The Engineer’s Daughter

I colorize my closet by season, and my kitchen cupboards are organized by end use. OCD or just efficient? You tell me. My niece laughs and says this is “so German”.

It’s not obsessive. It’s a common sense approach to life. I take the long view: a thing I do more efficiently now is less likely to give me a hassle in the future. My position is that I am more Spockian than simply German (like there’s any logic to that).

I am organized. If a thing is in its place, I don’t have to look for it. Unless of course you took it and neglected to put it back. Then you may receive the Alden Glare of Death and become my Focus of Retribution. Not recommended.

Bill Eiszner 1961

The first photo I ever took was of my Dad in 1961. We were sitting in the shade behind the garage, reading the Sunday funnies together, and he let me take a shot with tne Schneider-Kreuznach 35mm brought home from WWII.

I rinse clean my recyclable soda cans and bottles. Not doing so equates in my mind with not flushing a public toilet you’ve used. Yet people bring back trash bags stuffed with grungy cans, adding their flat beer, sugary leavings, butts, and backwash to the putrid gunk that ends up all over the TOMRA recycling machines, making them disgusting for everyone until they go out of order. My returns are neatly stored in their original box, because that is the easiest way to transport them, and placed in optimum position to grab for the scanner. I am eager to leave because it seems every time I enter a Bottle Return Room, I encounter a civilian or two laboring beside a shopping cart overflowing with a congeries of containers that drip suspicious fluids and, in warmer weather, draw flies. Who lives like that? I simply cannot fathom it. Am I that weird? Or are they.

My dad took great pride in being a registered Professional Engineer (PE), which was more than just a license, it was his approach to life. Calm, patient, scrupulously honest, almost detached with curiosity, and ultimately moved by humor. I have such memories of him looking at how stuff worked, taking it apart and putting it back together, sometimes cobbling odd pieces into Rube Goldberg-ian contraptions. They were never artful or even craftsmanlike really, but would work efficiently for what he intended them to do. His whole approach stays with me, him calmly starting at the beginning and working through what he wanted to fix: how did it work, and what step of the process was disconnected? He would lift his glasses against his forehead (he was nearsighted like me) and peer under them as he turned the thing over and over in his hands, studying the details while he mapped it all out in his mind. And then he would do what needed to be done, and the thing would work.

His way was never my way initially; I was always impulsive, impatient, emotional – even rash. But when my task seems especially knotty or daunting, I pause and channel him, breaking it down into an analytical assessment of stages and steps. That’s probably how I developed into an Organizer Type, that plus a little native OCD with a dollop of Aspergers into the mix. Even now I am driven by the conviction that if I am tidy and focused and diligent in my life, things will work out okay. It helps me overcome fear. Thanks Dad. Happy Fathers Day.


About inkenheimer

Inkenheimer is a writer, designer, smart-ass Boomer, kitchen witch extraordinaire, and ultimately a dreamer who believes that life is so much better when you live inside your head. She resides with her family in beautiful Michigan, land of four seasons and great lakes. For fun she cooks and bakes, designs jewelry for the Vanity Review Emporium, watches movies, and collects unusual words.
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3 Responses to The Engineer’s Daughter

  1. Julia Eiszner says:

    I think I forgot to tell you, but I really loved this one! From: inkenheimer To: Sent: Saturday, May 30, 2015 7:14 PM Subject: [New post] The Engineer’s Daughter #yiv1851440579 a:hover {color:red;}#yiv1851440579 a {text-decoration:none;color:#0088cc;}#yiv1851440579 a.yiv1851440579primaryactionlink:link, #yiv1851440579 a.yiv1851440579primaryactionlink:visited {background-color:#2585B2;color:#fff;}#yiv1851440579 a.yiv1851440579primaryactionlink:hover, #yiv1851440579 a.yiv1851440579primaryactionlink:active {background-color:#11729E;color:#fff;}#yiv1851440579 | inkenheimer posted: “I colorize my closet by season, and my kitchen cupboards are organized by end use. OCD or just efficient? You tell me. My niece laughs and says this is “so German”.It’s not obsessive. It’s a common sense approach to life. I take the long view: a thing” | |


  2. Margaret Eiszner says:

    My dear daughter,
    This is the most beautiful, comprehensive, and loving tribute to your Father I have ever read. You have captured the essence of the man I loved in this life and plan to love in whatever follows this life. Thank you. I hope you have also noted that you have described your brother’s approach to all things mechanical, too. And your other brother’s approach to all the parts of life which your Father valued – caring, calm, and devotion to the arts which make life valuable for all.
    Thank you again. Your Mother


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