If he’s going to the store to buy hardware for his latest project, your engineer can be trusted to remember all 40 items he needs – but will in all likelihood buy 4 times the amount of material he needs, to be sure he doesn’t run out.
The extra material will be added to his giant “stockpile” in the garage or back shed. You are probably right in thinking that there must be at least 5 of the items he’ll be buying that are already in the stockpile, but even he can’t find anything in there, and he values his time too much to spend any significant time looking, or (worse yet) organizing the pile!
If, however, you are sending him to the store for household needs, the engineer cannot be trusted to remember more than 2 items. Be sure he’s got a list, specific instructions about not buying anything not on the list, and a photo in his camera of everything you want that is not a daily use item. Better yet, give him a picture of everything you want, even if he takes the box of cereal out every morning for his breakfast!
It may seem like extra work, but it will save a lot of return trips to take back inappropriate purchases.
This need not be a symptom of encroaching senility, but is rather a problem of too much useless trivia being stored in the brain, crowding out the more useful stuff that you’d rather have him remember.
Why can’t your engineer seem to remember everyday details?
When you feel personally responsible for finding solutions to the problems of the world, it’s hard to focus on a box of whatever healthy cereal you have determined that he should like!
To overcome this lack of focus, all you have to do is connect what you want to his emotional centers.
Where are those??? Good question! Many wives are still looking!
For household & cleaning products, let him know how much time he’ll waste, for example, by hand washing the dishes. You are trying to be thoughtful so that he has more time for his own projects. His “project time” is special to an engineer, so it’s a powerful focusing tool.
For shopping trips for food, be a little less direct. “Honey, you remember that salsa taco dish that you just love? Well, I’m thinking it might be time to cook it again, and I have this recipe for a salad that would go wonderfully with it. There’s just one problem – I’m missing about a dozen items.”
You hooked him when you used the word “problem”. Now, quickly, before his next ADD moment occurs, give him a kiss and your list and photos, then say “If you miss any of these, we won’t be having salsa taco. I know I can count on you to get it right!”
When he gets home, do yourself (and him) a favor – check how he did. If he got it right, then a kiss and a compliment for his focus are in order. Let him know that you really appreciate his efforts to please you, but that something changed your mind, and so there’s a completely different menu planned – which just happens to be the one you had planned in the first place.
Believe us, he’s NEVER going to figure out the ingredients in any recipe – to him it’s just food, although he might wonder why this food list included cat litter – but that thought will pass quickly! So you can use one or two of his favorite meals to justify almost any food purchase. If he ever gets suspicious, just pick another recipe to use. Easy as pie!
Instead of worrying about the things he doesn’t do well, why not express your gratitude for the greatness of the vision that drives him to want to succeed for you.
While your at it, you might also be thankful that many engineers never actually get their vision into reality. Imagine how BAD the world might be otherwise!