The AwkEng Encounters the Spousal Veto

Hi all,

I have a confession to make.

I have a selection of ideas I haven't told you about.

That's because they haven't made it past the napkin stage and I usually prefer to share ideas that I've reduced to practice. You'll soon see why that's not possible, as my executive advisory committee chairperson has issued what I call a "spousal veto", and these ideas are unlikely to receive further funding for development.

With no further ado, here they are:

Doing the Dish

I was lucky enough to do some project work abroad in Africa, where I was housed at the Polytechnic of Namibia. They had an interesting cafeteria policy (I presume to combat theft) where every student was issued a single plate and a single set of silverware. Each student was responsible for washing their own plate, fork, knife, and spoon after each meal, then would keep it safe in your locked dorm room, only to bring it back to the cafeteria at the next meal.

I proposed this sort of system, where we'd never have to do the dishes, because we'd each only ever need to do one dish. Even better, we could take up a Bedouin tradition, and eat communally off a single plate. The dishes would never pile up, as there was literally only one dish.

 big plate

Status: Proposal denied, non-discretionary funding allocated for purchase of a 12 piece place setting.

The Hand Truck Stroller

My jaw dropped when I first saw the price of cribs and strollers. Noting that the Finnish government sends mothers home with a cardboard box that can double as a crib, I thought we could find a cardboard box and do the same. Also, noting the long term utility in having a hand truck dolly around, I thought, "Why not strap the crib box to the dolly and turn it into a stroller? And then when the kid can walk, the dolly can still come in handy."

Status: Funding Denied. Non-discretionary funding allocated for purchase of a crib and stroller with safety approvals from a nationally recognized testing body.

The Stoveless Kitchen

While considering options for our kitchen renovation last year, the designer in me was trying to figure out how to maximize counter space, and making note of typical use cases. Turns out, that between our Instant Pot and sous vide, we rarely ever used more than one burner on the stove at once. The P99 use case (what we used 99% of them time) was less than 2 burners.

Aware that a 220v, 3500W counter top induction station can pump out way more power than the 1800W or so from a typical gas or electric residential kitchen burner, my thought was "Let's skip the range top, get more counterspace, leave one induction station out, and keep a second and third in a cabinet for when we really need them. Plus, the induction station is more efficient and generally safer."

Status: Funding Denied. Non-discretionary funding allocated for purchase of a 4-burner rangetop/oven.


Much like hockey players don't shave or trim their beards for good luck during the playoffs, I thought I'd do the same until COVID was over.

Status: Initial funding for 6 month exploratory program approved. The effort was terminated after a 6 month program review. (Sorry guys, if breaking this superstition is why we still have COVID.)

There are more, of course, but I'll save them for another time.

Best regards!
aka THE Awkward Engineer

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