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Monday, September 19, 2011

Algebraic Thinking

Can you solve my problem?

By virtue of being southern, I have a front porch. It just comes with the territory, the heritage and the genetics. It's a fringe benefit of saying y'all and fixin' to.

My front porch is expansive, hosting so many people and activities throughout the year that the paint has worn thin in some spots and worn off in others. Whenever my husband and I need marriage therapy, we retreat there, where we lose ourselves in the rhythm of the rockers and the hum of the crickets until we can stand to speak to each other again. Most, if not all, of the world's issues have been debated and resolved on my front porch.


The children play roller derby there and I serve Easter dinner. The aromas of jasmine in the spring and gardenias in the summer and tea olives in the early fall puddle in the atmosphere. It's a place where strangers become friends and friends become confidants.


If the rest of my house crumbled to the ground leaving only my front porch standing , what would be lost? Certainly not hope.
 
BUT, a few years back I got it in my head to paint all of the porch furniture green. Not a conservative green, mind you, but a bright apple green. I thought it would contrast nicely with the red brick exterior. After talking my husband into helping me do what he knew would be disastrous, he brought home a pressure washer and paint sprayer. I sent all of the kids to camp for a week and we knocked out the project with enough time left over to go out to dinner, alone.
 
Then I decided I hated the apple green and the way it contrasted with the red brick of the house. Too late, though, for anything but a quick, "I told you so," from my soul mate. Life hit full stride and hasn't stopped yet. I've had no time to right this egregious wrong.
 
Until now. I think. And therein lies my problem. I'm trying to figure out if I really do have enough time. If you would pass the following problem along to any child you might know who is currently taking algebra, have the child solve the problem and then send me the answer, I would be much obliged:
 
One woman has a 2 inch paint brush, 10 sheets of sandpaper, 1 stir stick, 1 metal thingy-ma-bob paint-can opener, and 1 gallon of black exterior paint. She wants to paint 3 benches, 3 wood rockers, 4 metal chairs, 1 glider, 1 wicker plant stand, and 3 side tables. Before anything can be painted it must be washed and sanded. She can work on the project on Mondays, Tuesdays and Thursdays from 4p.m.-5p.m. Five people living in her household critique her work but do not help. How long will it take her to finish? If the Aztecs are right and the world really does end in 2012, will the project be worth her time?
 
Please show your work.

9 comments:

RJR said...

According to Douglas Adams, esteemed author of The Hitch Hikers Guide to the Galaxy, the answer to Life the universe and EVERYTHING is 42. There fore I assume the answer to your question falls under the category of EVERYTHING hence your answer is 42 :)

RJR Daydreamer

Lucy Adams said...

A most excellent and creative way of finding the answer. You receive an A+ on this assignment. I now know that it will take me 42 millennia to finish my project:-)

Lisa said...

I totally copied off John's paper, and I too feel that the answer is 42, or when pigs fly...whatever comes first. I also have many many MANY house projects awaiting completion and the answer to my dilemma is "not in this lifetime." Good Luck Lucy!! :)

Dawn M. Hamsher said...

Wow. You threw in the 10 sheets of sandpaper and just ruined the whole equation.

Best guess...Christmas (that's always a safe bet).

Will it be worth your time? Yes, you will be glad you did it. So, just tuck your skirt in your panties and go for it. ;0)

Crystal Pistol said...

If the Aztecs are right is really doesn't matter what color your lawn furniture is... :. Then again you want to go out with a bang and being from the south and all you can't have sub par porch furniture...

Am usually pretty good with math. I'm stumped.

welcome to my world of poetry said...

I'm completely useless at this sort of thing, Sorry, hope you find a solution.

Yvonne.

Catherine Woods said...

One woman divided by 12 pieces of furniture raised to the power of mommyhood multiplied by a writing and teaching career all over 3 hours per week = 1 wine sipping, pair brush in hand Saturday afternoon
How you might ask?!?! Simple-you're a WOMAN...a multi-tasking wife, mommy, friend, daughter, sister, teacher and writing phenomenon! ;)

Catherine Woods said...

*paint brush...I figured out the answer by drinking the bottle of wine! I had to make sure it would work!

Brianna said...

When you figure it out, let me know!
I have too many 'to do' projects that have yet to be started :)

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