Healthy Families Don’t Mess with the Family Geek/Fixer!

10 Jan

After almost 25 years of marriage, Noel and I have gotten to a few comfortable places in our relationship.  

I am the family technogeek, such as it is.  There is much I still don’t know about technology, but I am as good as it gets at our house.  I can usually figure things out, eventually, or get someone on the phone line to walk me through them.

I also am the estate keeper of Chateau Martin (or Manderley, as we named our home, reflecting my love for the movie “Rebecca”). 

I got that from Proverbs 31, where it kind of looks like the excellent wife knows every inch of her family’s estate, and tends to it when it needs attention.  

I also got that from being better at being able to figure out systems than anyone else in our home (see “technogeek,” above).  

I spent many years wondering why my husband didn’t step forward and act like my dad when things broke until I realized that I was the one born with my dad’s genetics.  So what if I am a girl.  Sue me!

That said, this week produced a few hiccups as we got our son ready to return to college in Wisconsin tomorrow.

First of all, my husband had a seminar at which he wanted to wear a specific pair of suit pants.  He had not seen them since our trip to pick our son up for Christmas break.  We had only driven to an airport a couple of hours away, but we had stayed overnight in a hotel in that direction, as my husband had another seminar.  

When he told me about the suit pants, I cringed.  After our son arrived in December, I had washed a huge pile of his clothes on the washer and had found, belatedly, that a pair of suit pants were in there.  I had assumed they were our son’s and had hung them in his closet, wondering why he brought them home from college.  

I now realized those were my husband’s suit pants.  They had, inadvertently, gone through the wash, which should never happen to wool, but since my husband has recently lost weight, he did all right with getting them on.  

He also did all right with understanding, eventually, that my mistake was in not realizing, in a million years, that his clothes could have gotten mixed in with Joey’s, especially his wool clothes!  An honest mistake by a hardworking mother and estate manager.

Then today, I went out into the garage to vacuum out our suitcases and bring them into the house, especially Joey’s so he could pack it for tomorrow.  

I unplugged a couple of things in order to plug in the hand vac.

When I replaced the plugs, I couldn’t fit them in straightaway so I left the freezer plugged in and the sprinkler system unplugged (so I thought).  

Half an hour later, my husband said his computer was messed up.  

“That’s, um, interesting . . .” I said, in a non-commital way, thinking how I had just purchased McAfee protection for my notebook at New Year’s and can install it on all of our devices when we have the time.

A few minutes later, he said it was not only his desktop computer but his television upstairs.  I suggested he reset the router, then reset the television by unplugging it and plugging it back in, the way Verizon said it works.

Noel came downstairs and noted that our downstairs television was also not working,along with my notebook on the kitchen table.

As he went to get the number to call Verizon, an idea was germinating in my brain.  I popped outside and plugged the “sprinkler system” back in.  Everything in the house came back on.

Ah, yes, I had inadvertently unplugged our network from its Verizon interface in the garage.   

So the technogeek had messed up her own network.  Noel just laughed at me as I told him it was “my bad.”

The lesson for us and for others is that Noel is happy to trust me to manage our estate.  He is the money man; I take care of the physical plant.

What I have noticed can produce tension in other marriages is the same thing that used to produce tension in ours.  If the wife/mother is functioning as estate manager and doing all of the work of that position, there is a tactful way to ask her to modify her methods.  Not all husbands understand about that tactful part  . . .

Other men can aid and abet marital warfare, too.  For instance, have you ever heard a man refer to another man’s wife as a “slovenly housekeeper” especially in taking care of his study or in delaying in picking up his clothes off the floor?  

This is where I get off the train, folks.  Fair enough if the wife is the estate manager, but no one had better ever criticize her for not moving quickly enough to pick up the messes her husband creates.  That doesn’t make her slovenly.  It makes him slovenly.

In short, work out between you how the work gets done in your home, but be gentle in suggesting changes to your spouse.  And never let others criticize your spouse for the roles you have worked out as a couple.  

That’s piling on, and even football players get protected from that!!!


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