Along these same lines, Tex has routines and protocols for everything in our home, up to and including washing pots and the proper storage of baking soda. Everything is very easy to find and is grouped with like items when Tex has organized or tidied a room.

Since we’ve moved into our new place, there’s a constant litany of “Unwashed where did you put the colander/spatula/baking pan?” and she’ll respond with “It’s in the garage/shed/under the couch.” Of course it’s there. That is the obvious place for a frying pan.

 

Everything in the house is in perfect working order

Engineers love problems. They live for problems; the show “How It’s Made” is engineering porn. I’m always surprised whenever I see it on TV during the daytime, because I know there’s engineers out there, watching saying, “Oh, oh yeah, look at how well they figured out how to make paint spackle. Oh the hydraulics.”

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Somewhere, an engineer is getting worked up over belt sanders. (Photo Credit: all-that-is-interesting.com)

Along these same lines, whenever something in our house breaks, Tex launches into engineer mode, taking our tap apart, determining where the problem is and whisking Mini-Tex and me off to the local Rona to locate the necessary part. (It’s possible I’m only along for the charity popcorn that is always sold at the hardware store.)

 

Our car seat is installed properly

Remember what I said about “How It’s Made” being engineering porn? Oven manuals, car seat directions, really any kind of manual is like a dirty magazine for engineers. I’m not saying that I’ve found instructions for the lawnmower under Tex’s side of the mattress, but let’s just say I wouldn’t be surprised to find them there. Whenever we purchase anything, Tex reads the manual from cover to cover then adjusts the item so it exactly meets his specifications; our car door opens after pressing only one button and it never beeps when it locks. Afterwards he files the manual so he can always refer back to it even though he never needs to because he has an eidetic memory. (But won’t admit to it because then he would have to confess that he’s actually a super villain.) He then carefully explains to me how the item works and all of the minor changes he’s made to improve its function. I half listen because I know that if something breaks I can always call my husband in a panic and say “Tex! The dishwasher/dryer/car is broken!”

 

Everything somehow relates to science

It doesn’t matter whether the topic is weather, cooking or machinery- an in depth explanation of the science behind the subject always follows. Yet I still can’t recall the basic rules of matter.

Unwashed’s equivalent is celebrity name dropping and referencing obscure Canadian authors. For example her post about Desmond Howl “Oh you don’t know Hornjob McGee? He appeared in little known indie film “That Greasy Summer.”

 

He Said: Marriage From Tex’s Perspective

(With Unwashed’s comment in italics)

By contrast, this is what it’s like to be married to an artist- bedlam.

Nothing is ever where you left it including the car

For a period of time, Unwashed hid various pieces of mail and vital items like my phone charger. It was only after I had exhausted my own search of our apartment that I questioned her “Have you seen my ID badge for work?” “Oh” she replied nonchalantly as if she wasn’t a magpie squirrelling away my belongings and correspondence “they’re in the Very Important Place.” “The pardon?” I asked “The Very Important Place” my wife repeated “I put everything right here” and then she pointed to the most random of hiding spots in our home. It wasn’t a loose floorboard under the bathroom cabinet but it was close.

Admittedly, sometimes I do tidy Tex’s belongings away for company and then forget to move his items back. And the car wasn’t my fault; we had just moved here and I drove past the house three times before finally throwing the car into park and walking home. I will cop to forgetting that I had done this and where the car was parked though.

 

Your laundry flies stand-by and there has been an exponential increase in the number of lost socks

They say purgatory is a place between heaven and hell, currently in my house there is a laundry purgatory or one might say it flies stand by as it exists neither clean in my drawer nor dirty and obviously in need of washing in my hamper. I suspect one day I will be searching online classifieds and find a “Missed Connections” ad written by one of my socks.

In my defense, I once witnessed Tex systematically search for an hour for one lost sock. He found it in the end. I am neither that thorough, nor do I possess the memory to retrace my steps and the steps of others exactly to locate lost undergarments. As for the laundry, I’ve created a complex system that there isn’t enough time to explain, be assured that all of my and Mini-Tex’s clothes are found and cleaned on a regular basis. Tex’s shirts make it into the wash when they can hence the stand by comment.

 

I’ve been forced to take bizarre and ridiculous pictures of her

I had to take a picture of her covered in chocolate icing, holding a wad of flaming bills while riding a pig and I was supposed to not only understand the symbology of this but at the very least hold the camera steady. Not to mention catch the terrified pig.

This is a complete exaggeration. Ok not complete. There wasn’t a pig though. I did make Tex take artistic photos where I composed an image of multiple juxtaposing elements and then posed myself in awkward ways to enhance this effect.

 

Arranging a room has less to do with what will fit and more to do with the “chi” and whether it makes a room “warm” or not

I’ve moved sectionals more times than I care to count. And I had to buy a big, really expensive chair to provide her with a place to read and feel artistic or whatever it is that she does when she isn’t riding pigs.

Again, he’s totally fabricating the pig thing and what can I say? Chi is a moving target. Happily I don’t have to move it.

 Also, did anyone else notice that Tex didn’t comment about the memory thing? I expect I’ll find his blaster ray gun in the basement any day now.