Saturday, December 29, 2012

My Conversation with Captain Obvious

My company is big on camaraderie.  We are always having large group meetings, Town Halls, United Way events, Ice Cream Socials, etc etc.  Sometimes, these events come with required clothing.  Matching required clothing. 
The last company event involving matching shirts had to be picked up in the cafeteria one day over lunch.  One of the girls on my team was out of the office that day and asked me to pick up hers.  Sure thing, no problem.  Now, I’m not a small woman, I’m not huge, but I’m not small either.  But my co-worker…is tiny.  And when I say tiny, I mean she is 4’10” and weighs about 90 pounds soaking wet…TINY. 

So I walk up to the table and ask for a shirt in ex-small.  As I watch the girl walk towards the boxes behind the table, I make eye contact with a man standing next to me.  I smile and he says to me “You’re not a small”.  Now my first reaction to this statement was bewilderment. 
Did he really just say that?  Did he really just call me fat?  Am I really going to end up in Human Resources today because I’m about to deck this guy?
Then the look on his face registered.  He was genuinely confused.  He honestly didn’t understand why I would be asking for an ex-small shirt.  He thought he was doing me a FAVOR by pointing out the fact that I’m not a small woman.  Well thank you Captain Obvious for making sure I knew this about myself, and that was pretty much when the filter turned off between my brain and my mouth. 

Here’s how the conversation went:
Captain Obvious: “You’re not a small.”

Me:  “Really?  Are you sure?”
Captain Obvious:  “But a small isn’t going to fit you.”  (see, this is where the true social ineptitude of a genius shines through)

Me:  “Oh I don’t know. I thought I could wear it as a tube top.”
Captain Obvious:  “But how are you going to wear that?”  (sometimes it’s just too easy.)

Me:  “Well I thought maybe my dog could wear it for me.”
Captain Obvious:  “But you can’t bring a dog to work.”  (and now it just becomes sad)

Me:  “Sure I can, I have a permit.” 
And then I smile sweetly and walk away.  Leaving Captain Obvious to mull that one over for awhile.

They’re rocket scientist…not game show hosts.


Wednesday, December 12, 2012

Middle School Science Fair, Rollercoasters and Homeland Security

Last year, the science teachers at my son’s school gave everyone the same assignment for their final projects.  Build a “scaled down model of a real working rollercoaster”.  This also involved a field trip to Elitch Gardens for “inspiration”.  After spending a full day at an amusement park eating junk food, riding all the rollercoasters and throwing up, each student was suppose pick a ride to build a model of.  My son picked a Drop Tower.  Yeah, because everyone enjoys being dropped from 8 stories in the air right?
However, there were also rules.  You couldn’t use anything like Legos, Lincoln Logs, K-netcs kits, etc. etc.  You were supposed to only use things from around the house to build the rollercoaster.  Oh yeah, because I always have 6 inch wide PVC pipe lying around in my basement.  Doesn’t everyone?
Of course the Dangerous Engineering Duo missed that memo, because once they had planned out what they were going to build and how, there were then several trips to Home Depot.  You would be amazed at how many of the seemingly innocent items for sale at Home Depot can be morphed into something resembling the UFO’s you see in grainy pictures.
For the next several weeks, the Dangerous Duo started building the “working” drop tower in the garage.  Complete with a 3 foot tall piece of black PVC pipe, a soldered battery pack and a bunch of wires coming out of the top.  It looked like they were building a pipe bomb.  And of course they did this with the garage door open for all the neighbors to see, which then lead to reports of “suspicious activity” in my garage and several police vehicle drive-byes.  So the division of labor in the house for this project was:  Dad helps build the tower…Mom deals with Homeland Security.  Seems fair right?

Then we had to take it to the school.  Let me tell you, you haven’t really experienced what it’s like to live with engineers until you’ve had to take a project to the school that resembles a large pipe bomb.  When you have to explain to campus security that it’s really just a science project and the science teachers look at you and say “wow, I’ve never seen one look so authentic before”… you know you live with engineers.
After my son demonstrated his project for his final grade, it was then displayed for all the other kids and parents to “ooh and awww” over one evening.  Many of the parents are afraid of us now and one of the students looked at my husband and asked “what do YOU do for a living”? 
The police drive-byes have tampered off, but I’m still waiting for Homeland Security to knock on my door.

Sunday, December 2, 2012

The Battle of the Passwords

Well, my son is grounded from his computer again.  This shouldn’t be a big deal right?  The kid whines, tells you how much he hates you, slams his bedroom door, blah blah blah.  I’m sure that’s what happens in normal households, but in a house full of engineers…it turns into what I call “The Battle of the Password”!
“And in this corner, wearing 17 years experience in engineering and computer security….DAD!!!”

“And in this corner, wearing 4 years of latest technology knowledge and a passion to prove to his parents that he knows everything…A TEENAGE BOY!!!”

What happens next?  Both parties calmly go to their separate corners and start plotting their plan of attack.  The boy starts plotting ways to either steal his laptop back, convince his sister to give him hers for awhile, or rummage through the home office and build a new one.  True story…its happened.
Dad on the other hand leads with a very simple move; he changes the password on the wireless router.  No password…no Internet access.  Easy right?  WRONG!!!  Why is this wrong?  Because the person who suffers in this move is ME!  Oh yeah, it works great to keep the boy from getting online (for about a day), but it also keeps everyone else from it as well.   Grrrr…..

Of course it can’t be a simple password either.  No, no…it has to be something I will never remember like supercalifragilisticexpialidocious##936$@\*0.   And obviously I never get it right, then have to wait for Dad to get home so that he can effortlessly type it into my machine and get me back online.  Because you know the world might end if I’m away from the Internet for any significant length of time.  Hey, it could happen.
The winners of this Battle Royal vary.  Sometimes Dad wins with his super secret password changes, and other times the boy wins by getting his sister to lend him her laptop so that he can hack into the settings and figure out what the password is.  Oh yeah, trust me…it’s happen. 
So for the next three weeks, my daughter and I will be watching this intellectual slugfest waiting for one of them to cry uncle.  Which could take forever since neither of them is ever willing to concede.  *sigh*   I live with geniuses.

Saturday, December 1, 2012

Top Ten Signs You're Living With an Engineer...

...or an Engineer in Training.

1.  You can’t use your home office because its looks like a cross between Radio Shack and a place where computers go to die.
2.  You have a credit card for Fry’s Electronics.

3.  You get a letter from your Internet provider saying you need to upgrade your service package because you’re a “heavy Internet user”.
4.  Your son gets grounded from his laptop so he decides to build his own using spare parts from the home office (aka computer junkyard), and hides it in his room so he can continue to play games online when you aren’t home.

5.  You’ve purchased three different Parental Control software programs for your sons computer, and he’s managed to hack them all so he can have unlimited time and access to the Internet.
6.  You have to purchase all your husband’s clothing because otherwise he will look ridiculous.

7.  Coffee and chocolate are food group.
8.  There is an SOP (Standard Operating Procedure) for every family vacation.

9.  Video games are a competitive sport.
10.  Members of your household attend a ComicCon conference in your area at least once a year.