Let Inga Tell You: My favorite column openers, Part 1: Olof

The slide rule Inga found on eBay that she gave her engineer husband, Olof, for Christmas in 2018.
Inga has never given her engineer husband, Olof, a gift that brought him more nostalgic joy than the slide rule she found on eBay for Christmas in 2018.

This fall will commence my 14th year of writing “Let Inga Tell You.” It’s been the best retirement gig ever. I’ve covered a lot of topics, some of them repeatedly: technology, kids, husbands, aging, rats, weight, parking, appliances, COVID and a host of La Jolla-centric issues.

Over the next few columns, I am going to recap some of my favorite leads (or ledes, as they say in the newspaper biz) from the time I started this column. And no, this doesn’t mean I’m retiring. (You should be so lucky.)

This week we’ll start with husbands (particularly my engineer husband, Olof).

• We know couples who contend they can talk to each other about “anything.” My husband, Olof, agrees that’s the way relationships ought to be, so long as you never actually do it. (Sept. 26, 2013)

• My husband is having an emotional affair with a cooking show lady. There, I’ve said it. (Feb. 6, 2014)

• When Olof married me 16 years ago after eight years of commuting from the Bay Area, I knew it was important for him to have his own space in my house since he’d had to give up his own home. Since Rory had just left for college, I told Olof that room was his to do with what he wished. Who knew I married someone with no taste? (Feb. 24, 2011)

• Awhile back, I wrote about how Olof and I were engaged in dishwasher wars now that he had taken over this chore in retirement. Three-plus years later, after considerable discussion and negotiation, I would like to report that … nothing has changed. (April 18, 2019)

• Now that Olof no longer requires a high security clearance for his job, I can safely divulge that all anyone ever needed to do to get him to spill every secret he knew was to tie him to a chair in front of a continuous loop of feminine hygiene commercials. (May 20, 2010)

• What is it with men, anyway? No, don’t even try to answer that. (Nov. 11, 2020)

• When my husband, Olof, asked me what I wanted for my birthday, I didn’t hesitate to request a top-of-the-line sewer auger. Now, this might suggest that the romance has gone out of the relationship or, worse, could be considered a dismal metaphorical condemnation of our union. (Nov. 7, 2013)

• I wrote last week about finding the ideal Christmas gift for my engineer Olof: a slide rule. I’d like to report that it is being lovingly slid on a daily basis. Who knew there were so many uses for a logarithmic scale? (Jan. 20, 2019) (It was a never-used personalized high school graduation gift from 1949 sold on eBay by the now-deceased recipient’s estate.)

• I think I can sum up my husband Olof’s and my different styles by the funeral instructions our estate attorney had us write when he set up our trusts. Mine went on for three pages. Olof’s were all of six words: “I don’t care. I’ll be dead.” (Jan. 10, 2013)

• It’s been my observation over 11 years and nearly 400 columns that I always get the most response when I write about dogs or my husband, Olof. Olof is trying not take this personally. (Oct. 21, 2020)

• Forget iPhones, iPods, iPads and Wii. My husband and I agree that no techno gismo ever invented compares to GPS. But then, we’re not called the Bobbsey Twins of Directional Disability for nothing. (Feb.11, 2010)

• Last year, my husband took a trip with four fellow physics-major college roommates that was basically a geek fest tour of the Pacific Northwest. They took in the Boeing factory, then Reactor B, and apparently got positively misty-eyed at the Laser Interferometer Gravitational-Wave Observatory in Hanford [Wash.]. The only people who had more fun than they did were their wives, who didn’t have to go. (Sept. 5, 2019)

• Before my engineer husband tries to explain anything technical to me, he says, “I think you might want to get the yellow pad.” He, of course, means an 8-by-11 lined legal pad which we buy by the kilo, since he also asserts that when I die, he’s going to insert a multipack of them into my coffin for my use in the hereafter. In his dream of the hereafter, somebody else is helping me with my technical problems who is not him. (Dec. 13, 2012)

And now a favorite one about a different husband:

• My expat friend Julia had to go out of town for several weeks on a family emergency and was surprised to return and find a veritable mountain of laundry waiting for her. She’d expected laundry, of course, but commented that she had never realized that her husband, Fred, owned so many clothes. Turned out that when she left, he hadn’t. But as he ran out of clean clothes, he just kept buying more. Weeks of more. (May 31, 2012)

Next week, stay tuned for kids, grandkids and pets!

Inga’s lighthearted looks at life appear regularly in the La Jolla Light. Reach her at ◆