Engineering Disease strikes my sock drawer

Engineering DiseaseAs I’ve discussed before, my husband has Engineering Disease.

Engineering Disease is a tragically under-reported condition that impacts the entire family, not just the sufferer.    The actual sufferer of the condition may or may not even be aware that their behavior could be considered abnormal or aberrant.

But it is.

Mine is not a normal family.

I’ve come to realize that I’m the product of multi-generational compounded engineering disease.

I was at my mom’s house the other day (more accurately, I was in her garage) when I realized it.

Her husband (an engineer) was in the process of making boxes to store his stuff in.

He was taking existing cardboard boxes, cutting them down, and then taping them back together so that they would be the precise size required to hold the contents of the box.

They subscribe to a ton of magazines that are subsequently recycled.  So he was busy making boxes that were the exact right dimensions to hold the magazines in a neat stack until their trip to the recycling station.  Since many magazines have different dimensions, he was making unique boxes for each unique size.

(please tell me this isn’t normal.  i don’t want to think that retired life holds nothing more exciting than customizing my own recycling bins.  on the other hand, all that time i wasted playing tetris may come in handy.)

My mom didn’t even raise an eyebrow.  She’s used to it by now.

Then I remembered my furniture.

I have the perfect sock drawer.

I have a dresser that was built by my grandfather (my mom’s dad).  He designed it, cut the wood, and assembled it.   Not only was the man an engineer, but his dad (my great grandfather) was a carpenter.

I love my dresser.  The drawers aren’t like normal drawers.  Instead of big wide drawers that go all the way across, there is a series of three deep narrow drawers in the middle.  They are the perfect size to hold under garments and socks.

(it’d share some photos, but right now i can’t even get into that closet.  the plumber and painters are in the way.  sorry.)

Instead of a deep drawer at the top, it has a shallow one that holds jewelry perfectly.  There’s even a drawer that holds my purses upright.  It’s pretty amazing.

I’ve never really thought about it, but that sock drawer is really pretty cool.  The socks fit in there perfectly.  As long as I bundle my socks up into matched pairs, they fit.  I don’t lose socks, I never feel like I’m having to dig through the drawer, and the drawer always holds my stuff.  It’s just this… perfect sock drawer.

(OK, the bra drawer is equally fabulous, but it’s sock week.  And I’d rather not talk about my bras.)

The family legend is that my grandfather actually collected data on how my grandmother folded clothes.  He measured the folded garments and figured out the dimensions of each article of clothing.   Not just one pair of socks, but multiple sock pairs over several weeks.

(if you’re picturing a guy with a clipboard and slide rule you would be right on target.   somehow, measuring your own underwear with a ruler doesn’t seem creepy.  measuring someone else’s underwear with a ruler… does.  eww.)

My Grandmother lived with Engineering Disease

He built the drawers based on how my grandmother folded her clothes.

I’m pretty certain that normal people don’t do that.

My grandfather built a second dresser for his own stuff.  My cousin has that one, but as I recall there’s a drawer just the right size and shape to hold cuff links.

It makes me wonder.

Was it worth it?  Did my grandmother ask for custom made drawers for her drawers?  Did she express displeasure with store-bought furniture?

What led up to the custom drawer thing?  Had they tried cardboard drawer organizers (or whatever they had back in the forties) and been unhappy with them?  Was this caused by stuff sliding around in drawers and getting lost?   Had they tried folding clothes differently to make them fit the space better?

What problem was the engineer trying to solve?

If you live with engineering disease, you know what I mean.  If you don’t —  just trust me.  There is no way my grandmother walked up to her husband and asked him to start measuring stuff and making furniture.  It just didn’t happen that way.

I feel slightly guilty about our socks.

My socks are tucked away in custom designed heirloom joinery.  (yes, joinery is a fancy word for wood furniture.  i looked it up.)  The rest of my family isn’t so lucky.

My kids have their socks in a plastic tub originally sold for washing dishes in.  I have, very thoughtfully, written “SOCKS” on it with a sharpie marker.  The tub is just the right size to fit on the shelf in their closet.  (yes, there’s a row of those tubs on the shelf… each labeled).  As a bonus, I can grab the tub and pair up socks whenever I’m feeling overly domestic.

(i have to say i love the dish tubs.  they stack neatly when not in use and they are the perfect size for all kinds of stuff.  they’re cheap, and they’re durable.  score!)

My husband’s socks are tossed into a basket on the shelf of our closet.   If he’s happy with it I’m not going to change it.  I don’t have the desire to go measuring his socks for a custom cardboard box or anything.

I’m not the one suffering from Engineering Disease.

Then again, normal people don’t declare “sock week” on their blogs.  I probably should hold off on the gloating for now.

Got any stories about your own engineer?  Don’t suffer in silence… share.

[author] [author_image timthumb=’on’][/author_image] [author_info]Houston Mom Blogger Susan Baker has a passion for encouraging weary worn out mothers to find joy in everyday motherhood. She has two elementary school boys, one engineering husband, and one cat. She has a strange fascination  for eggs, socks, and books.  She spends far too much time on Social Media and at Target. She is crazy in love with her family.  She serves an amazing God.   She lives an ordinary life filled with wonder. [/author_info] [/author]

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Susan Baker
I have a passion for encouraging weary worn out mothers to find joy in everyday motherhood and peace in unlikely places. I have two elementary school boys, one nerdy husband, and two cats. I have a strange fascination for bad puns, the color pink, socks, and books. I worry about running out of toilet paper, wine, and chocolate.. I serve an amazing God. I live an ordinary life filled with wonder.
Susan Baker
Susan Baker

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  1. I am pretty sure the way I keep my socks would scare any engineer as I just toss them in the drawer–nope, I don’t even match them. My husband has to have his socks folded together though. How exciting that you have heirloom furniture for storing your socks though! I can’t wait to see what is next for sock week.
    Jean recently posted..Menu for a Cold January WeekMy Profile

    • I don’t match them up normally. But I will match up hubby’s socks when I want something…

      I would never recommend the heirloom sock drawer thing. It’s huge! You know how engineers are when they get carried away with an idea.

      As for sock week– I’m working on something egg-ceptionally amusing. I hope…

  2. I would love to have that joinery (see, I can use fancy words too! :))
    My husband occasionally has bouts of this disorder and then we get a new shelf put up, a light bulb exchanged, a furniture moved to just so! I must remember never to show him this post and give him ideas!! :))
    Roshni recently posted..Messiest Mom of the Week!!My Profile

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