Thursday, October 28, 2010

Math: Or, How I Learned How Much I Don't Know

I was one of those kids who was put in honors classes as soon as they had honors classes. (Third grade, in case you were wondering.) That was also the year I got glasses. Braces and puberty were soon to follow. Thanks, universe.

I worked with stuff like Microsoft Powerpoint and Excel in elementary school. I'm guessing it was Office 95. God, I feel old now. Anyway, these programs have been in my life for a long time. Doesn't mean I really understand how to use them.

My point is, the school system didn't think I was dumb until high school, when my brain hit its math plateau in pre-calc. I believe the first half of my junior year was honors pre-calc and the second half was regular. Let's not get into the debacle that was senior year calc. When I got to college, I only had to take one math class. I took pre-calc. 'nuff said.

Math and I generally don't get along. I think it's that visualization thing. I can visualize one apple plus three apples, but how do you take the square root of an apple? I am not one of those knitters who can look at a pattern and configure it based on their gauge swatch. I am one of those knitters who says "I had 30 stitches on the last row. It must be magic that now I have 33."

As you may know, I've been selling some of my stash. This led to an infamous loss of 17 cents on my first transaction. My original brilliant plan for keeping track of total money earned involved a calculator. I realized quickly this would not be a good idea in the long term. Next I opened up Notepad and started to write in each positive and negative transaction, when the light bulb went off.

Duh. Spreadsheet.

Except apparently all I remember how to do in spreadsheets is type things. None of this formula stuff! Formula stuff is for sissies. My spreadsheet dork of a husband is, of course, at work, and I don't think his boss would appreciate me calling to ask how to add up the numbers in a spreadsheet.

So I look at the help. Help is good. Help usually helps. Help. The help is not helping. Help is a weird word.

Finally something from the depths of about 1995 managed to slosh through my sluggish brain and I figured it out. (With assistance from the help.) I'll be okay until I need to add something in A6, anyway.

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