Thursday, September 15, 2011

Mathematics + Sewing = Panic


My mom and dad always tell me that by the time I was a year old, I was already speaking in complete sentences.  I was a pretty verbal child and a bit of a free spirit.  I did not enjoy living in a black and white world. I preferred a more colorful world where anything could happen.  Kind of like Oz where apple trees can talk, monkeys can fly, your best friend is a scarecrow, and you can wear sparkly shoes that don't perfectly match your outfit.  Unfortunately, I heard the word "no" a lot AND quite often there was a right way and a wrong way to do something.  And that my friends, is why math and I have NEVER gotten along.  

When I was in elementary school and I had to learn my multiplication tables.  It was sheer misery for everyone in my family.  My parents bought this torture device disguised as a toy called "The Multiplier." (I tried to find a picture but could not.)  It was a big black square with the number 0 - 12 at the top and 0 -12 on the side.  You would slide the corresponding colors and numbers to get the answer to 4 x 4 = 16.  I am sure there are some kids who cared, but I wasn't one of them.  I would rather make fun patterns with the colors and numbers on "The Multiplier."  My parents made me use that thing pretty much every single night.  Torture.  Pure torture.  

Life did not get much better.  In high school, I had to take algebra and geometry.  I took all college prep classes except when it came to math and math based science classes.  Needless to say, I had some interesting classmates, experiences, and fun since none of us truly cared because letters just don't belong with numbers.  College math was terrible and I based my major on the number of math classes required.  Can you guess what I studied?  English Literature because I feel that diagramming a sentence is almost the same as math.  Useless.  Then, I decided to get my Master's in Urban Planning.  Do you know how much math I had to do?  It was horrible, particularly when I had to learn how to do transportation forecasting.  I am 100% certain that there is a computer program for that kind of thing.  Anyway, now you know how I feel about math.  And if you know anything about sewing, there is math involved and this is where the story begins, again!

Present Day

I married someone who enjoys math and in many ways this makes my life easier.  But, my husband seems to think that I should still try to work on my math skills.  Really?  At my age?  I think he should concentrate on his daughters and leave me alone.  So last night he gets out his computer and he is doing all sorts of calculations and trying to figure out how much my pillows should sell for once we get to that point.  I am playing around on my computer looking at pretty things on Etsy, he is on his laptop... calculating.  I turn off my computer and leave the room because I can't stand being in the same place as math.  My husband says, "Where are you going?"  I answer, "I don't know."  Our house is about 1,000 sq. ft. so there are some limits on my future whereabouts.  I end up in our bedroom reading The Last Werewolf by Glen Duncan.  It is a very good book.  Next thing I know, my husband, the number geek has followed me upstairs.  He asks, "Do you have any fabric that is a full yard?"  I don't, I have two yards, three yards and some scraps.  He needs to know where I keep my fabric.  He is shocked that my sewing area is neat.  This is not going to go well.  He spreads the fabric out on our bed, critiquing how it was cut.  He gets out his big Black and Decker tape measure used for home improvement projects.  He keeps talking to me.  He keeps asking me questions.  I keep giving him dirty looks.  I want to read about Jake, the last werewolf.  My husband is annoying me.  Finally, he asks me if I would like him to stop talking.  Yes, Kevin, I love you but please do not talk to me when I am reading a good book.  This is why I buy my husband books about floor plans, homes, and green buildings.  These books will give me roughly an hour of silence when I want to read.  Kevin continues calculating, drawing diagrams, and measuring while I read a little bit longer.  He is excited because he has figured out a way to maximize the number of pillows I can make per yard based on the size and where I position the pattern.  He shows me diagrams and numbers.  I am glad he had fun with this project but I just don't care about diagrams.  You see, I kind of like to cut, pin, and sew.  When I bought my first two yards the fabric, the pattern said I needed 3/4 of a yard.  I bought a yard of two different fabrics figuring/hoping I would get two pillows out of it.  Yeah!  I was right.

I can still see my mom's face when we would be in sewing stores and she would be figuring out in her head how much of everything that she would need to buy.  Genius, I say, pure genius that anyone can do math like that in their heads.  I can't do it!  I can't do it!  Yes, I know I should be saying, I think I can, I think I can, I think I can.  But the fact is, I really just don't want to do it at this point in my life.  

So, the moral of this story is that if you are a numerical moron, such as myself, do not marry another numerical moron.  My husband drives me insane but at least he driving the more precise needs of 715 Pillows.  Kevin, I thank you for your contributions but I have one request:  Please leave me alone when I am reading a really good book.  Thank you for your consideration!  

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