Day 27: I Am Not an Engineer

February 10th, 2016

Jon and Phoebe, bedtime love

 I‘m taking part in a 30-day writing experiment. The theme for me is “personal, not pretty.” See Kale & Cigarettes for details and the Facebook Group to read stories by other 500-words-ers.

My husband is constantly perplexed by how bad I am at operating basic equipment. By “basic equipment” I mean things like our front door. I recently spent an entire day trapped inside because I couldn’t figure out how to get it open. This morning I realized that you have to turn the doorknob to the right. Do all doorknobs work that way? I don’t remember.

Jon says it would be better if I could operate the front door with a mouse, and he is right. I’m not good at mechanical things.

On the other hand, I discovered last night that Jon doesn’t know how to use a vegetable peeler. I asked him to help me make applesauce while I was making chili. I said “Just peel the apples, cut them into chunks, put them in this steamer, and put the steamer on the stove.” I am telling you exactly what I said so you will understand what happened next.

I turned back to my chili and didn’t look back at Jon for a few minutes. I heard him say, “I’ve never used one of these things, but I think I figured it out.”

Me: “What things?”

Jon: “A peeler.”

Me, incredulous: “You’ve never peeled anything, ever?!”

Jon: “Don’t make it sound like that’s weird. I mean, you don’t know how to use the hedge trimmer.”

Me: “I didn’t even know there was any such thing as a hedge trimmer until I met you, actually, but that’s different.”

Jon was a natural at using the peeler, but when I finally looked over, he had simply thrown the peeled apple, whole, into the steamer.

“You have to cut it into chunks and throw away the core.”


I looked over again and he was meticulously cutting the first of four apples into tiny little chunks. “The chunks don’t really need to be that small, but I guess that’s fine. Just as long as they’re all about the same size.”

“Wait, how many apples are there? [There were 4.] I didn’t realize what a huge operation this would be.”

“You’re doing great. When you’re done, just fill up the… You know what? I’ll just do it. Here, when you’re done, put the apple pieces into this steamer pan—which I have now put water into—and simply put it on the stove.

I went downstairs to grab the laundry. “Honey!!!! Do I need to put the lid on it???”

“Yes please!”

I got distracted between my chili and the laundry and the myriad of other domestic things. I forgot about the applesauce. A while later, I noticed it sitting on the stove. I had forgotten one crucial direction.

You have to turn the stove on.

Jon is really great at a lot of things. Cooking is not one of them.

On the other hand, he can usually get the front door open.

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