Wednesday, May 28, 2014

Gotta love those engineers

I knew marriage would be a challenge. But no one told me marriage to an engineer brought about its own special issues. Case in point: last Thursday evening.

Shortly before the arrival of 30 family members who were coming to celebrate Amy’s graduation, our microwave died. It had been on life-support for several months but I thought we had a few more weeks with it. I was wrong: on Wednesday before the Friday when I would be responsible to feed aunts, uncles, grandparents and cousins, it gave up the ghost.
I really just wanted fast.

Mom and I went to three different stores to see if we could get one installed before the weekend. Not going to happen. So we bought Amy a graduation present: a small microwave that we promptly opened up and planned to use for the weekend.

We put it in the garage right by the kitchen door where it would be easily accessible. But the outlet we had to use was already supporting a fridge and freezer. This is exactly why they make those outlet extender thingys. I plugged one in, plugged in the microwave and fridge in one outlet and the freezer in the other. Presto, all lights were on – no problemo.

Famous last words.

On Thursday, I was cooking dinner for the early arrivers. I took the veggies to the garage, tried to start the new microwave and it died. I thought maybe I’d shorted out something, so I pushed the little buttons on the outlet. Nothing.

Remember back when we didn’t have microwaves? Me, neither. I barely know how to cook, much less without a microwave. Visions of not having a functioning microwave with a house full of guests created a panic in me. I needed that puppy up and running, so I called Sean.


“No problem,” said the very capable engineer.

And he went about trying to figure out why the thing shorted in the first place. He started poking around at the outlet and switching things on and off and nothing happened.

“I really need to replicate the issue,” said he.

“NO, NO, NO! Just make it work!” said his loving wife.

So he went downstairs to the fuse box, flipped the switch, came back upstairs, pushed the thing on the outlet and voila! Fixed. I was happy. The dinner guests were happy. But Sean was not happy. “If you’d just given me time to figure out why it happened, I could have fixed the root cause.”

I tried to help my sweet husband understand: "The root cause was the thing wasn't working. And you fixed it! You're my hero!"

He was not amused.

Thus, the difference between the engineer and the communication major.

Well, one of them, anyway.

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