Posted by: Bonnie Anderson | June 12, 2012

B.Y.O.E. (Bring Your Own Engineer)

I don’t know why Bob lets me travel without him, but I suspect he knows his value goes up every time I do.  You are familiar with the terror alert status that was instituted post 9/11.  I believe Bob often puts himself on alert as he heads off to work leaving me to my own devices.  So join me as I step into Bob’s head and see how it works and how he prepares to come home to me after one of my typical days.

First you should know that stepping into Bob’s head is no small task.  Bob is an engineer, so his mind is a complicated place to maneuver.  There is logic lurking at every corner – it’s very hard to avoid.  I really should have a GPS to guide me, though it would have to have vocal commands because I cannot read maps – it’s another area where I rely on Bob.  But since I’ve been married to Bob for nearly 37 years, I think I will be able to feel my way around in there, so here goes.

Always on Alert or Life with Bonnie (as I imagine it is for my husband)

By Bob Anderson (not really, it’s me, Bonnie)

Scenario #1 – Okay, she’s just going to the grocery store, it’s sunny outside and she seems well rested.  I can relax on this one – Alert Status:  Low

Scenario #2 – The grandkids are coming over while I’m at work and she has to feed them and entertain them for four hours – Alert Status:  Medium-Low, which means I’ll probably end up cooking dinner.

Scenario #3 – Bonnie has to take my dad to the doctor and run errands with him – Alert Status:  Medium-High, which means I’m definitely taking her out to dinner, perhaps a bouquet of flowers would be in order.

Scenario #4 – Any computer problems – Alert Status:  High, meaning I have to keep Bonnie from throwing the computer out and pull out my “your computer is your friend” speech, which she will not listen to because she is out in the yard bird watching in an effort to relieve the stress.

Scenario #5 – The following is a true story, which now has given way to a new alert status.  This status is along the lines of Alert Status of Hazardous to herself and those around her, but that’s a real mouthful so I’ll just call it Alert Status:  Screwdriver, meaning she has tried to do something mechanical that will undoubtedly result in loss of property or at the very least damage to some inanimate object.  She has overstepped her prowess with a screwdriver or a higher capability tool.  God is continuing to sanctify her by humbling her once again by her inability to perform the most ordinary of tasks.  I will probably want to drink a screwdriver when I have to fix the mess she has made.

Why Everyone Should Travel with an Engineer

By Bonnie Anderson (really)

Before going to the beach for a time away with my sisters and my mom last month, Bob and I purchased a wonderful (according to its own advertising) beach tent/canopy.  It was the perfect thing to allow more time on the beach for my northern sisters while Mom and I applied #70 sunscreen, wrapped ourselves in a towel and sat in the shelter.  Mom and I live here in Florida.  We both see our dermatologists often.  We put the “white” in white people.

So we bought this thing, went home and set it up in our living room.  Bob went first.  Presto-chango, nothing up your sleeve – voila – we have a tent in our living room.

Next it was my turn.  Pull, pull, pull, strain, strain, strain, grumble, grumble, grumble and at last the tent was pitched.  I took it down and put it up again with no trouble as Bob looked on.  Remember those words – “as Bob looked on.”

A couple of days later we ladies head to the beach.  We take our shelter down where I inform my sisters that I will have no problem setting it up (I do notice a little eye rolling on their part).  Pull, pull, pull, strain, strain, strain, snap, crackle, pop and the tent was half way up.  The pole on the droopy half snapped somewhere in the process.  We could manage one chair in the tent, but you couldn’t stand up in it.  Still we thought at least Mom could sit in it for a while.

This worked in my living room.

It was a very short while.  Within ten minutes (no exaggeration) the tide started encroaching on our little area.  Mom was already not enjoying her view of the front of the tent hanging in her face as she stayed out of the sun, so I knew it was time to take it down.

How it looked after I put the tent away

Things got worse.  Because of the broken thingamabob I could not fold it up into its neat little package.  I did manage to gather it into a very large clump and left the family on the sand to go put it in my car.  Picture somebody carrying a half-popped tent under her arm while trying to maneuver up the sand, through two gates, through the lobby of the resort to the parking garage.  Yep, that was me.  Thankfully I had my trusty Ford Explorer, so I popped the back and crammed the thing into my car.  One final shove and a slam of the door and it was stowed.  Thankfully, Bob and my dad were arriving the next day.  I knew he would be excited for one more confirmation of why I need him so much.  It took him no time at all (that’s his expression, I know that there really was time involved, just very little) and it was in its nice little package ready to be returned to Costco.

