The absent-minded genius

quadraticformulaMy husband is a genius of sorts. He can fill a white board with an algorithm no one else understands, but he cannot find his glasses.

Seriously! He has even, at times, worn his glasses on a granny chain around his neck to keep track of them. It makes him look like a cross between a rugby player and a 1940’s-era movie librarian.

(These would be his regular glasses he can’t find. He knows where his prescription sunglasses are. They are in the bottom of Lac Vieux Desert in Wisconsin.)

He has also misplaced his long underwear (yeah, I’m wondering about that too), his favorite pair of mittens (for which he blames the rest of us), and once, his wedding ring (he tried to replace it with a completely different ring, hoping I wouldn’t notice. I noticed.)

He is a conceptualist. I, on the other hand, am steeped in the practical, which some might say is my weakness. He is the dreamer of 100-foot windmills in the yard, perpetual motion engines, and running a business from a catamaran in the Bahamas. I’m “With the nice weather forecast for the weekend, it might be a good time to re-caulk the siding.”

But when you’re all about the big ideas, you sometimes miss the obvious – which is why it’s good to have someone like me around to bring you crashing back down to earth.  My favorite example is a conversation that went something like this:

Him: I need a 1/4″ washer for this project, but the hardware store didn’t have any. I’m not sure what I’m going to do.

Me: Why didn’t you just buy two 1/8″ washers?

Him: (Utter silence.)

And then the door slamming as he headed back to the hardware store.

If you live with an absent-minded genius, there will be compromises. You will need to manage all household expenses, bill payment, school schedules and medical appointments. You will need to feed, clothe, and transport the children. You will need to find storage for miscellaneous mechanical inventions in various prototypical states, and tolerate a lot of odds and ends in the garage.

The upside is…well, I’m sure there’s an upside, I just can’t think of one right now.

Well, maybe it’s that he can create just about anything he puts his mind to – a beautiful pergola in the yard, a house completely wired for a completely wired family, with access to whatever electronic activity you’d care to embark.

Ah, yes…the wireless network. Reminds me of another recent conversation. We were having some strange problem that brought down half our network – the upstairs TV, two of the four wireless connections, the printer in my office. He spent hours isolating the problem and trying to identify its cause.

Him: I can’t figure it out. The signal to the router is fine, but nothing connected to the router is working.

Me: Don’t you think the router probably just failed?

Him: (Utter silence.)

And then the trip downstairs to check the router.

We complete each other. Or something like that.