Are Engineers Good Marriage Material?

by Grace aka costofcollege

 10 Reasons Engineers Make Good Partners

I don’t agree with all their reasons, but some good points are made.  Let’s explore this further.

10 Reasons Engineers Make Bad Partners

10 Reasons [fill in the blank with another profession] Make Good/Bad Partners

What makes for a good or bad partner?  Any correlation with profession?

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118 thoughts on “Are Engineers Good Marriage Material?

  1. “They make amazing teachers”.

    If you enjoy being condescended to and then sneered at behind your back.

  2. I know a few engineers from college/my community, and they’re all different. It is like saying all traders are gamblers, or all investment bankers are jerks.

    I was looking for different qualities when I was 25 vs 35. I met my rebound guy after my break up. He was a lawyer, very bright, fun, loved NYC…just a great guy. He would step over the mail that came in through a slot when we entered his home. At 35, I recognized that there might be a lot of things that he would ignore, or leave to me to take care of in a future home.

    When I met my future DH, he was carrying an umbrella because it was raining. A lot of the guys that I dated in the city would never carry an umbrella so that was a negative (that was my 25 yo brain in a 35 yo body), but as I got know him – I realized that this was a good thing.

  3. A huge % of my friends are married to engineers. My husband teases me that I must have skipped that college party with the engineering fraternity.

  4. I’m married to a structural engineer and I think there’s a lot of truth to this list. I may be biased but DH is a great husband and fits many/all of these traits. I’m going to have to show this to him.

    When DH and I were dating, he kept doing things/exhibiting traits where I would think “that’s a good long-term quality in a partner – he’s a keeper.”

  5. “The ones I know are socially awkward and have zero sex appeal.”

    See, this one IS true for me.

  6. Well, I am married to an engineer, and I think it is a good thing! I also mainly dated engineering students in college. Of course, since I am a techie myself, it makes sense

  7. Hilarious Milo.

    I have never even been on a date with an engineer. Apparently they don’t like me.

  8. “If you enjoy being condescended to and then sneered at behind your back.”

    Not my DH! Of course, he always tells me that what he spends much of his time at work doing is explaining extremely complex mathematical algorithms to extremely smart people. So he has a lot of practice at explaining without condescension

  9. I worked with engineers, lawyers and economists for years. The engineers would ask, how do we build this? The lawyers would ask, are we obliged to do this? The economists would ask, is this a good idea? From my experience, the types should not marry each other.

  10. “The ones I know are socially awkward and have zero sex appeal.”
    Um, when I met my husband, he played in a punk band, had hair dyed bright neon red, and wore earrings and cool clothes (tattoos were not yet a thing back then). I thought he had plenty of sex appeal. And there was my college boyfriend, an Italian electrical engineering major with long ringlets, chic clothes, and an amazing ability to walk up to anyone and establish a conversation.

  11. The only non engineering type I ever seriously dated was my HS boyfriend, a happy hippy artist type. When we graduated HS, he wanted me to go west with him and do art. I knew that was never going to be a happy life for me. So we parted ways. I always remembered him with fondness and wondered what he was up to. Well, the miracle of facebook – I found him again, so many years later. And guess what? He is still a happy hippy artist, living out in rural BC with his loving artist wife. They have grandkids now so they must have married right after HS. They truly live out in the wilderness, and don’t have a lot of normal amenities. I would have gone bonkers living like that, but I am glad he is happy and doing what he always wanted to do. Me, I prefer the engineering life.

  12. 10 Reasons Engineers Make Bad Partners
    Ooh, I can play this game!
    1. They are EXTREMELY organized. This can lead to conflict if you don’t put something in its proper place or don’t create a proper place for new things.
    2. They remember Every.Thing.You.Ever.Said.
    3. They react to everything logically and often can’t deal with emotions.
    4. They want to solve every problem rather than just listening and letting you vent or work it out yourself by talking through it.
    5. They are not lazy – and don’t understand the desire to occasionally just be lazy and unproductive. This can also apply to vacations that require you to “do something” at all times.
    6. Sometimes their “solutions” to everyday problems create another problem.
    7. Their “projects” often require the purchase of specialized, expensive tools.
    8. They are early adopters, so they spend a lot of money on new technology when it first comes out rather than waiting for the 2nd generation with a reduced price.
    9. They can get lost in the details and not see the big picture.
    10. They might be willing to admit when they’re wrong, but that doesn’t mean they like it and won’t hold it against you.

