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DIY project meets dyscalculia; hijinks ensue. - Terrafactive Armageddon

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September 20th, 2016

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04:44 pm - DIY project meets dyscalculia; hijinks ensue.
So, after a year to see what the range of variation in sun intensity was, I decided that yes, something besides just the sheer curtains we have would be a good idea to have for our living-room picture window. Three panels, clear glass, two of about 21"x 55" sq inches and the middle one about 70"x55". I ordered some privacy film online, and ended up with one sheet of 36"x24" and one sheet of 36"x72" simply because I picked two patterns I liked, planning to order more of the one I chose and return the other.

Even I, mired in the throes of dyscalculia, can look at those numbers and know I need more material if I'm going to fully cover the windows. However, after putting up two test panels on the flanking windows, I realized that for the center window I am not going to want full coverage, or (among other things) the hummingbirds at the feeder will ALWAYS look like those grainy blurs I tweeted earlier. So my plan became to fill in the lower portion of the two side windows (a 19"x 21" space on each), and if the numbers work out, order another roll to cover the center panel leaving a viewing gap at the top.

I am terrible at arithmetic. I used to think I was just bad at math, except that didn't seem entirely right because I got mostly A's in math classes until I hit a wall in trigonometry/pre-calculus. Knowing what I know now, I'm pretty sure it was the sine/cosine/etc. tables that did me in there, since this was just prior to computers taking over the world, and certain sadists in the field of childhood education felt that the use of calculators was tantamount to cheating. Ahem. In any case, my problem isn't with theory - my problem is that in my mind, numerals and numbers both behave like they are made of mercury, and the moment I turn my back on them they dissolve into a giant puddle of "set it all equal to 1". Plus the classic mistakes of 2 for 5, 6 for 9, 3 for 8 and the reverse.

Practical projects go something like this: measure window, write down measurements, measure window again, write down measurements, add 36"+ 19" and get 45", do some area calculations, realize something is off, check my math with the calculator, discover that 36+19 is 55". Wonder how I both carried the 1 and dropped it at the same time. Swear off doing math in my head AGAIN, except this was a sum I'd worked on paper. Twice. Remind myself this is why I check my arithmetic with the calculator, especially before I start the part with the slice-y things. Go online, order another roll of film; cut the remaining film I have to size and successfully apply it.

I like the feeling of accomplishment I get from rectifying household issues like this one, but sometimes the figuring takes three times as long as the actual work. Good thing I can judge success by what works.

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[User Picture]
Date:October 3rd, 2016 10:44 pm (UTC)
I do the exact same thing to some extent. Maybe a lesser extent than wikipedia's definition of dyscalculia because I did complete the minimal required college undergraduate math.

I always compensate for potential errors when measuring things by tacking on an inch or two, thinking that it will be easier to make smaller at the end rather than having something too small. I end up with some funky looking stuff. I've been holding on to some window screening that I need to replace because I'm afraid to cut it.

I think mine is a learned behavior thing though, or a lack of something. I have to concentrate extra hard on my reports for work, and even so end up with blatant errors every other month. My co-worker is kind of used to it though, and he checks it for me before turning it in. I'm just very happy that I never got into nursing or engineering or something where I could put someone's life in danger, because that's very common too!

Derek's learning math differently in public school as part of common core. I think it is to combat this. They learned to add and subtract by making lines and dots. Sometimes boxes. They use a number line to jump around. I think they are connecting the number to the actual shape of it. It will be interesting to watch to see how well these kids do later on.

Just last week I typed in a 31 instead of a 13, thought I looked at the extra excel formula I put in there to catch errors just like this, and swore it was fine before converting it to PDF, looked at it again in PDF format to make sure it fit all on one page, and turned it in. 31 is an absurdly huge number for that variable. It should have jumped out at me during the two built-in checks, much less the first time I typed it. I put in many extra formulas as checks. Seriously. I'm my own worst enemy.

As long as it's functional! I was thinking of putting privacy film half way on the windows too, because I like looking up at the mountains, and don't want to draw the curtains all the time. Privacy film is easier to clean and less to fuss with. I was even thinking about one way tinting as the sun is super bright. I put thermal blackout curtains on Maia's room because the afternoon sun is super hot there. Derek was supposed to have blackout curtains, but "Sun Zero Becca Energy Efficient" is not black out. It actually is a light weave fabric that lets in about 50% of the light. My brain just saw Sun Zero at Kmart, and thought, Zero Sun? No Sun! Nope Nope Nope. That's just a brand name and has nothing to do with the opacity of the fabric. The label had nice words like "thermal!", and "energy efficient!" that I'm not sure they understand the definition of. I also had to buy two extra panels because I can't add either. Luckily, Amazon still carried the exact same ones because Derek really likes how the green looks nice with the sunlight.

I tried to retype the basketball schedule so that it was less confusing for just our team. I got confused because there were five league schedule changes due to crazy parents. I double checked that thing twice. I worked hard to print out a copy for all parents on two sucky printers, only to be told that I wasn't using the absolute latest version that also had the practice schedule, so I had to toss them all out. I never finished them, because screw them, the one who pointed out the error was the one of them who requested a schedule change that made my life harder.

This does make me a really good software end user tester. When I mess up, I mess up good. I can figure out and document how I messed up, and because no one else thought to mess up in exactly that way, because no one in their right mind should, I find a lot of bugs.

Don't get too down on yourself for it! It's great to fix and make stuff, even if it's not perfect. Your future self will have an easier time because you put in the effort today! I talk to my future self a lot. Or maybe it's because my future self yells at my current self a lot lately. My future self is currently telling me to put the chicken thighs in the crock pot so I don't have spend time frying them up for curry tonight. And while I'm at it, I might as well run the dishwasher and cut up veggies for the curry. Ok future self. gah. so bossy.

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