I have decided it is time to diversify. Mix it up. Share the limelight. Ladies and gentlemen, I give you the very first “Are You Finished Yet?’ Guest Blog Post, written by author Maggie Singleton. She is a very good friend of mine, so please don’t embarrass me. Mouths closed, “reading eyes” open, and give her your full attention.
Caring for Your Enginerd by Maggie Singleton
Kelly and I have been friends for nearly four years now. Sure, we have bonded through watching our mini-me firstborns move on from preschool to elementary school; and we have also bonded through slowly but surely finding our way as writers and bloggers; but there is something ever more central that bonds us like epoxy: our beloved enginerds.
“Enginerd” is a term Kelly coined a few years back to describe her husband—a combination of intelligent person possessing nerd-like qualities who can still uphold a relatively decent conversation. That pretty much describes my enginerd, too. I’m sure you know the type…the guys who can be found reading Popular Science or working a Rubik’s cube challenge for fun at any given moment. You see, it’s more than a career for the enginerd; it’s a mindset.
Now some of the traits I’m about to describe may sound general to half the population; but forgive me for not knowing the difference. My dad was an enginerd; his dad was an enginerd; most of Andy’s close friends are enginerds; heck, even some of my friends are married to enginerds or are enginerds themselves. I’m surrounded!
In case you find yourself in my shoes, I thought I would provide you with some tips on how to properly care for the enginerd in your life:
Enginerds do not like surprises. You know that surprise birthday party you would love for your husband to throw for you and thought you’d give him the “hint” by throwing one for him? You may want to rethink that. Enginerds like to know what’s going to happen, when it’s going to happen, where they should be, how they are going to get there, and who they should know when they arrive. Simply put: they like plans. So don’t mess with them. Care for your enginerd by providing as much information about an event as possible, and then hope to God nothing changes.
Enginerds cannot take a hint. An enginerd’s mind is capable of understanding the most complex of systems and could create a machine bigger than the room you’re sitting in; but if you want that cute necklace on page 24, you’re going to have to get out a pen and paper and write it down. Take good care of your enginerd by letting your needs be known. On paper. No guesswork = far less drama in the long run.
You may get more than you asked for from an enginerd. If you ask an enginerd what time it is, you may or may not get the answer you’re looking for. Instead of simply telling you the time, he very well could launch into a dissertation about how a watch works instead. Sometimes enginerds have difficulty finding the forest in the trees. Help redirect your enginerd with gentle yet firm statements like, “I said WHAT TIME IS IT?!?”
Enginerds are efficiency experts. Why spend ten minutes talking about something that could be settled in two? Case in point: our texts to each other. More often than not, my texts would go over the 160 character limit every time I sent a message under our old plan (thankfully for me, the new one doesn’t have a limit). His reply would usually be under five words. Simple, direct, and to the point. That’s my enginerd! Perhaps you can care for your enginerd by making all of your communication in Haiku.
Enginerds are “pretty good.” I have come to realize that “pretty good” is my enginerd’s highest form of adulation. If I just knocked his socks off with a new recipe, he’ll be sure to tell me it was “pretty good.” And that flirty dress he likes is “pretty nice” looking, too. If he were to go on and on about my cooking, it would expend far too much emotion and communication for his taste (and his logic might add that I would expect that same amount of praise the next time. Smart fella.) If he keeps his cool in every situation and only ups the ante with the occasional “that’s really good,” then it takes longer to reach his drama threshold. Care for your enginerd by keeping drama to a minimum.
Enginerds accept no substitutes. Enginerds work ceaselessly to achieve (near) perfect designs. Be it a remodeling project, a great rib recipe, or a work assignment, they want it done right—every time. And once an acceptable state of precision has been met, they do not mess with it. Ever. (Well, unless they know exactly how and why a change is necessary and statistically how much better something will be as a result, of course.) An enginerd would argue that this same consistency and standardization *should* apply to the entire household. For example, you should not substitute Kahlua for vanilla in a batch of tried and true chocolate chip cookies because your enginerd will probably sniff out the imposter ingredient like a Bloodhound. In the future, if you are unable to make something according to “exact design specifications,” do your enginerd a loving favor and make brownies instead.
I do hope that this list of tips helps you deal with your enginerd. It certainly helps me appreciate mine more just writing about him (blog therapy?). I want to thank Kelly for this fun opportunity to share about something near and dear to both of our hearts. If you enjoyed this blog, you might also enjoy an article called “Caring for Your Introvert” by Jonathan Rauch from which this blog was inspired. If you have one of those on your hands, take a look!
Maggie Singleton is an author, blogger, editor, and an advocate for women married to enginerds. And she’s always good for picking up your kid from preschool when you find yourself in a pinch because you are of course stuck in the only checkout lane open at Walmart, manned by their most inefficient employee, but I’ll be damned if you’re going to abandon ship only to come back to that hell hole later with your kid in tow to purchase the same stuff that is sitting in your basket at this very moment.
You can find her brilliant book Milk Diaries: a compilation of practical, encouraging advice from the “real” breastfeeding experts on Amazon. Go read more of Maggie on her own blog at Perspective Writing and Editing.
And you (or the enginerd in your life) can check out what her enginerd husband is up to at Top-Down Engineering.