Monthly Archives: September 2010

Math vs English

There is an ongoing battle in our house. (Ok, so there are many ongoing battles in our house. We’re only talking about one at the moment!) It comes up about 4 nights a week. Inevitably one of the boys will come with a question. And the debate will begin again. In one camp, those who believe that math is the ultimate. The concreteness, the black and white, the right and wrong, the objective answer. They love knowing they solved the problem. There is only one answer. You are either right or you are wrong, there is no in between.

In the other camp lives the one who believes there is always room for discussion. Nothing is so simple it can be broken down to black and white, a lover of subjectivity. Champion of creativity and passionate about words. The one who enjoys expressing emotions and moving people to action. The opposition claims it’s all up to the teacher’s opinion. ‘How can I be wrong when they ask me what that passage meant. If the teacher got something else out of it then I’m wrong. That isn’t right!”

The discussion continues. And the older they get the more both sides are certain of their views. Talk moves to imaginary numbers, and ridiculous formulas. Things like calculus. What does that even mean?

So, my children are all brilliant at math just like their………..father. They all love the numbers and shun the words. They talk in strange ways about math and sound so passionate when they do. I don’t get any of it! It becomes like the parents in a Charlie Brown show; muah, muah, muah, muah. They try to explain to me why it is so superior to English. All in vain. I’m the lover of English.

Don’t get me wrong, when it comes to consumer math, I put them all to shame. I can figure percents off at a lightning speed. I can add tax, figure a tip, divide a check, balance a checkbook and in a way that leaves the men in my life in my dust. Frankly, it usually surprises them. But the math they do is a whole different animal. It just isn’t part of my life. I will never use imaginary numbers.

English on the other hand, is everywhere. The ability to “use your words” as I used to say to them when they were very little, has a profound effect on how you are perceived by others, your ability to get what you need/want, the opportunity to describe life. I love the fact that words can move someone to tears or cause a deep belly laugh until your stomach hurts. Words build understanding and connections. They create a bond between people and their world.

We try often to persuade each other touting the merits of our subject. But, no one’s really listening to the other. Somewhere inside us is a passion, an inclination, a right-brain/left-brain thing. We aren’t going to change each other, but maybe we can gain a little insight. If they were forced to choose math or English, it would be no contest. Math will win every time. Fortunately, the boys can all write. They just don’t love it. And so the battle continues with all the men in the house in one camp and the lone female in the other. I think we will always be opposed on this one. Just one more way the people in this house are so different from each other.

And in the ultimate display of irony, I found myself reading this post to one of my son’s to help me with the closing. Oddly enough, he thought it was FINE.

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Judy’s Rules for a Happy Home

So, I was looking for an old file on the laptop and came across this list. It made me chuckle. I am definitely a list maker. I like to keep track of what needs to be done. Maybe it’s because I have so many things going on or it’s because I have such a terrible memory.

Judy’s Rules for a Happy Home

  1. No one else wants to use the knife you used for your pbj/toast/etc so you can put it right in the dishwasher instead of balancing it on the edge of the sink.
  2. No one else wants to eat the heel of the bread. Either eat it yourself or throw it away.
  3. Butter tubs, margarine tubs, sour cream tubs, cheese tubs and every other tub that comes from the store with food in it are all disposable. That means throw it away when it is empty. Do not wash it and put it in the cupboard for Judy to throw away.
  4. Underwear, undershirts and socks are all dirty after wearing one time; even if it was only a few hours and you don’t think you got sweaty in them.
  5. The only room with a dishwasher is the kitchen so that is where all dirty dishes should be.
  6. If a paper is important to you, put it in a safe place that you remember. Papers found on the floor, under the furniture, or in random stacks around the house are not considered important and are subject to disposal at any time.
  7. If the house was a soccer field it would have grass on the floor and large nets at either end. Since this is not the case, do not play soccer in the house.
  8. If the house was a basketball court it would have lines painted on the floor and hoops at either end. Since this is not the case, do not play basketball in the house.
  9. The ghosts that occupy our house do not care for television. The power switch works well on all the televisions and will not wear out. Therefore, there is no need to leave the television turned on when you leave the room.
  10. Although we do own stock in a power company, the dividends do not offset the cost of leaving every light in the house on at all times. Please turn the lights off when you leave the room.
  11. Doing laundry involves sorting, washing, drying, folding and putting away the clothes. All members of the family may do any part of this process, but all parts must be completed.
  12. When clean clothes are piled in a laundry hamper for a week they tend to look like they have been in the dirty laundry pile. If they are folded and put away, they look clean.
  13. Mom is capable of doing multiple things at once. However, when she is talking to one person

Clearly, I got interrupted mid-thought. I can imagine what the rest of that sentence was going to be. Something about the fact that I can’t pay attention to what your saying when I’m typing on the computer. I know I did have this hanging on the wall for a while. Some of the family saw the humor in my sarcasm, others – not so much.

Unfortunately this was another failed attempt at keeping the house neat, tidy and organized.

I might add a few other rules to the list…

  1. There is no certification required to load or run the dishwasher so feel free to go ahead and put your dishes in it. And if it’s full you are welcome to add soap and hit start.
  2. We don’t have  a dresser or closet in the kitchen, living room or dining room. That’s because this isn’t the place to get dressed.
  3. Those bars hanging on the wall are for towels. If you hang the towel up it will dry. If you throw it in a pile on the floor it will stay wet and smell.
  4. Cleats that were worn in the rain and stuffed in your backpack for a week will stink worse than a dirty diaper. If you air them out when you get home so they can dry, it won’t infect the entire house with the stench.

Maybe this list would be better titled, “How to Avoid Annoying the Bejeebers Out of Your Mother.” Not sure that would be very motivating though…

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