  13. Yeah, ITA with this. To me, a lot of it boils down to the pragmatic/problem-solving approach to life. There is very little emotionalism, getting caught up in hoopla, psychological death spirals, unstated inferences, angsting, posturing, testosterone-I’m-better-than-you-ing, heels-sticking-in-mud-arguing, etc. — all of that is viewed as a distraction to the ultimate goal of [insert goal here — early retirement, happy marriage, etc.]. I tend to be very theoretical and find it easy to get stuck on principles, so it’s a nice counter. Of course, it does require developing communications skills to bridge the gap. OTOH, it’s nice not to have to worry about being dumped for a trophy wife, because that would be an inefficient use of our resources and require delaying our planned retirement date. :-)

    On the downside, there’s this: “Engineers never really rest. Even on their days “off”, they continue to engineer away in their mind.” Yes, this is true, and this can be an exceptionally good, happy thing (witness all of the lovely furniture in my house). OTOH, this also tends to mean that “doing nothing” = “laziness” = cardinal sin (since efficiency is the highest priority, and laziness is its diametrical opposite). And I decompress in completely the opposite way: I just need to do nothing and tune out. So that’s another conflict that needs to be managed, like any other. But the larger problem is that the “engineer” personality can frequently be coupled with a sort of emotional obliviousness that doesn’t realize that just because he decompresses by Finding More Things To Do doesn’t mean everyone else finds that equally relaxing. Which, in the 2 + 4 = 4 manner of things, can lead to a sort of dismissiveness and judgment of butt-sitting — not just that he finds it boring, but with that little whiff of Lesser Being-ness. Of course, because he is an engineer, he doesn’t get upset when I call him on it, either. . . .

  14. “If you enjoy being condescended to and then sneered at behind your back.”

    Yeah, not so much. DH does *much* better teaching DD than I do — he manages to keep the emotionalism out of it and helps her approach it as another fun problem to solve.

    “The ones I know are socially awkward and have zero sex appeal.”

    I’d put it more like “the ones I know are socially awkward and so don’t realize they have any sex appeal.” DH is built like a hockey player and had an *awesome* cowlick and puppy dog eyes. But he still hadn’t had a serious girlfriend in ten years before we met, because he just. didn’t. realize. when women were making a pass at him.

  15. “4. They want to solve every problem rather than just listening and letting you vent or work it out yourself by talking through it.” isn’t this most men?

  16. I’m married to an engineer and this list made me laugh. It is a rosy view of a stereotypical engineer. My husband has no issues being lazy at home or calling in a professional. The lack of emotion others have mentioned does ring true.

  17. My engineer DH is the most disorganized person I know. He is a hoarder too, so we are always cluttered.

  18. By total coincindence, my two boys wore their matching Be An Engineer Tshirts today (freebies from an engineering festival they went to). They are geeky enough that they still enjoy wearing matching shirts.

  19. No one in our house is an engineer, though I exhibit more of the behaviors on this list than he does.

  20. I am not an engineer, but like Austin, I exhibit a lot of the engineering behaviors on the list. DS1 wants to study engineering in college, and is an “engineering type”. DH is the opposite of me–not as organized, always willing to try something new, extremely extroverted, annoying enthusiastic, etc. Sometimes I think we are the perfect match, and sometimes I wonder how we’ve stayed together for so long.

  21. DH is kind of an engineer (software, but self-taught since he was a physics/econ major) but is more toward the ADHD end of the spectrum and not the super-organized end.

  22. I have married two software engineers. What I found on the plus side is a wonderful marital kinship of intelligence, creativity and quirkiness that manifests itself in unexpected ways. On the negative side, while both are passionate, committed, and detailed about what interests them, everything else is an unwelcome distraction or unnecessary requirement foisted upon them by family, society or employer. Most of the day to day maintenance details of life in their minds would be best pared away or outsourced to a reliable personal assistant (or wife), because keeping track of this unimportant stuff wastes time and mental energy. Neither of them would look at the sky before leaving the house and would be surprised to feel rain on their face. Both would rather have no clock at all – sleep when sleepy, be up and work at any time of day or night.

