Why I’m Not Actually a Nerd

The [Almost] Nerdy Wife

Why the “almost”, you ask?
I’ve been married to a dyed-in-the-wool, certifiable, 100% nerd [or geek? I never can remember which one] for more than 9 years and we’ve been together for well over a decade. It’s understandable that I should have learned some things from Mr. Dude [his nickname at our house] by now.
For example, I can tell you why a 64-bit Windows OS is better than the 32-bit verson [hint! more RAM!]. I know how to find and install updated drivers for my computer’s hardware. I can connect to a network printer in my sleep. I know that our SSID does not broadcast automatically, so you have to input it manually. And sometimes, we configure it so that you need your MAC address to connect. [Muahaha!]
I have seen every episode from every season of Star Trek: The Original Series, The Next Generation and DS9. I conclude with the Trekkies that DS9 is generally awful, and I put my foot down at watching the Voyager and Enterprise series because the writers ran out of material. I’ve seen at least the first seven Star Trek movies, and both of the J.J. Abrams franchise reboots; I can also tell you why the second movie messes with the ST canon too much, and why this scene from Big Bang Theory is hilarious.
I haven’t attended Comic Con [yet], but I know why it’s a big deal when Will Wheaton, Stephen Hawking or Glove and Boots crash it. And I have attended PAX Prime [Do I get bonus points for taking care of our 5 month old “Little Guy” at the same time? Or the time I brought our 7 month old “Miss Lima Bean”? How about when I bring “Master Kumquat” when he’s almost 1 next year?], and asked the Occulus Rift demonstrator about the finer points of their VR experience vs. the Kinect. And speaking of the Kinect, I, too, was able to tell people why the Xbox One’s lack of backwards compatibility and complex media sharing process wasn’t a good decision for Microsoft. Also on the Kinect subject, who the heck was in charge of creative development for Gunslinger? Crazy cows made out of beer cans and random tacos? Too much Red Bull, I tell you.
I don’t always look up memes, but when I do, I use knowyourmeme.com. Trolling is fun. Ten straight hours of “They’re taking the Hobbits to Isengaard” is hilarious. And annoying. I’ve seen Epic Rap Battles of History. And I have been to a Weird Al concert. [I’m pretty sure “White and Nerdy” describes Mr. Dude. But don’t tell him I told you that.]
Does knowing all of that make me a nerd?
Oh no. I have very different interests from my husband that don’t make me a nerd at all.
I love books. I’m forever checking out books from the library, even though life with a preschooler, a toddler and now a newborn can make it difficult to actually finish said book. Lewis, Tolkien and L’Engle are some of my favorites, and I’m making sure to read their works out loud to our munchkins. Oh, they’ll get Little House on the PrairieHow to Eat Fried WormsAnne of Green GablesThe Great Brain, and The Princess Bride, too. When I clean or do monotonous paperwork, I like to have Pride and Prejudice or any of the Lord of the Rings movies [extended edition, of course … duh] on in the background. Um, I may have had LOTR on in the background during labor for 2 out of 3 of our children; not that anyone’s keeping track, right?
I love me a good cup of coffee. Okay, that might be an understatement. I LOVE COFFEE. There’s a coffeeshop near my house where the baristas love to “talk shop” about how to make the best cup of coffee, with the right temperature water, the correct grind, and the best ratios for the AeroPress, the French Press, espresso, pourover … lots of fun since I used to be a barista, too. My sister has also been a barista and gives me her reviews on home espresso machines; my dream of a La Marzocco single unit is a neat $6.7k. [Gulp.] For now, I content myself with pourover and French Press. Ooh, and cold brew coffee. I think it’s a newfound favorite around here. There’s a reason we buy Swiss water-processed decaf coffee. Getting old means you shouldn’t have caffeine past noon if you don’t want to be up all night …
Don’t forget tea! I have been known to make a proper “cuppa” in the afternoon using looseleaf tea, a tea pot, a fancy cup and saucer, complete with a sugar and creamer. Mmm. Tea … I used to despise Earl Grey because of the bergamot, but now I’m with Picard – “Earl grey. Hot. Make it so.” [Crap. Was that a Star Trek reference?!?!] I also drink straight up lavender tea [don’t knock it till you’ve tried it!], chamomile, oolong, good ol’ English Breakfast, mint, Good Earth spice tea, and that wonderful concoction made just for The Empress Hotel in Victoria, B.C. Bonus points for me if I’ve thought ahead and made scones to go with it. Because what afternoon tea party is complete without treats?!?! And as a wife and mom, there are days when I just need a quiet tea party with me and my own thoughts when the circus monkeys our children are taking their siestas.
