Archive for the 'Engineers vs. Artists' Category

Published by PaintingChef on 11 Jan 2012

The saga of the purple room. Part possibly one but maybe two of potentially eleventy billion.

My darling husband is an engineer and all that that implies. When he took up with me a dozen or so years ago, he was suddenly exposed to a world of clutter and disorder and haphazard “organization” the likes of which he had never seen. I? Was familiar with his breed as they are rampant in my family tree. He didn’t have that luxury. Bless his heart.

But over the years, we find a common ground and we find a way to live with each other. He only throws the sledgehammer at me if the piles of junk mail hang around longer than a week and if I get angry while he cleans up behind me in the kitchen, I make an effort to avoid organs when I stab him. We are thinking of starting a side business as marriage counselors. Or at the very least, getting a reality show.

All this aside, we do manage to exist in the same house and are both still very much alive after doing so for a decade. (FUCK I’M OLD) But over the course of a decade, couple tend to… accumulate things. Many things. And eventually, those things need a place to be things and do the things that those things do even if all they are doing is sitting in a box with other things that at some point seemed related but now all you have is a box with a picture frame, three Barbie dolls (Joan Jett, Debbie Harry and Cyndi Lauper and I LOVE THEM but I have no idea what to DO with them), a book on calligraphy, 4 issues of Martha Stewart Living and a sushi mat.

But there were many of these boxes. LOADS of them. And stacks and piles and leaning towers of things that had all been jammed in this one room whenever company was coming over and I was suddenly embarrassed to be kind of clutter-y. Rinse and repeat and suddenly we were finding ourselves in a single room, always keep the door closed, hoarders situation that we were no longer able to ignore.

So we spent a weekend cleaning out what had come to be known as The Purple Room. And that bitch turned out to be a LOT bigger than I thought! I once again have a place just for painting AND? AND!! AND!?!? I just stole my ballet barre from my parents’ house and Patrick is going to put that sucker up on the walls. Well… after we rip the weird foam sun down from the wall, sand them and paint over all the strange birds and picket fences and odd little things painted all over the purple walls. And put up mirrors behind the barre. Oh, and after we pull up the totally ruined by a formerly non-housebroken dog and put down hardwood. And find a new desk that isn’t secretly a kitchen table. And maybe re-cover a chair. And put up a television.

Shit. now I’m exhausted. Can we just close the door again? Stupid engineers.

Published by PaintingChef on 31 Jan 2006

Behold…Nature Girl.

“Hey, I’m going to go across the street and help Robby cut down a tree.”

“Really? Isn’t that one of those things that you’re supposed to hire people to do?”

“What? The same imaginary elf people that you think we should hire to clean the house?”

“YES! THEM! THOSE PEOPLE! They cut down trees and then they clean them up and then make your whole house smell like gumdrops and unicorns. We should totally call those people!”

“Okay, well, no. I’ll be back.”

“Well can I come and watch?”

“No, you’ll wish you hadn’t.”

Well, of course I went and watched and of course he was right.


“A little busy right now Susannah, what do you want?”

“Well, um…is that tree you’re in the very same one that you’re trying to cut down…?”

“Yes, it is.”

“Well, are you going to come down out of the tree before you cut it down?”

“Are we REALLY going to have this conversation right now?”

“So…that’s a yes…?”


And then later…



“Why are you holding the tree on a leash?”


I love him but one day he may kill me…and I don’t know if I’d blame him…

Published by PaintingChef on 17 Nov 2005

Believe it or not, we’re only working on a little half bath right now.

Ahhh…home improvements. Something that, I imagine, is probably the third leading cause of divorce right behind cheating husbands and cheating wives. And maybe fights about money because damn. Those can get ugly.

However, I am proud to say that I think I’ve discovered how to NOT fight during home improvement projects and things have gone a hell of a lot smoother. So I’m here to help. To share the knowledge. To tell you how do get that project done without acting on those impulses to impale your significant other with a paint roller or something equally, well…lethal.

Let’s break it down, shall we?

Hire a fucking contractor.


Have a plan. Get it in your head from the get-go what parts of this whole mess are non-negotiables and what you might be willing to “compromise” on. And just so you know…compromise in this context basically means letting the discussion of opinions happen and then using your Jedi mind tricks and the power of positive thinking to get what you want in the first place.

When the answer is “That’s too expensive” you are usually dealing with one of the other party’s non-negotiables. While a study with walls covered completely in leather and platinum WOULD be wonderful, perhaps this is something that you should rethink. Also…do you even HAVE a study?

Be careful with verbal brainstorming. When you say something like “I wonder what it would look like if we knocked off the back of the house and just went out about another 15 feet. Just to make shit bigger.” you should be prepared to follow it up with “I’m just thinking out loud, NOT making plans or anything.” Because suddenly the image flashing through his head is 4 months of sleeping (or not sleeping) while one entire side of his house is covered in plastic and DAMN he’s cold. Also? The nature comes in the house at night. Who the hell wants to woken up by a fucking raccoon?

