How to cure engineering disease with a red shoe

I’ve already mentioned that my husband has what I lovingly call “engineering disease” in a previous post.

I love him to distraction, but sometimes… I just have to walk away and find the secret chocolate.

This weekend, I was mildly annoyed with the fact that my husband had to re-engineer the kitchen in order to grill some hamburgers for lunch.

I did what any red-blooded blogger would do.  I took to twitter.

I started chatting with Roshni from Mom Of Big A little a.  Her husband has engineering disease too.

Sadly, I have no photos.

But I can tell you the story.

Early in our marriage, we got into lots of fights because I wanted things done RIGHT NOW but my husband wanted them done RIGHT.

That was before I understood what a terrible thing engineering disease is or that it impacted our family.

Me:  Will you please hang those pictures?  They’ve been sitting there for three months!

Him: I don’t have all the stuff I need.

(what does that mean?  you have a nail.  what else do you need?)

So I went to the store and bought one of those picture hanging kits.

Me:  I got you a picture hanging kit.  Will you PLEASE hang our wedding photo before my mother visits?

Him: I don’t have time.  And I need a level.

(what does it take two seconds?  sheesh.)

So I bought him a cute little four inch long level.  I set it next to the picture and the hanging kit.  In a pile.  On the floor.  Right where I wanted the picture hung.

He stubbed his toe on the level.

After he finished laughing at it, he asked me to return the tiny little level to Walmart.  He went to the store and purchased a THREE FOOT long level.  Because it was more accurate.

This was my first indication that he might have engineering disease.

The big level was leaned against the wall.  Right next to the picture.  He moved the picture hanging kit out to the garage.

(or so he said.  i never saw it again, i think he returned it to Walmart and bought “real” hardware.  from a hardware store.)

I had had enough.

I grabbed my favorite picture hanging equipment.

It happened to be a red leather high heeled shoe left from my wilder days.

They could probably have been called hooker shoes if you want to be honest.

I had actually used one of the shoes to hammer a nail into the wall (to hang a picture) in my confused single days.  I didn’t own a hammer, and it worked better than the can of beans.

Don’t ask about the beans.

(y’all do remember that i exploded a can of condensed milk, right?)

I grabbed the shoe and walked over to the wall where I wanted the picture.

shoes are better than beans

I held a nail in place with one hand and the shoe with the other.

Him: What are you doing?

Me: Hanging a picture.  What’s it look like?

Him: With a SHOE?

Me: It works.  Trust me, this is better than using a can of beans.

He gently took the shoe out of my hand.  Then he went out to the garage, got his giant hammer and big-boy level and hung my picture.

It took him five minutes, including the time he was laughing at the shoe.

He didn’t ask about the beans.  I think it scared him.

I think I learned something that day.

Nagging hadn’t worked.

It never does.

You can’t cure engineering disease.

i own a red shoe

But if I really want to motivate my husband, I just have to do things with the wrong tool.  He can’t stand it.

I confess.  My husband has engineering disease, and I own a red hooker shoe.

true confessions - engineering diseaseAnything you can add?  Care to confess to your own red shoe story?  Does your husband own a giant big-boy level too?

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 love this post!! I laughed out loud. I have definitely lived through scenes like this one. It’s absolutely true that the moment I attempt to do it with the wrong tool, he steps in. But aside from that, your hints at the can of beans had me in stitches. You are a riot!
    Dawn recently posted..I’ve Been Thinking About Priorities.My Profile

    • I’m sorry to hear that you can relate to this. Really, I wish I could spare other women the pain of living with engineering disease. It’s just too much for a woman to bear.

      Someday, maybe I’ll have the courage to share more about the beans.


    This was a great post…I had high heel black boots, before I switched over to all brown, I called them my Charlie’s Angels boots, I would pose every time I passed a mirror, I LOVED them.

    Yeah, my hubby is home-repair challenged, I often have to do things because he WILL mes it up, but means well.

    • Our pastor openly talks about having had a “mechanical bypass” at birth. He called his wife when he got a flat tire! He’s an awesome guy, and I’m always so glad to hear him talk about how God paired him with the perfect wife because she can handle all that DIY stuff.

