Two Sides

I did two things this weekend.  One was uplifting and one was kind of tough emotionally.

First the uplifting one.

My wife teaches high school physics and chemistry.  She is also the robotics club sponsor.  This weekend, the robotics club participated in a competition.  I had not ever been to one of these before and it was quite an eye opener.  There were over two dozen teams, each from a high school around the state and each with a robot that is purpose designed to do tasks specified by the competition rules.

As the teams are making changes and repairs, the intensity is similar to what I’ve seen in a busy level 1 trauma bay at a hospital emergency department    Yet, despite the intensity of the people, everyone is helping one another; tools are passed back and forth between teams and there is a free exchange of ideas as to how teams approached the problem.

As an engineer, it’s a relief seeing kids that did the calculations also using the tools to build the robot.  I’ve seen too many engineers that are good with the math, but not with their hands.  To me an engineer should be proficient in both worlds.

One thing I did see bothered me at first and then made me smile.  While I was watching the activity at another team’s area, I saw a girl punching keys on her calculator and make some notes.  She then grabbed some hex key wrenches and started to work on their robot.  It was quite obvious that she was perfectly comfortable with using the tools, yet a guy on her team tried to step in with, “Here. Let me do that.”  She continued to work, told him, “I’ve got this. I’m almost done.” and she was done in less time that it would have taken for them to change places.

I hope she never loses her confidence and I hope she is going to be an engineer.


And now for the other side.

I spent Sunday continuing to clean out my mom’s house.  90% of everything in the house evokes strong memories and I’m having to give it away or throw it away.  It is not easy, but it must be done.



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