  23. “Most of the day to day maintenance details of life in their minds would be best pared away or outsourced to a reliable personal assistant (or wife), because keeping track of this unimportant stuff wastes time and mental energy.”
    I find that both my Dad and DH did this (what a coincidence !). My Dad once admitted to me that he chose my mother because she would be able to teach the kids (implied was that she would run the house). I wish we could have a real vacation instead of a trip where we are constantly on the go. When I vent about this or that, I am told to ignore it. I have realized that when DH procrastinates he is waiting for the issue to resolve itself, no need to get worked up.

  24. Our vacations are always on-the-go, but we all love it that way. I think my kids would go nuts if they had to just sit around.

    We just got back from the Pacific Northwest. We visited Vancouver, Seattle and Mt Rainier. We visited a bunch of museums in Vancouver, walked all over the place, and biked around Stanley Park, twice. In Seattle, we visited more museums, did the Seattle Center, ate seafood at Chinooks (recommended here) and biked 20 miles on a trail in Redmond. At Mount Rainier, we hiked and hiked, including one almost vertical rock scramble, way up high. What views!! So you can see, we were totally on-the-go. We did build in swimming pool time most evenings for the kids.

  25. Our vacations are a good balance between relaxing and activity. I’ve learned to put my foot down and tell everyone what I need. Once the rest of the family takes a break (because I force them to), they find that they really enjoy a nap/downtime.

    I find myself taking care of the operations of the house. DH is very good with doctors appointments (making them and taking the kids) and getting kids to and from activities. However, the little, daily stuff just doesn’t hit his radar.

  26. but we all love it that way.

    How many low key relaxing vacations have they been on in order to judge?

  27. Regarding vacations, I’ve also learned that it’s ok not to do every activity together. I’ll happily send the family to do a physical activity while I lounge by the pool. I’ve mentioned this before, but I regularly send DH and the kids skiing, while I enjoy a few days at home by myself, reveling in the peace and quiet.

    As I’ve aged, I’ve learned that my own preferences matter just as much as everyone else’s. I’m less likely to go somewhere or do something that I don’t enjoy, unless it’s really important or meaningful to another member of the family. This is a lesson I wish I learned earlier.

  28. This list describes me more than DH. And neither of us are engineers. But two scientists marry and reproduce = a very “data-driven” household.

    For example –
    they have a food log for the baby to make sure he’s eating enough;
    They wait until they see a trend before they fix something (does X appliance only do [negative thing] when this cycle is running?);
    They try to fix things on their own (what do you mean I can’t fix the dishwasher, I just repaired a [fill in fancy equipment name] yesterday? That machine costs 10x the dishwasher)
    and fail miserably (apparently it’s easier to fix fancy equipment).

    You’d think we would be highly organized – we aren’t. All of our type A skills are left in the lab/office. But we have lists for everything and pre-packed bags. The diaper bag is always ready to go, and we have luggage with certain items already packed. That comes from my field work – always prepared for anything all the time.

    And we’re somewhere between socially acceptable and socially awkward.

  29. I’m trying to imagine the lists about how awful it is to be married to lawyer…. but maybe I don’t want to.

    My DH is both an engineer and a lawyer. I’d say some of that fits him– patience, ability to stay calm and out of the emotional fray (this makes him a favorite with the partners at the firm), ability to teach, get things done, commit to something. Admit he’s wrong? Snort. But that’s ok. Neither of us are very good at that one!

  30. My husband is essentially an engineer, but has no problem with lounging around the house, and he definitely does’t remember everything I say. On the whole the list is a better fit for my father.

    I know we have plenty of lawyers on here, some married to other lawyers, but is anyone a non-lawyer married to a lawyer?

  31. So, what’s your list of the bad/good points of marriage to a lawyer? As a lawyer myself I obviously can’t see the bad points, although I have a sneaking suspicion that “tricksy and underhanded when arguing” might be in there somewhere.

  32. DH and I are not engineers, and neither one of us has any engineers among our parents, grandparents, or siblings. I think that makes us quite unusual among Totebag posters.

  33. I think lawyers are similar to engineers in the Type A, detail oriented sense. DH is more low key than other lawyers I know, but he still likes to argue and is very fastidious and logical. All good things most of the time as I am the opposite of detail oriented. I like to think this can be a good quality in that I can see the big picture better than he can, but I can miss important details.

    Long hours bother me less than the fact that he has to be in the office for face time reasons even if he isn’t busy.

