Saturday, November 13, 2010

Greenhouses and Geometry

If you're following the Greenhouse Bonanza, here I go again and it's still day 1! You may remember, we started the day with k-ster leveling things out and then he left to get a grading rake and I announced that I had been telling him the wrong size.  And he had just found the "formula" for figuring how to make sure the rectangle is square(as in squared off,not how to make a rectangle become a square).  I would like to state, for the record, that geometry was truly one of my worst classes ever.  Mr. Laroche was weird, he had a things sticking out from his belly button(which I guess was a hernia) and it would always bump into the overhead projector and I was afraid it might explode.  No matter what I did, I just did not get geometry.  I was convinced I understood and then I didn't.  That was the only time I got an F on a midterm.  And I might have gotten a D as a term grade in that class.  I forget.  I really wanted to do well but I just was not able to visualize it!!

So, when he returned, we set out to once again make sure it was square, but with the proper measurements this time.  And the "formula" wasn't working for our size.  In the guide for any idiot instructions, it says to use this special "formula".  So, I caved and went to get the calculator.  And then I couldn't figure out the damned "formula".  So you know I just had to call my father, who I knew would give me a ration of shit but would know this special "formula".

"I can't do math"
"Why not?"
"Well, we're trying to figure out why the diagonals aren't matching when we try to make sure the greenhouse base is square and the "formula" isn't working, or I'm not sure how to use it"
"Jesus Christ, after 7 years of school (umm, thanks Dad, it was 4 of college and 2 of grad school.  I might not be able to do math, but I do know 4+2 is 6) you think you'd know how to do basic math!"
"I have a masters in reading, not geometry and I only took statistics in college!!  I can tell you the probability of my rate of success with this thing as long as you put the chips into the urn."
"So what do I do?"
Lots of talk about sqaures and square roots.
"Ok, I have it, so I'll..."
"I'll be right over"
"NO, we aren't using string like we should and ....."

Oh but the lesson didn't end there, ladies and gentlemen.  He did do a marvelous thing in the dirt, showing us how we could have done it without using a calculator and how to do it in the future.  But again, he just couldn't stop there.  Now, we had to talk about serious math.  What's a cubioc foot?  Cubic yard?  Let's figure it out.  Now let's convert from squared to cubic and then some.  And then let's just suppose and make up other numbers that have nothing to do with our measurements, but let's just suppose.  Numbers were flying, mistakes were made, someone said hypotenuse, I said other absurd things having to do with numbers and k-ster just stood there smirking while I kept asking "Why aren't you saying anything???" and my father was giving me the test of a lifetime.  I can do fast math in my head,  but I cannot figure out which math to do.  If I know what I'm doing, such as saving 25% on shoes, I can figure it like a savant.  But if I'm not sure which "formula" to use, it's all over.

After showing off the stellar education I got at Vanderbilt University (I wasn't a MATH MAJOR, people!!) my father then decided to pull out the big guns and to see how level the surface was.  It might have been because I said something about level.  I thought k-ster would go through the roof but he was actually glad.  What, you see 2 transoms there?  That's because one is battery powered with a laser.  BUt the battery was dead.  So the old fashioned one had to come out.  And it was more level than I expected.  So, he really didn't want to get involved with this, but after showcasing my mathematical genius, he probably figured if he didn't help these 2 imbeciles to at least get started on the right foot, this greenhouse might be the death of all of us.  Plus, I think he secretly wants a greenhouse of his own. 

And the special "formula"?  None other than a squared plus b squared equals c squared.  And he insists it's basic math, not geometry.  Potatoes, tomatoes, when you speak of the hypotenuse, it's geometry.  I will say that I now get that special concept and if Mr. Laroche had dragged us outside and made us DO the Pythagoreum theorem, I know I would have had a much better understanding.

All of this reminds me of the time, years ago,  we went to get a "yard" of mulch.  I asked "what happens if the yard you're doing is bigger than the last one you did?  How do you know how much mulch to get?"  I thought a "yard" of mulch meant it was enough to cover your yard.  Oh the guffawing that produced.  And if you don't know, it's a cubic yard, the size that many bulldozer buckets are just so they can scoop it up and charge you per yard.

Linking here:
Finding the Funny


  1. I am so sorry to bring this up, but I feel compelled to do so. The yard of mulch story reminds me of the legendary Girl Scout Cookie story. This greenhouse story is a riot. I wish I was there! No...maybe not. It's better to read about it. I have no idea why you took this on, btw. All those parts would have just made me put it on E-Bay as soon as I got it!

  2. This is a great story! Good luck in the girl next door grows up contest.

  3. Oh man... what hoopla! Math was never my strongest subject either :)

  4. I have moved 11 cubic yards of mulch. twice. By myself.

    Man I looked good that summer :-) That was some great exercise.

    I hate geometry, but like algebra.

  5. You are making me remember equations! I thought I'd never hear the word "hypotenuse" again. The part that made me laugh the most was the bumpy belly button! Ewwww!!!!!

    (Thanks for participating in the #findingthefunny link-up!)

  6. This is fabulous! I can't wait to read the rest and see how it turned out! :)

    thanks for linking up!

  7. I'm so impressed you actually did that - just the thought of the math makes my head hurt!


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