And now…the list of briefly satisfying but ultimately non-effective means of conflict resolution:

1. Intentional electrocution. Winning by default due to death doesn’t really count.
2. Throwing paint. Just more mess.
3. Locking someone out of the house because DAMN why do they always happen to have a house key in their pocket.
4. Overly hysterical screaming and crying. Know what your own personal “overly hysterical” line is. For me, Patrick knows that once the “you never loved me and if you did you’d let me stencil unicorns and gumdrops in your garage” talk starts, he’ll just do better to ignore me because seriously? Unicorns and gumdrops? Am I 12?
5. While it is a dirty trick and may be effective in the short term, don’t blame your husband’s mother. That shit comes back to haunt you.

So you see…as long as you keep your wits about you, plan realistic projects, and keep them adequately spaced out so that the bruises have time to fade, you should breeze right through your home improvement projects with no problems.

Good luck!

Published by PaintingChef on 03 Nov 2005

Batteries not included.

Patrick: “Hey hon?”

PC: “Yeah…”

P: “Any idea why my cell phone didn’t charge?”

PC: “Well, did you put it on the charger?”

P: “Yes, but for some reason the charger is unplugged.”

PC: “I’m no electrical engineer, and may I point out that neither are you, however I’m pretty damn sure that lack of electricity to the charger is the answer to your question.”

P: “But why was the charger unplugged in the first place?”

PC: “Do you see that coffee pot next to the phone charger?”

P: “Yes.”

PC: “Well, the hamsters on the wheel inside were on strike so I had to plug it into an outlet and your four gazillion cell phones were using up the outlet where I wanted to plug in the coffee pot.”

P: “You could have moved it to another outlet.”

PC: “That is FAR too much of a thought process for pre-coffee activities. You’re lucky I didn’t try and plug the coffee pot into the toaster dude.”

P: “I only have two cell phones and one of them is for work because I am very important.”

PC: “Shut up.”

Published by PaintingChef on 16 Sep 2005

Spreadsheets, Taxonomy, and Jimmy Choo.

So…I’m married to a mechanical engineer…bless his heart.

No seriously, I am learning that we have VERY different ways of doing pretty much everything. And those methods are polar opposites and we make each other absofuckinglutely crazy on a daily basis. But it’s the good kind of crazy y’know…the kind where the death threats are followed by some kissing and grabass with a few loving left hooks thrown in for shits and giggles.

GOD I love that man.

But let’s examine an everyday activity that can be done in at least two very different ways, shall we?

How to clean out a closet the P-Chef All Star Way:

Step 1 – Pull everything out of the closet.
Step 2 – Make two piles. “KEEP” and “THROW AWAY”
Step 3 – Make a third pile “SHIT FOR PATRICK TO DEAL WITH”
Step 4 – Stop and watch 90210
Step 5 – Have ice cream
Step 6 – Also, glass of tea
Step 7 – Check email
Step 8 – Realize that Patrick will be home in like 10 minutes and throw all three piles back into closet without sorting or throwing anything away.
Step 9 – Throw entire body against door to shut it because this closet may take over your entire house.
Step 10 – DAMMIT! Where’s the CAT!?!?!?!

How to clean out a closet the Patrick the Hot Engineer Way:

Step 1 – Pull everything out of closet.
Step 2 – Make detailed spread sheet inventory of all items in closet.
Step 3 – Take closet measurements and make a to-scale diagram of closet interior.
Step 4 – Separate all items in closet into kingdom, phylum, class, order, family, genus, and species (See that? See how I pulled out the 9th grade honors biology on your ass? Boo-ya!)
Step 5 – Color code and cross-reference using date of acquisition.
Step 6 – Ask wife about every fucking item ANYWAY before deciding what to do with it while she plops her lazy ass on the bed and watches “Napoleon Dynamite” for the four THOUSANDTH time.
Step 7 – Try and understand WHY there is so much wrapping paper in a house inhabited by a woman who can barely remember her husband’s birthday.
Step 8 – Take break to drink beer when you are told that there is so much wrapping paper because its just easier to just buy some when wrapping a present rather than looking for one of the three hundred and fifty seven rolls we already own.
Step 9 – Organize everything in closet into neat boxes and crates and various Tupperware tubs and make angelic offer to wife to “Please for the love of GOD just tell me what I can build in here so that this doesn’t happen again anytime soon!”
Step 10 – Pat self on back because you have just uncovered roughly four square feet of floor space in this closet. Briefly bask in glow of accomplishment.
Step 11 – Try not to have nervous breakdown when you realize that wife sees this as four more square feet of floor space that she must ACCUMULATE SHIT ON.

Rinse. Repeat.

I love that man more than Jimmy Choo and chocolate cake.

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