  34. “DH and I are not engineers, and neither one of us has any engineers among our parents, grandparents, or siblings. I think that makes us quite unusual among Totebag posters.”

    same here also

  35. Sort of on topic. Does anyone else tend to expend more energy dreading doing something than ends up being required to actually do it?

  36. Rhett – DH and I were just talking about this! We both get stuck in that trap all. the. time. The fine balance between actively avoiding doing something and doing it (to find that if you just did it in the first place, it wouldn’t suck so much).

  37. Rhett — Yes. Totally.

    The other day, in recounting his experiences on that train to Paris to reporters, one of the guys who stopped the terrorist said something to the effect of “Once you start moving, you stop being scared.” So often, I find that to be the case — I dread a task and avoid it, and keep dreading and avoiding it, and work myself up to the point of almost being physically ill over the thought of it. But once I actually get in and start working in some sort of productive way, I usually end up seeing it as a project that is quite do-able (even if it isn’t all that pleasant).

    (Not that anything I do is ever remotely comparable to saving a train full of passengers — I just liked the quote.)

  38. Engineers are very different and it sounds like software engineers are overrepresented among the relatives of people on this blog. Nuclear engineers are the most cautious, I think, followed by chemical engineers. Software engineers are less cautious, I think, due to the nature of failure in that field. This list reminded me of mechanical engineers, the type which forms the basis of the stereotype.

    Similarly, lawyers that deal with regulations/trusts are probably different than public defenders or divorce attorneys.

    Mr. WCE is even more emotionally oblivious than I am. He doesn’t like it when I’m emotional (which is rare) and views emotions as character flaws to be avoided. So I agree with LfB on that point. Meme mentioned the lack of interest in day-to-day life issues, and we suffer from that as well. I manage most of life’s minutiae and we explicitly discuss tasks I would like him to handle. (“Please stop by the grocery store and buy the items on this list” or “I’m working late this year on these two days of the week, and you said you’re willing to cook more. Which night can I plan on you making supper?”) I’m not good at getting projects around the house done, at least at this stage of life, because dishes and laundry are continually calling my name. I’m a multitasker by nature and he works on one thing at a time and does it well. Fortunately, our boys are at the age where intense supervision is no longer needed.

    I think most high-level occupations require detail orientation and planning. The lawyers on this blog and the professors I know IRL life are detail oriented planners. The retired physician who organized our church family campout this weekend was so organized that the park rangers commented on it. I love organization and can’t imagine having four children this age without being at least moderately organized.

  39. “4. They want to solve every problem rather than just listening and letting you vent or work it out yourself by talking through it.” isn’t this most men?
    Maybe, but I think I’m kind of the same way as a woman. So having 2 engineers with that particular problem-solving mindset married to each other was not good. Like we were always trying to fix things for each other instead of just having empathy.

  40. “Sort of on topic. Does anyone else tend to expend more energy dreading doing something than ends up being required to actually do it?”

    All.The.Time.

  41. Nuclear engineers are the most cautious

    Yes, my husband is that. Eeyorish, even. My dad’s field is/was electrical engineering and radar in particular. I don’t know if that field leads to any special traits.

  42. I dread a task and avoid it, and keep dreading and avoiding it, and work myself up to the point of almost being physically ill over the thought of it.

    Exactly!

  43. DH is a structural engineer. He said when he first started out, he would have nightmares that he’d made a mistake in a building calculation and that the building collapsed killing everyone in it. He said this is pretty common among new engineers. It helped put my work in perspective because I know no matter what mistake I may make in a spreadsheet, no building will fall down.

  44. “Does anyone else tend to expend more energy dreading doing something than ends up being required to actually do it?”

    Yes. Unfortunately.

  45. I have an engineer uncle, a brother who should have been an engineer, and a son who likely will become one. They are so different from the rest of the family. They are detail oriented, they are actually interested in how machines work, not just as a way to make a job interested, but in how the parts work together. They don’t engage in the same sort of wordplay the rest of us do. One of the hard things about parenting my son is actually recognizing his talents because they are so different. Recently, we were on vacation and the stove at the rental cabin didn’t work. DS casually followed the path of power to the various connections and correctly diagnosed the problem. He is 12. Which, as it happens, is just what my brother and uncle would have done, so it seems not worth much notice. A good friend was there watching, and pointed out that 1) what he did was an accomplishment and 2) his family ignored it. Oops. Trying to correct that in the future.