A neat package after Bob spent no time at all folding it up

Bob also had the foresight to bring a new umbrella with him.  It was the regular, garden variety type that I believe I could put up, but we will never know as I was not allowed to touch it for reasons that even I agree are valid.  He screwed it down into the sand for us and set up our area.  We have all agreed that Bob is allowed on any girl outings.  It seems wisdom would say, “Always travel with an engineer.”  So my new motto, BYOE (bring your own engineer).  It is very handy for me as I have one of my own.  I think I’ll steal American Express’s old motto and not leave home without him.


  1. Oh Mom, you always make me laugh- even out loud this time. (If you may remember- I think we warned you about this tent… we bought, tried and returned ours in Hawaii pretty quickly. You may have been in a drug induced rush from just achieving your living room set up though, so you probably didn’t hear us! 🙂 And by the way, at which point in marriage does getting inside your husbands head become an achievable thing? After 10 years it still seems a pretty dangerous task! Maybe I need your tips! 🙂 Till then I’ll just live with the mystery that is my husband!

    • I do remember your warning, but that’s where Dad comes in. I don’t know what kind of gifting he has that allows him to make things work, but I’m glad I married into it. I actually think you may have a portion of that gift. As far as getting inside your husband’s head goes, it’s fun and interesting to tell each other how you view the other one’s thought process. Dad is not as apt to go into my head though. Go figure.

  2. Very funny, my own husband is also an engineer only he designs dental equipment, but he still has that ‘mindset’. We do need them don’t we?

    • Interesting, Sharon. Bob designs lasers – now for dept of defense, prior for eye surgery. And yes, I don’t know what I would do without him. We wives of engineers are a blessed bunch.

  3. Thanks for making my day once again, Bonnie! You always make me laugh……I think because I can relate! =)

    • Thank you, Mel. Life really is pretty funny, especially after a little time passes.

    • Its so sad that Melodye is NOT married to an engineer so she has no help at all – that’s why we had children!

      • Ha ha! Yes, and it was handy to have one living next door to you til the kids gifting kicked in!

  4. Bonnie I was laughing (almost forgot how to spell it LOL) out loud reading this and I could see the whole situation taking place. Love it

    • Thanks, Mog. I really got my exercise that trip and somehow Mom and I managed to avoid getting a sunburn even though both of my sisters did.

  5. Very funny Bonnie! Bravo

  6. Bonnie, this post really made me laugh out loud! A bunch!! So much that my very “non-engineer” husband had to come out and read what you wrote!! (I don’t WANT to get into his head….too many other people in there!)
    Do you suppose you could implement a “Rent-A-Bob” business so we could have a tent at our timeshare this year? Love you both!! (Except Bob during Catan)

    • Rent-A-Bob…hummmm that could be what we do after retirement. Thanks for the idea.

  7. This was BRILLIANT!!! I’m still laughing….

  8. Ah, for the gadget-gifted and the technology tyro, alike!

  9. […] Bring Your Own Engineer – A humorous look at how a woman depends on her man. Maybe you can relate. […]

  10. Dear Bonnie,

    Please allow me to hand you a little blogging award for that tender humor and smooth writing of yours.

    Would you care to come over to my blog
    to pick up your award and meet some interesting bloggers while you’re there?

    Thank you. Keep writing. Be well.

    • You are so kind! Thank you. I stopped at your blog and really enjoyed the pictures. I have been to Santorini and loved it. Now you are making me want to go back. It may take a little time for me to follow through, we have a lot of unusual things on our plate right now. I’ll try to get back to it next week. Thanks again.

      • Take your time, Bonnie.
        Hope everything’s fine too. 🙂

      • Thank you. We have had friends staying with us as he recovers from being in the hospital as well as family visiting. One of those unusually busy times.

  11. Hilarious Bonnie!

    • Thanks, Robyn. Hey, I didn’t know you have a blog. I’ll have to check it out.

  12. Oh my. Great laugh. I’ve known you and I are alot alike, but I just read about more reasons why. We should NEVER go anywhere together…without our men. My husband is no engineer but he can put up a Costco beach canopy in no time. Imagine how fast he and Bob could do it together! Miss you!

    • It makes me happy that we’re alike in this area, even if that’s not a good thing. It’s nice to have another connection with you. I miss you, too, and hope you’re doing well.

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