Friday, April 30, 2010

I is for Inventions

The Engineer never does things the easy way. Or the fast way. He does them thoroughly, and that takes time. Let's start with the garage. When we moved in, we were so excited to have a garage. A two-car garage. Our previous home, a 1925 bungalow in Old Town, had no garage. Now we can park indoors! And store things! I was so stoked to stop scraping ice in the winter, and to be able to step into a cool car in the summer. It didn't quite work out that way, though.

It all started innocently enough. We filled one side with garage “stuff”, you know, shovels and rakes and various implements of destruction, bikes, skateboards, roller blades, and all those other wheeled toys my children like to test my blood pressure with and ride in a manner I find dangerous. The other side was going to be for my car, since it was newer than his.

All was well until the wallboard. I don't remember where it came from, but The Engineer collects things. Things that other people throw away. Or things that cause people call us with the question, “We didn't quite know what to do with _________ and were wondering if The Engineer wanted it.” Regardless, we had seven sheets of wall board, and they were leaning up against the wall, making it very difficult to get into the car. “Honey, would you please move the wallboard to the other section of the garage, I'm having trouble getting in.” You'd think this was a simple request, and easily done. You don't know The Engineer. Ask him, and what you get is, “If I'm going to move it over there, then I need to move the _______, which frees up the back wall. But while I have it cleared, I might as well put up the pegboard I was planning to, but I was also going to redo the sheetrock on that wall, so I'll have to do that first. And then what's the point of putting up the pegboard if I don't paint that wall, and as long as I'm painting the wall, I might as well redo those outlets, because I don't want to be messing up my new wall when I get to it. And while we're at it, we might as well paint the whole garage because we'll already have the paint, and the equipment, and that way we don't have to drag all that out again.” My “move the wallboard” turned into remodeling the garage. And I didn't park in it for a year. Because who has time to do the garage project when you have LED's to play with.

Which brings me to the growth chambers. The Engineer spent several years experimenting with LEDs, long before they were the new buzz word and in everything from flashlights to tail lights and traffic signals. He saw their potential, and wanted to invent an application as grow lights, for starting your seeds indoors before gardening season. But to experiment with lights and which color combinations produce the best growing plants, he needed a place to grow said plants. And our house didn't have one. So he built one. In our crawl space.

The crawl space was just that, only tall enough to crawl in. That didn't deter him one little bit. He just dug it out. Over the course of a winter, he removed half the crawl space. So now it's “the cave”, with four, separate temperature and light controlled compartments. He had to install a new breaker box to take the load of the high pressure sodium lights which were to be his control. Each chamber has it's own thermostat, which he can program remotely. Nothing shabby or second rate about this set-up. I'd take pictures and show you, but he's rather shy about some of this experiments.

I think he should be proud and show them off! Not everyone has the patience to dig that long or that hard, carting five gallon buckets on a dolly around the water heater and furnace, making that tight turn in the laundry room/food aisle, and then up the stairs, dropping little dirt clods on my white carpet. And I don't know anyone else who'd build a conveyor belt, with custom fit bucket, so that instead of tracking dirt along previously described path, it goes straight out of the crawl space and up the window well bypassing the white carpet altogether.

As you can see, life with Mr. Visionary is never boring. He can fix ANYTHING that goes wrong with the house, and when we installed our wood burning stove, I had full confidence that as he hacked into our duct work, to install fans, to pull all that heat up to the main floor, the whole thing system would work beautifully, and it does. I just can't park in the garage, because that's where you'll find his latest project: Sparky Von Boom Car, the electric conversion. But that's a story for another day.


Chatty Crone said...

Your writing is excellent - I followed and understood it all - all to well that is. My husband is not an inventor per say, however things get done in a very similar manor here. An hour project ends up days! I'd call mine more Tim the Toolman.

Glad your husband can fix anything. Hope you get your place back soon.


Steph said...

Ughhh... men. Mine is the same way.

Aging Mommy said...

Look on the bright side - your husband takes on some big projects and gets them done. Mine never even attempts them - his philosophy is to outsource, and I am the one designated as manager of the outsourcing too!!

Linda said...

we have plans and are working on them. So much to do in our house.

Jenny said...

I love this. It kinda/sorta reminded me of "If you give a Mouse a Cookie" for some reason!

I need to borrow him for a few weeks!

GardenofDaisies said...

Mine takes things apart so something can be fixed and then never puts it back together. I am still missing part of my basement ceiling, from when we had to take it down to pull out part of the wall paneling to fix a leak. The wall is back, but not the ceiling. Ack!!

Amanda said...

Gotta love 'em. I think I parked in our garage for about one year out of the sixteen we lived in the last house. We have TWO giant storage units in our new city -- one contains all of our house hold goods and furniture. One contains tools and garage stuff.

Jingle said...

you are smart,
very fabulous thinking here.

Jingle said...

I decide to follow you.
Happy May!