    Is the emotional distance engineers seem to put up a defense from growing up with a bunch of people who are just clueless about their talents/accomplishments?

  46. I do NOT like to argue – why I chose the field I did. I get uncomfortable when colleagues (litigators) are too curt for my taste.

    Meme’s description works somewhat for my DH too – when we met he had been living in a place for 18 months and owned neither a sponge nor a vacuum! Also had not been to the dentist in 7 years.

  47. Well, that was a nice attempt at a stock market rebound today. Better luck next time.

    “Stocks are on sale!!!” all the MMM devotees on his forum love to say.

  48. Sooo…how much lower are stocks going to go? (I offer no predictions). But, for those who believe in the dividends + price appreciation theory of building wealth I offer:

    http://indexarb.com/dividendYieldSorteddj.html
    If you believe GE is a worthwhile long-term investment, you’ll get dividends = 4% of the current share price of $24.

    and this: companies that have increased their dividends annually for at least the last 25 years: http://www.topyields.nl/Top-dividend-yields-of-Dividend-Aristocrats.php

  49. Rhett– I have a real tendency to do that What I have found helps (when I remember to use it!) is the “next steps” thing from Getting Things Done. I just figure out the tiniest next step I have to take and add *that* to my list (not the big project). Often it helps me get over the hurdle of starting and I find myself doing the work. So I have a gigantic brief to write and I don’t know where to begin. I figure I can start by setting up the caption and a blank document so I have a place to put whatever I start doing. Then I find myself entering the boilerplate stuff and marking what I need to change. And then I start researching. And then… You get the idea. Big projects are too much, but “call architect” is so much less horrible than “plan remodel” and it helps my brain.

  50. Fred – I definitely believe in that, whether it comes in the form of actual dividends reinvested at cheaper prices, or some sort of buybacks where they’re buying their own stock on your behalf. Either way.

    I also wonder, with the target date funds that are supposed to maintain X% in stocks and (100-X)% in bonds, how often are they rebalancing? For anyone who’s been investing for a few years or more, that rebalancing would be much more significant in terms of “buying dips” than all the Internet chatter about “should I put $5k in today or tomorrow or wait til next week…”

  51. Fred – Dividend growth stocks make up the equity portion of my portfolio. Works well at 63 for me in good times and bad. Boring, but steady. You are, IIRC, 50 ish, with tuitions still on the horizon and two incomes. Worked well for me at the same age, one income but last tuition payment at 52.

    As for dips at the end of the day – Professional day traders can make their biggest scores in this sort of market, but they as a rule cash out their entire position by day’s end.

    I always put stuff off. But today I finally couldn’t avoid some financial reports for a volunteer gig from other peoples records. The dread was justified.

  52. On the original topic…I don’t think that anybody really reduces to their occupation. My father was a civil engineer, and his life trajectory went like this: 1938, graduated high school and went to Caltech to major in geology*. 1940/41? Left school to go to WWII. 1945, came back from WWII with “Battle Fatigue”, enrolled in Stanford as a pre-law major (back then, you could take the first year of law school as your senior year of college, and get your BA and JD in 6 years). Decided that law school was horrible, worked as a surveyor for a couple of years, and finally went back to Stanford for a Masters in Civil Engineering, mostly so he could get married and support a family.

    So was he an engineer? He worked as an engineer for decades. In a perfect world, he would have gotten history degrees and been an historian. He worked as an engineer. I would not say that he WAS an engineer. He was a complicated person who got a decent middle-class job and raised a family.

    I really dislike identifying individuals with their occupations.

    *Whoever said that geologists are people who are good at math and really like hiking must’ve had my dad in mind. See also: the surveyor job. If he could have spent his whole career outdoors he would have been happy.

  53. You think there’s any Venn diagram overlap between the circles of Burning Man attendees and Totebag regulars?

  54. Aw, just the one time. My ENGINEER friends go. They have engineering degrees. From Stanford!

  55. RMS is right, as usual. My two software engineers have advanced training in Architecture and Musical Composition, respectively, but needed to earn a living. And I was an historian of science who ended up doing tax planning to earn a living. And I had to look up Burning Man (I have heard of it before, vaguely).

