Tag Archives: engineering

An ‘Engineering’ Solution

Last week I was swearing over a project when Hubby wandered by. I looked up with a sigh and said, “This is driving me nuts. I bust my ass to get it done, and think, ‘There, it’s finished.’ Then I find out I should have done it differently. So I fix it and think, ‘There, now it’s finished and it’s right.’ Then I find more and better information, so I fix it again…”

By then, Hubby was nodding sympathetically. “Yep, that’s engineering.”

I gaped at him for a moment. Then I smiled. With one simple phrase, he’d made a seemingly futile process feel like a worthwhile endeavor.

I admit it: I’m a wannabe engineer. My tendency to overanalyze and devise solutions usually emerges late at night when I should be sleeping. My half-dozing brain is certain it’s invented something brilliant, until I come to full alertness in the morning and think, “What the ever-loving f…?!?” Worse, I grew up on a farm, so I inherited the ‘farmer fix-it’ mentality: It doesn’t have to look good; it only has to work.

And that’s how I came to be sitting in our mudroom a couple of days ago, keeping an eye on a stream of water from a partially-extended retractable faucet I’d taped to a 10-foot piece of central-vacuum piping, which went out the door to rest on a length of aluminum channel propped on a short segment of wooden I-beam and stabilized by a small rock. A chair held the door mostly closed, while a blanket, old jacket, garden sprayer, and small rug kept the cold air at bay.

Unless you’re an engineer, your eyes probably glazed over just from reading the description; so I won’t launch into how the design evolved. I will, however, answer the question most likely to be asked by any sane person: “For the love of God, WHY?!?

Well, once a year we have to sanitize our water lines with a dose of bleach, but we’re not supposed to run bleach into our septic system because it kills the good bacteria. (Although it seems to me that ‘good’ is a relative term when referring to anything that results from rotting shit.)

Anyway, the bleach-laden water has to be piped outside. A hose would have been a good solution, but our mudroom faucet won’t accept a hose fitting. Hence the Rube Goldberg contraption.

Somewhat to my surprise, it worked fine and we got most of the bleach out of the lines, although the next morning’s shower smelled a lot like a public swimming pool. (The chlorine scent, not the funky ‘somewhere in this room a wet towel has been rolled in a ball and left in a locker until it grows polka-dots’ odour.)

So our water is safe for another year; and my hair is only a few shades lighter from the mental effort and residual bleach. So far, so good…

Anybody else have an inventive week?

Book 16 update: Just when I think ‘it’s done and it’s right’, I find something else to fix. (Engineering, grrr!) I’m still at the 50% mark, but the early chapters are whipped into shape now. (I think hope.)

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Filed under Humour, Life

Slime! You’re Eye Candy!

That was the sign that confronted me as I left the optometrist’s office yesterday: “Slime! You’re eye candy!”

I had just been told my eyesight was perfect, so since I was reading the sign backward through the glass I figured it had to be another instance of my attention-deficit dyslexia. I went around and checked it from the correct side and sure enough, it said, “Smile! You’re on camera!” But at least I got a chuckle.

It’s been that kind of week: Bass ackwards and downside up. I feel as though I’ve been running around in ever-decreasing circles until I’m in imminent danger of disappearing up my own ass.

Since October is breast cancer awareness month, I had planned for today’s post to honour several of my personal friends and all the other brave women who have fought or are fighting breast cancer.

When one of my friends was going through her chemo treatments, she wanted a break from all the scary serious stuff and we usually ended up laughing in the treatment room. Cancer has enough innate solemnity, so I wanted to write a light-hearted post.

But my scattered brain wouldn’t cooperate. I made several attempts but they all felt as cheap and forced as the drilling company that sent pink drill bits out to their sites to promote awareness despite the fact that some of the chemicals they use are believed to cause breast cancer.

I could just see the board meeting for that one:

“Hey, let’s paint our drill bits pink! We’ll get all kinds of good press for supporting breast cancer!”

“Um, our chemicals cause breast cancer. We’re supposed to be supporting awareness of breast cancer, not supporting breast cancer itself.”

“Oh… Well, close enough. Paint ‘em pink and send out a press release.”

Usually I write my blog drafts on Monday, but by yesterday afternoon I had nothing but three boob jokes and an off-colour toast. (That’s three jokes about boobs, not jokes about three boobs… though I did, in fact, give my blogging buddy Linda Grimes a hard time about discovering a middle tit last week, so maybe that qualifies.)

I’m still clinging to the hope that my gray matter will cooperate and I’ll manage to write that post by next week. Meanwhile, all I’ve got is a joke that combines three of my favourite things: engineers, smart women, and raunchy humour (not necessarily in that order). Oh, and a boob reference, to, um, round things out:

An older male engineer and his young female counterpart were going out to inspect a site after the survey crew had finished. Wanting to impress the young engineer with the breadth of his knowledge and experience, the man turned to the woman as they got out of the truck and said, “We’ll get this done faster if we split up, so take whatever you need from the toolbox in the back of the truck. If we need to communicate at a distance we’ll use the secret engineering code.”

She nodded and they went their separate ways with the man chuckling inwardly. That showed how little she knew. The secret engineering code was something he’d just made up on the spur of the moment.

Looking back to enjoy her rear view, he tripped over a survey stake and knocked it over. By the time he got dusted off she was quite a distance away, watching his discomfiture with a grin. Embarrassed, he decided take her down a peg or two. He pointed to his eye, then his knee, then mimed a hammering motion. “Eye… kneed… the hammer.”

Expecting her to be completely bamboozled, he was startled and not a little perturbed when she shrugged, gripped her left boob, and then hoisted her hand into her crotch.

Frowning, he exaggerated his movements, pointing forcefully to his eye and knee and madly hammering the air. “EYE… KNEED… THE HAMMER!”

She scowled back and repeated her insulting gestures with even more emphasis.

Enraged, the male engineer strode toward her and she did the same, meeting him in the middle and looking just as irritated as he.

“What’s wrong with you?” the man demanded. “I need to pound in that stake. I told you very plainly, I NEED THE HAMMER.”

She replied, “I answered, you moron! Don’t you understand the secret engineering code? I LEFT TIT IN THE BOX!”

…And speaking of eye candy, I know I link to this video approximately every second year but just because I’m completely devoid of originality today, click here for my favourite reminder to get those breast self-examinations done!

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Filed under Humour, Life

Better Left Unanalyzed

I’ve just been reading a fascinating dialogue between Charles Gulotta at Mostly Bright Ideas (Better Left Unsaid, Part 1), and Priya at Partial View (Better Left Unsaid, Part 2).  Go and read both posts, along with all the comments.  It’s well worth it.  I’ll wait.

Now that you’re back, here’s my two cents worth. 

I was intrigued by the fact that both Priya and Charles seem to use the words “attraction” and “appreciation” interchangeably.  I think there’s a fundamental difference between the two.  Appreciation is window-shopping.  It’s harmless, enjoyable, and free.  Attraction is walking into the store to buy.  Attraction can cost you big. 

It doesn’t bother me a bit if my husband appreciates, or is attracted to, another woman, celebrity or otherwise.  My husband and I are both geeks, so our minds work a little differently than the rest of the world. 

Geeks believe that all issues can be resolved using a flowchart.  Look below for my take on the whole “Better Left Unsaid” discussion, if you dare.

WARNING:  Viewer discretion is advised.  This flowchart reveals the horrifying inner workings of the geek mind.  May cause warping, distension, or catastrophic failure of normal brains. 

Don’t say I didn’t warn you.

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Filed under Commentary, Geekery, Life