      I think I’ve heard his wife (lovingly) say just about the same thing you did… she tries to fix stuff before he sees it so he won’t mess it up.

  3. OMG!! Why didn’t I see this before??! Love it!! Our husbands are so alike…we have literally bought up most of the Home Depot just so that he ‘has the right tools’!!
    I will now go out and buy myself a pair of red shoes, just in case!! 😛
    Roshni recently posted..Public school teachers are awesome…and I’ll fight anyone who says otherwise!!My Profile

  4. Your story reminded me of my friend, Lynn. She was married to a man who had engineering disease, too. He wasn’t actually an engineer like your husband, though. Anyway, anytime she wanted something done, she just started doing it. Her husband promptly took over and got it done (eventually). She was a master at getting him moving! I was always really impressed.
    Patty recently posted..What’s For Dinner?My Profile

    • It took years for me to understand the power of the red shoe (whether literally or symbolically). I think finding a way to motivate our husbands without nagging is an advanced marriage skill. I wish I could teach it to every new bride I meet!

  5. Aaaak! Susan you had me a the word “level”! If I had a dime for every time Hubby and I fussed about his level….well you know the rest of that sentence! 🙂
    Paula recently posted..What is a Great Busy Mama Snack?My Profile

  6. You may in fact be married to my husband. He’s an engineer with a 3 foot level, a laser level, a stud finder and a pencil. 🙂 Just to freak him out I just nail frames up without measuring…..or *gasp* a molly. I recently MADE him hang a collection of frames without getting all geeky and measuring between then, etc and I swear he was twitching!

    • OK, after I finished laughing loud enough to wake my kids (and spew my beverage), I read your comments to MY husband. He started twitching and gave me some detailed geeky stuff about why it was so wrong.

      I forwarded my hubby this post earlier. He responded by forwarding me the email where he got his latest patent approved. Classic.

  7. I didn’t realize it was such a widespread problem! It has taken me a while to learn the valuable lesson that nagging doesnt work but we have been much happier since I did! Only problem is, hubs has caught on to my act of saying i’m going to do something my way just so that he will do it right. He just sits back to watch, knowing I am bluffing! Damn him.

    • Oh no! My hubs caught on to that one too. He retaliated by shrinking some clothes and putting my bra in the dryer. But the joke was on him — he turned his own undies pink. I have a solution, but it will have to wait for another post.

  8. Lily from It's A Dome Life says

    I Love this! Nothing lights a fire under my husband faster than me doing something myself. He doesn’t have engineering disease though, he has procrastinationitis. I think he would be more likely to nail something into the wall with a red hooker shoe than I would.
    Lily from It’s A Dome Life recently posted..That Time I Was Mistaken For A ProstituteMy Profile

    • Very confused. Does your husband WEAR the red hooker shoes, or just use them to nail things into the wall? I have a bad case of procationitis myself, so I can’t help you there.

  9. This is great! I usually am just reserved to the fact that I will most likely be doing these things on my own if I want it done within a 6 month period. My Hubs does definitely NOT have the engineering disease. Not even the hint of a rash or a cough! Nicely done!
    You Know it Happens at Your House Too recently posted..TGIF Blog Hop; Week of September 14My Profile

    • I know it’s a blessing that he is actually handy and wants to fix things. I try to be thankful that when he does something, it’s done right.

      But when he starts talking about needing to calibrate his level… I just have to go buy shoes.

      Oh, and THANK YOU for hosting the most enjoyable and rewarding blog hop ever!!!!!!!

  10. This is just too funny! I was laughing so much! You shouldn’t do that to me when my kids are still sleeping! What if I wake them up? ahh! My husband has the “Monk” Disease… that’s what we call it around here… he is super organized and clean but yes it takes him a long time to do everything! The good thing is that if I leave one dirty cup in the sink at night, my WHOLE kitchen is sparkly clean in the morning! 🙂 … Let’s not talk about my motivations behind leaving the dirty cup in the sink in the first place *wink* *wink*
    Paloma recently posted..Coffee Friday – New Orleans Style!My Profile

    • I haven’t heard of Monk Disease – is there a cure?

      Wish the dirty cup trick worked in my house. sigh…. I’m sure you only leave it by accident.

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