Wednesday, August 20, 2014

It All Adds Up

Sarah is being difficult with her math at school. She simply refuses to do it, saying, "It isn't my thing." Yes, I'm sure she's heard someone make that statement. It isn't the first time she's done this sort of thing. I'm worried because how do you get a 7 year old to see that she must learn this stuff, like it or not. She's far better at passive resistance than anyone I've ever seen. Even her father...and he excelled at it.

Math is really important and even I, for whom math isn't "my thing" either, know that it is a necessary skill. People always joke that I know where every dime goes. My husband would get annoyed because I was furious when the bank statement didn't balance to the penny. It drives me crazy. So, I've been worrying over Sarah's lack of incentive. I decided I have good reason.

During my shopping on Tuesday morning (mentioned in yesterday's post) I decided I wanted a Hershey Pie(TM). I haven't had one in a while and it just sounded good. So, since I had to pass within a dozen yards of a Burger King, I decided to splurge. I pulled up to the drive-thru and ordered.

The disembodied, tinny voice drifted into my car. "That'll be $1.72."

They're a bit pricey but well worth the it. "Thank you."

I pulled around to the second window and pulled my wallet out. I had a pocket full of change in there. Large amounts of change in a handbag is useful for two things: as an effective assault weapon and for upper body workouts. It is terrible if you have neck and shoulder problems. I decided to pay with cash... uh... change. I counted out $1.77 in quarters and pennies and waited until she opened the window.

She smiled at me. "That'll be $1.72."

I handed her the money with a nice smile in return. "I'm giving you $1.77. That way you won't have to give me a bunch of pennies."

A look passed over her face and the smile sort of retracted a bit and froze. Her eyes became glassy. "But it's $1.72."

A thousand replies shot through my brain, like confetti during a Macy's parade. They fell with equal impact as I forcibly held the smile on my face and struggled to maintain a calm expression.

"Just give me a nickle back."

She never blinked. She just accepted that I knew what I was talking about and handed me a nickle and my pie. The smile had all but disappeared.

I drove away with a lighter handbag and a heavy heart.  I suppose Sarah will probably be able to get a job at Burger King someday.


  1. Math most certainly is NOT my "thing" either - but, we use it every single day. There are times I must make my math visual, incapable of "doing it" in my head. I just translated a specified number of pattern pieces into a different number based on how they will be sewn then cut, rather than cut and then sewn. What helped me when I was younger was an abacus - ancient, but accurate, and ever so visual.

  2. I hate math but it is absolutely necessary.

  3. Dealing with numbers every day, you would be shocked the amount of times I am cou8nting money only to find that the amount in a specific bundle does not correspond with the amount the employee claimed they "dropped",l including many instances where the employee actually short changed themselves.