Speaking of my own thoughts, I’m an introvert. Social, yes. But an introvert. And something of an information-aholic. I go to museums and read every. single. word. I think it drives Mr. Dude kind of batty. Maybe that’s why he won’t go with my anymore … I also drag him to the Symphony to listen to everything from Bach to Rachmaninov to Stravinsky. Perhaps “drag” is a strong term; I make it up to him by dressing up, and making sure we make it to the Video Game Symphony, the James Bond tribute and the Weird Al concert when they come to the symphony hall. Uh, I also may or may not listen to classical music, oldies music and talk radio when I’m in the car. Does that make me cool, or just old?
Speaking of old, I love old movies. Cary Grant, Alfred Hitchcock, Gene Kelly, the Hepburn gals [Audrey and Katherine, you know], Rex Harrison, Topol, Jimmy Stewart, Shirley Jones and a host of others filled my childhood when my family finally got cable and we decided that Turner Classic Movies was the best channel ever created. [No commercials during the movie!] I grew up seeing a ton of the classic musicals from the 60s and 70s both live and on film, and I saw them so often that I actually snubbed going to a Broadway production of Fiddler on the Roof when it came to town because Topol had to retire in the middle of the tour before he performed here; I had seen so many good productions of it that apparently just one actor made the difference. I also played a game with a gal at work where we’d give each other lines from songs in musicals and the other had to say which musical it was from. You say it’s weird. I think it keeps me sharp when I have to remember obscure songs off the top of my head [because using Google for that game is cheating].
Board games are fantastic when I get the chance to play them. Now that I know what the heck I’m doing, Settlers of Catan [or, just plain “Settlers”] is one of my favorites, but I’ll always return to Phase 10, Sequence, Scrabble and any number of other classic card games. And I used to love helping Mr. Dude’s grandma with her crossword puzzle when the Little Guy and I would visit for a morning. Even at 97, I’d have to watch myself when I played Scrabble against her or she’dl trounce me! Did we mention her native language was Norwegian? Good thing we played in English, or I’d have been toast.
Speaking of Norway, I love cooking. My Norwegian [and Danish] grandmother taught me to make lefse, and I have plans to learn to make kransekage. I also make her bread and overnight rolls from scratch more often than my waistline would care to admit, and she taught me to make cookies. I have a KitchenAid mixer named “Mildred” who goes by “Millie” for short – we make all kinds of yummy things that Mr. Dude likes to eat. We’ve learned how to can foods, so we make our own spaghetti sauce, our own apple butter, and our own pumpkin butter. I’ve also learned how to substitute for a ridiculous number of allergens and still make the recipe taste [mostly] the same.
Most exciting thing about home ownership? More room for kitchen gadgets and a proper pantry to store all the yummy things I like to make. I’ve also recently discovered Julia Child’s The French Kitchen via Amazon streaming. Thank you, Amazon, for letting me indulge in a favorite pastime of learning all kinds of crazy cooking techniques. You can keep your Hamburger Helper. I think learning to make things like boeuf bourguignon from scratch is ridiculously fun and I was ECSTATIC to score a free copy of On Food and Cooking by Harold McGee. Let’s all hear it for the science of food!
Science around the rest of my house looks like finding ways to clean without conventional cleaners, using essential oils and good ol’ fashioned castille soap, or even just vinegar and baking soda. And how many ways can my “crunchiness” save us money? Go ahead, ask me about how to clean cloth diapers, make cleaners from scratch, get stains out of laundry, and avoid the entire paper goods aisle at the store. That science doesn’t even cover what we’re teaching the kids through our experiments with homeschooling using Charlotte Mason’s ideas and philosophies – that’s a completely different discussion!
None of that makes me a nerd, right? Well, I guess you’ll have to stick around for a while. I suppose the longer Mr. Dude and I are married, the more chance I have of his nerdiness rubbing off on me. Good thing I think he’s cute, because we agreed to give this marriage thing a try for about 80 years or so. Only 70.5 more to go!
Now to go figure out if our family is dressing up as characters from Portal, Star Trek, Doctor Who or Big Bang Theory for Halloween this year …