My husband fancies himself an inventor. Really, he’s more of a gerry-rigger, but we’ve discovered that it’s best not to argue with him. Tomato/Tomatoe, Potato/Potatoe and all that. We are all better served if we just nod our heads in an affirmative (and enthusiastic) way while he’s attempting to sort out the latest conundrum that has presented itself here at the hovel. He finds it helpful to have Fangette and I around to fetch him the scissors, the tape, a shoe lace, or a button — whatever it is he needs — when he gets into full “mad scientist” mode.
Unlike me, who prefers to be left to my own devices when working out household problems of great magnitude — things like how to keep the pot lids from sliding out of the cabinet every flipping time I attempt to free up a skillet — Fang always seems to require the presence of others when he sets out to “fix” something.
I also tend to rely upon items that already exist to solve my problems. For example, I used a metal filing tray to keep my pot lids in order. I bought one at Staples. Simple.
Fang prefers to fashion his own devices. And, he enjoys company while doing so. Like a stand-up comic working out his timing, Fang needs an audience.
He likes to tell you what he’s doing while he’s doing it, too. Mostly this consists of saying things like, “I’m cutting circles out of cardboard now.” You know, just in case we couldn’t discern this by watching him work, as if our powers of observation were not up to snuff. It reminds me of the play-by-play guy during sports telecasts — the one who insists on pointing out, as the players are taking the field, that “the players are taking the field”.
As everyone knows, the play-by-play guy needs a good color commentator. That’s where Fangette and I come in.
I figure if I have to be present, I may as well have some fun. To this end I ask questions like, “how big are the circles?” — because I know he will not only answer my inane question, but also because he will tell me why the circles are of a certain diameter. He will do this in great detail. This line of questioning and the ensuing explanation surely makes the process of “invention” take longer, but I find it fun. I subscribe to the theory that if I have to be there, I might as well make the best of it.
As an added bonus, our shenanigans drive Fangette crazy. Like most adolescents, she would rather get back to watching grass grow than be forced to spend any amount of time engaging in family-related activities with her parents. No matter how often we tell her that “inventing is fun”, she just doesn’t seem to enjoy it as much as we do. Her presence is important, though. Historically, she has been the one in charge of Velcro.
In addition to her responsibilities involving Velcro, we have come to rely upon her — or, at least, I have — for the making of snarky comments. This used to be my area, but, over time, she took up the mantle — she’s good at it, too. She’ll make some poor, unsuspecting guy a fine wife some day.
During Fang’s most recent foray into the wonderful world of inventing, Fangette pointed out that this whole thing could have been avoided had he simply purchased a travel mug that fit into the cup holder with which his car is equipped. She told him that he could have returned the mug, minutes after buying it, when he realized it wasn’t going to fit properly into the cup holder, thereby avoiding all of this “inventing nonsense”.
I took this opportunity to point out the number of travel mugs we already own — travel mugs that Fang has been buying and tossing aside after one or two uses — the ones that he has deemed unacceptable for one reason or another — over the last fifteen years. Yes. That is correct. Fang has spent fifteen years purchasing undesirable travel mugs. (Don’t even get me started on the number of years Fang has spent attempting to find the “perfect” sunglasses!)
If his latest “invention” works, I fear that our overnight guests will be sorely disappointed, in that they will miss their parting gifts. In an attempt to rid my life of the “perfectly fine, but not good enough for my husband” assortment of cast-offs collecting dust in a cabinet or lying fallow in a drawer, I have been known to send these poor, unsuspecting lodgers on their merry way with a travel mug filled with a hot cup of Joe in one hand and a pair of sunglasses in the other.