  56. I really do want to go to Burning Man, but I need to be much thinner and younger. Maybe next year!

  57. But the parts that sound coolest to me, the art-and-invention stuff, you can find at a Maker Fair. Why do I need to go to a desert infested with fur-codpiece-wearing weirdos?

  58. Meme,
    The stock market is still on sale. I am searching the couch cushions for money.

  59. Why do I need to go to a desert infested with fur-codpiece-wearing weirdos?

    I’m sorry, where are you going with this?

  60. I just messaged my STANFORD-EDUCATED ENGINEER friend and asked if he and the other STANFORD-EDUCATED ENGINEERS I went to high school with remain clothed at Burning Man. His reply: ” ‘clothed’ is relative”.

  61. Someone posted this on Facebook. There are lots of times that I get nostalgic, and then there are times, like this one, where I wonder how I ever survived (or why anyone would want to) in a system of such mind-numbing minutiae as is exemplified here:

    http://www.docdroid.net/I1lZjzU/comdtmidnnote-3121-midshipmen-procedures-for-2015-football-season.pdf.html

    In particular, I thought Rhett would enjoy this. It’s a level of detail that nobody in their right minds would ever think is important (save for some engineers, I guess).

  62. Rocky – I really like your 4:51 comment.

    My grandfather was a factory shipping clerk for much of his working life.

  63. Engineer friend: Can you live on 2 hours sleep and alcohol?
    Me: how is that different from any given Wednesday?

  64. I just invested a bit in the stock market today. Thanks, everyone, for the reminder. I like dividend stocks, but my accountant and advisor dislike them. I’m mainly in index funds.

  65. Tangent: Does anyone have a suggestion for reasonably durable, moderately priced, reasonable quality sunglasses that are widely available? Lots of pairs I’ve tried squeeze my head and are uncomfortable. I am also not particularly careful with glasses since I don’t normally wear them.

  66. I’d love to go to Burning Man once, just to have the experience. Maybe not when they’re having the crazy bugs like this year though.

    WCE– I forget if you are Costco-adjascent where you’re at, but our closest one w/ an optical department usually has great rates on a few polarized glasses. I’ve had good luck getting sunglasses there well priced.

  67. WCE’s question reminded me that I had one of my own: DH and I both need new glasses. Does anyone have a good recommendation on where to go to get them? DH says we should check out Wal-Mart. Is Costco a good option? Target? My regular eye-glass place has mediocre frames/service and high prices, so I’m looking for a change.

  68. “I really do want to go to Burning Man, but I need to be much thinner and younger. Maybe next year!”

    I can see that you might be thinner next year, but how do you get younger?

  69. “Tangent: Does anyone have a suggestion for reasonably durable, moderately priced, reasonable quality sunglasses that are widely available? Lots of pairs I’ve tried squeeze my head and are uncomfortable”

    Well, since you are an engineer, I will suggest you take a look at safety glasses. I buy boxes of 6 pairs of safety glasses from Sam’s club for about $12; they meet OSHA specs, filter 100% (or nearly 100%) of UV, are pretty durable, and I don’t get bothered when they get broken.

    OTOH, I recently bought a pair of Nikes at Costco for $30something. They are polarized, which none of my safety glasses are, which I find beneficial while driving.

  70. Houston,

    Have you tried Framesdirect.com? You’ll need to get a prescription but I’ve had really good luck with them.

  71. “They earn a comfortable living doesn’t rank in the top 10?”

    I wondered about this too.

    I’ve mentioned before how at a previous job, many of the non-engineer females viewed marrying an engineer as one way to a nice, comfortable life, in no small part because of their earning potential.

  72. I have been very satisfied with Costco for eyeglasses. I recently got a pair of prescription polarized sunglasses for driving and outdoor activities and the guy on the desk made great suggestions for the frame and the coating. Price was reasonable. The selection of frames is not particularly chic – middle of the pack in design and price. They keep your prescription on file. For reading glasses I can use drugstore quality readers and I buy Costco three packs and have glasses in every room.

    WCE – my ophthamologist is an avid outdoorsman and he buys his non prescription polarized sunglasses at the drug store. He said fancy ones were of no greater optical value. I personally prefer a brownish tint to a classic green one – try them both for your comfort.

