Marriage: Is it rocket science?

It is in my house.

My husband Michael is an honest-to-dog rocket scientist. Or in today’s parlance, an aerospace engineer. As if that isn’t hair raising enough for any self-respecting left brained, emotionally-driven red-headed Irish-Italian, he comes from a family of five boys. You read that right. Five.

And. Every. Freaking. One. Of. Them. Is. An. Engineer. (It makes me think of the Stepford Wives, only this time the wives suck out their husbands brains and start reproducing.) What’s it like being a girl’s girl married to a guy that hails from a cozy nest of five testosterone-laden, left-brained, highly critical  (if they aren’t, bridges fall down) boys?  Hilarious. And hell. Picture this:

I was 8 1/2 months pregnant. All those pregnancy hormones were working their magic as I floated about life in a pink mist of contented domestic bliss. I was in the kitchen baking muffins. (Dead serious.)  Twenty bucks says I was barefoot. Hubby was out in the driveway dressed in car-guy garb tinkering about on his Saab. (All engineers drive Saabs. It’s in the rule book.)  My life had become a cliché. I was inside, barefoot and pregnant in the kitchen and he was outside doing manly things.

The front door opened and his Lord High Worshipfulness of the Screwdriver appeared. “Joanne,” he began. “I need some help with the car. Gotta minute?” Suffering from temporary pregnancy-induced insanity, I remember thinking as I waddled out to the driveway, “Isn’t this lovely? We got a real partnership going here.” I envisioned him under the car doing his under-the-car stuff as I patiently stood by like a surgical assistant, handing him tools.  He turned to me and uttered these fateful words, “I need some weight on the front of the car. Would you mind sitting on the hood?”

When he came home from the hospital, he intelligently began the process of learning women are a different species than men.  That was 15 years ago. Oddly enough, we’re still married. Having a daughter has helped immeasurably in his “all-things female” education. I can only thank God that I was his practice run before Kate became a young teenager.

We still struggle with his frequent bouts of engineeritis. I understand now that it’s a permanent condition that goes into periodic remission. Also turns out that I’M the one who had to learn that to stay married, acceptance is far easier than attempting to change someone’s DNA. Took me almost 15 years to figure out that I had the power to decide to be happy, even in this cock-eyed marriage. It was quite liberating and far less exhausting. And just in time. Kate’s coming into to her challenging teen years and all that this entails. I’m entering menopause with hormonal swings that rival a wrecking ball.

I’m not proud to admit this, but it does feels a bit like payback. Hehehehehe…..

12 Responses to “Marriage: Is it rocket science?”

  1. Lisa Parisani Says:

    September 30th, 2010 at 5:42 pm

    What can I say???? You rock! A great blog, and wonderful learning about your family (I never knew Michael had 4 brothers, and they are all engineers HOLY CRAP!) I was married to an engineer for 14 years….it’s amazing how there is never any grey area, it’s either black or white, PERIOD.

    Looking forward to the next blog, Sista!

  2. Alice Robinson Says:

    September 30th, 2010 at 5:46 pm

    Thanks Joanne. You’re off to a very good start, imho.

  3. Karen Richardson Says:

    September 30th, 2010 at 5:54 pm

    Fantastic … so refreshing to see … keep it up, can’t wait for the next “spontaneous combustion”!!!

  4. Marti Barletta Says:

    September 30th, 2010 at 8:01 pm

    Joanne –

    Okay, first off – LOVE the name: Spontaneous Combustion! So evocative, so energetic, so YOU!

    Second, love this post. I’m married to a “recovering CPA” (accountant), and, much as I treasure him, I’d put my hubby up against any buncha engineers any day for linear thinking, inability to read facial expressions and – what shall we make the final contest? – failure to adore wife’s sparkling wit?

    His inability to keep up when I skillfully and creatively jump the tracks from whatever topic he started out on but now I’m done with never ceases to amaze me. It’s gotten to the point that, when I remember, I literally say, “I’m going to move on to another topic now….”

    Anyhow – love the blog. Can’t imagine how you find time to be such a prolific writer. Two blogs? REally??!! Ya just doin’ it to make me feel even worse about my lameness in this area?

    The fact that you’re so insightful AND (damn you!) so funny only makes it worse. Good thing the sun is shining here in Chicago and it’s a gorgeous fall day; otherwise I’d just have to go throw myself off a bridge… or maybe eat a gallon of ice cream (not sure which is worse).

  5. Richard Says:

    September 30th, 2010 at 10:17 pm

    Brave of you, Joanne, to open a comment section. But that’s an important part of a real blog, that interaction factor. How often can we expect to see new posts here?

  6. Kim Says:

    September 30th, 2010 at 11:02 pm

    Try growing up with one as a parental unit.As your daughter is! My dad was a research scientist,family fun time was spent doing math puzzles and brain twisters. My brother is a computer geek and one of my sister cooks like she’s doing a science experiment. Sure I learned to solder helping to make electronic equipment (I now make jewelry). And heaven help me, I remember that touching the punch cards was a reasonable excuse for murder!Is it any wonder I am the family computer dinosaur! I have threatened to make my own costume(and I could but it would also involve tulle, ribbons and fabric paint)And I still love and even more important, like them all!

  7. Maria Says:

    October 1st, 2010 at 12:13 am

    Deciding to be happy – simple and brilliant . . . .something more of us need to do. Nice blogging.

  8. Kim Says:

    October 1st, 2010 at 1:35 am

    Despite the fact that I have remained blissfully unmarried for the entirety of my adult life, I appreciate a good marriage rant. And this was as good as it gets. Cheers, friend.

  9. Simone Erwin Says:

    October 1st, 2010 at 1:58 am

    Love it Joanne. You’re as clever and funny as always! Write it…I’ll read it.

  10. Robi Hamilton Says:

    October 1st, 2010 at 9:10 pm

    As much as I would like to read your blog at work, my cohorts get upset when they have to pick me up and put me back in my chair—because I’m on the floor, rolling with waves of laughter. Keep it coming…to my home email please.

  11. Sabine Schleese Says:

    October 3rd, 2010 at 6:22 pm

    Joanne – you never fail to amaze! Your writing is always so insightful, humorous, and intelligent. I am writing a blog three times a month and know how much time that takes; you are taking on two of them? kudos lady – you’re my hero! (for more reasons than one!)

  12. Wil Maddeaux Says:

    October 4th, 2010 at 3:45 pm

    Joanne: beautiful blog.
    there’s a book out called (something like) Men are like waffles, women are like spaghetti, that you might enjoy.
    my addition to marital bliss is:
    Lord, give me the patience to accept what i cannot change — my spouse — and the courage to change what I can change — myself — and the wisdom to know the difference.

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