  73. “the Kansas City Hyatt Regency walkway collapse all involved thinking errors. ” (from the link HM posted)

    I remember reading about this right after it happened, and thinking that the collapse was a result of not thinking on the part of some non-engineer. The failure was not due to an engineering error; it was because someone involved in the implementation of an engineering design did not follow the design exactly, and made a substitution without consulting the design engineer(s).

  74. Houston, for glasses, we usually go to Costco when we can wait a week or so for them (they’ll tell us it’ll take a week to ten days to get the glasses, but we’ve always had ours be ready in less than a week). Their prices are good, the quality of frames and lenses seems good (i.e., we’ve never had quality issues), and they’re rated highly by Consumer Reports. OTOH, their selection of frames is not the greatest, especially for kids. They also have coupon deals every now and then on glasses (current deal is for youth glasses).

    We’ve bought some glasses from Wal-Mart with no problems, but Costco is more convenient for us.

    If we need the glasses right away, we usually go to LensCrafters. They have a pretty wide selection of frames, and usually have the glasses ready the same day, but they cost a lot more than Costco.

  75. I am married to a 2nd generation Engineer, and we may be raising a 3rd generation Engineer. My FIL was an Electrical Engineer, but my DH is a Mechanical Engineer. DH jokes that he became a ME because he had a cheap soldering iron growing up and kept burning himself. DS does not have a cheap soldering iron. DH resembles some of the items on the list and I resemble others. The two things about DS that I attribute to his being an engineer are: 1) Always thinking in worst case scenarios, and 2) Needing to acquire all possible tools, and all possible materials to handle any potential project that might come along. I remember driving along with my FIL, who stopped to pick up some rubber tubing that was left along the side of the road. Several years later he had a project that needed that rubber tubing. We have a white board in our kitchen/dining room (convenient for working on math homework), and DS has a workbench as a desk in his bedroom.

    I’m the daughter of a trial attorney. The biggest drawback was that if my Dad doesn’t like an answer he will keep asking the same question in a different way, over and over again. Another is that he sounds equally expert on a topic, whether he actually is _the expert_, or whether he is making it up.

  76. I have used coastal.com in the past with great results for regular glasses. I lose glasses all the time, so cost is a pretty big consideration. They have a wide variety of specials – I think I got 2/$75 last time (frames, lenses, etc.).

    What worked for me is to take a pair of old glasses that fit my face well. I measured the frame size to the mm – and then found frames online with similar or identical specs. Though all these places have pretty liberal return policies, I was happy with the initial product.

  77. WCE: We used to get DS 3M Classics Series Safety Eyewear for $9.99 at Sears for his sunglasses.

    I’ve bought sunglasses, and the 3-pack readers at Costco.

  78. “So, what’s your list of the bad/good points of marriage to a lawyer?”

    Didn’t we recently discuss how being a jerk is a highly valued trait for lawyers in certain types of practice? I would think being a jerk would fall under the bad points.

    On a related note, engineers typically must work collaboratively, and getting along with others is a valued trait for engineers. This probably is a good point in favor of marriage to an engineer.

  79. “if my Dad doesn’t like an answer he will keep asking the same question in a different way, over and over again.”

    I thought this was a female trait, sort of like how wanting to solve problems rather than letting the spouse just vent is sort of a male trait in the Venus/Mars tradition.

    I guess it is also a kid trait. DD does it all the time, e.g., asking for something, and if I say no, she just keeps on asking for the same thing over and over.

  80. WCE, you might also just use Mr. WCE’s shooting glasses. If he uses clear glasses, you might look for tinted ones where he buys his shooting glasses.

  81. I can see that you might be thinner next year, but how do you get younger?

    Oh my God, you’re right! I’m so confused!

  82. Houston – I use my suburban Costco for glasses, but the person who helped me there said the Galleria location has a better selection of designer frames.

  83. HM: I will try “Objection, asked and answered”.

    Finn: I don’t think he would concede to being argumentative.

  84. Dh is engineer and near-perfect partner for me. The list fits him almost to a T, and he complements me well. Man of my dreams. I am the lucky one.
    We have struggles in life but no one I would rather have on this journey. (Friends seek him for advice bc they know he will think things through and offer his perspective and usually what he sees as 2-3 viable options. Me – I get emotionally involved, which usually does little in the problem-solving area.)
    Great guy. Wonderful human being. One of the hardest parts is sharing him with family, friends, colleagues, neighbors, etc. You would never think of him as extroverted Mr. Popularity, but it is amazing the people who seek him out. Creative, bright, logical, steadfast, true… I count my blessings every day.

  85. OK Rhett, you piqued my curiosity, and I just skimmed the Wiki article on the Citibank Building. Their substitution of bolts for welding sounds along the lines of the substitution made at the KC Hyatt, where instead of one set of long rods supporting two walkways, the construction company used two sets of shorter rods.

    I also went back and read about the KC Hyatt, and apparently the engineers who designed the building bore some of the responsibility for that failure.

  86. Thanks for the sunglasses advice. Maybe I’ll celebrate Mr WCE’s return and the start of school in a couple weeks by visiting the Costco Optical department with only Baby WCE. The fact that drugstore/department store sunglasses don’t fit my head makes me think that our sons’ 90th percentile heads may not be entirely Mr WCE’s fault. We’ve joked prior to labor that head size is a downside of having him as my children’s father.

    Today’s discussion makes me think of my FIL, a nuclear engineer and plant manager who was the kind of guy you want dealing with the nuclear regulatory commission (NRC). When the pharmacist got his chemotherapy pump set wrong by 10x, he figured out the error within a few hours, turned the pump off and called the pharmacist, because continuing to receive chemotherapy at the wrong rate would kill him. The pharmacist insisted he was correct. Unperturbed by the fact that the pharmacist’s error had nearly killed him, my FIL responded, “Let’s go through your calculations,” and found the error.

    Mr. WCE has much of that skill. I was surprised that RMS doesn’t like to be taught by engineers. Mr. WCE was voted outstanding TA in his department and is never condescending.

  87. I tried buying glasses at Costco once and they were terrible. I got a scratch on one of the lenses within a month even though I paid for the anti-scratch coating. And they attracted dust like crazy – I was constantly having to clean them. I never glasses that did that before or after. So I went back to buying at the place connected to the optometrist. They are a bit more expensive, but they do provide great service. One time the glasses didn’t seem right so the optometrist redid the refraction and it was significantly different, and they replaced the lenses for free. When DD got her glasses, she didn’t like how the frames fit, so they let her pick new frames and ordered new lenses at no cost.

  88. @WCE – DS’s large head was a conical shape when he was born. I marvelled that the skull was flexible enough to allow that. DS’s homeroom teacher is a grandmother and has taught for around twenty years. His math teacher (a male – rare breed) is a 17 year veteran. He has one teacher for whom this is her first year teaching.Overall there is a good mix of experienced and new teachers. In the lower grades the teachers get to try their hand teaching different grade levels/subjects. I think the rotation is good because it keeps teachers at the school but job wise keeps things interesting for them.

  89. “Another is that he sounds equally expert on a topic, whether he actually is _the expert_, or whether he is making it up.”

    See, I thought this was just dads.

    @WCE — feel your pain. My kids also have abnormally large craniums (DS was off the charts when born and has worn adult-sized hats since he was about 7-8 — hmm, maybe that’s why he never wants to wear sunglasses). I tell the kids its their space alien DNA.

  90. Another mom with huge headed kids. My oldest had to have an ultrasound to rule out hydrocephalus when his head circumference hit 23 inches at nine months. No hydrocephalus. Just a giant noggin. He has pretty much always worn adult hats except as an infant. My baby has a big (95%) head, but not off the charts like my other two. My kids are living bobble heads.

  91. I can see that you might be thinner next year, but how do you get younger?

    Oh my God, you’re right! I’m so confused!

    Rocky have you been into the edibles again? ;)

    And I think Burning Man sounds fun

  92. I’m the one with the huge head in our family. I’m barely over five feet tall, and yet I have to get hats in mens’ size L/XL.

    Re. finding glasses that fit, one of my ears is quite a bit higher than the other, and so glasses had always sat lopsided on my face. It drove me crazy, but I figured I just had to deal with it. Last time I got glasses, though, I went to a new shop (local, not part of a chain), and the owner was able to get my glasses to sit perfectly straight across my face. He’s now my go-to eyewear guy.

  93. Thanks everyone for advice on glasses. I did not consider online sources, so I will investigate.

  94. Cat, in light of the topic of today’s post, I must suggest that your baby’s head circumference was 23 cm, not 23 inches.

  95. Sorry, Cat, you’re right at a year. My error. I’m mentally stuck with second trimester head circumference measurements forever.

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