I Suck At Math

My ipad calculator
Me and My ipad adding machine

The photo is $175 + $15 shipping, I emailed Claudia, so the total is $180.  She was buying one of Jon’s pictures that we sold on-line just before the Open House.  Claudia was good enough to email me back questioning my math.  For some reason, it was this exchange that made me realize, and admit to myself for the first time, that I really suck at math.  I’m not good with numbers.

For some reason I insist on balancing my checkbook without using a calculator.  It’s kinda fun, I tell myself, I do the math in my head, and I’m getting really good at it, I lie to myself.  The thing is, I’ve really convinced myself that I’m getting better at it.  And even though, every time I check my bank balance it’s off, I mean really off, I still think I’m doing a good job. I don’t know quite what it is, but I make these weird adding and subtracting mistakes all the time, (right, we’re not talking algebra here, not even division or fractions, we’re talking adding and subtracting)  and when I look back on them, I can’t figure out how or why I came up with the numbers I did.

Interestingly, I often have more money in the bank than I think I do.   I can still remember trying to convince the bank teller that she must be looking at the wrong account, that I didn’t have as much money as she thought I did.   This isn’t really a bad thing, better this way than the other, although that’s happened too.  Ya know, less money in the account than I thought.  I still haven’t bounced a check (knock on wood) but I’ve gotten pretty close.

When I told Jon about my epiphany, he looked at me like I was mad (as in crazy).   Did I really not know that this went on constantly?  That every week I was telling him how I had more money or less money in my bank account than I thought.   That he was actually tired of hearing me say these words.  The defensive part of me knew he was exaggerating,  but the epiphany part of me knew he was right.

Why is it so hard for me to admit I’m not good at math?  What difference does it make.  Who really cares.  It’s not like every device I own doesn’t have a calculator in it.  It the easiest thing in the world to use.  But I decided not to got there, not to try to figure out the “why”.  Because, honestly, that doesn’t matter either,  what matters is that I stop doing the math in my head, or even on paper, and hand it over to the expert, the calculator on my iphone or better yet, the adding machine app on my ipad (this has a “paper” scroll so I can look back at the numbers I’ve added and subtracted).

So today, as I was adding up the numbers from the Open House, I didn’t use one scrap of paper.  I punched those numbers into my computer and ipad and let them do the work.   And you know what.  It was really easy.  And the numbers all balanced out the first time.  Now that I know, I just have to remember.  Mantra for the day: “I suck at math, use the calculator.”


24 thoughts on “I Suck At Math

  1. I suck at math too, Maria, always have. In Gr. 10, my geometry teacher was handing out the results of our exams and said to me: “Don’t worry, Miss Black, you’ll get married and have babies one day and geometry won’t matter” …and you know what, within ten years I was making quilts and quilts are all about geometry. Maybe that’s why I don’t ‘do’ pieced work…it’s all about geometry, math and precisely making corners match. I slop all over the surface with applique instead. Still, my husband has always said, split a dollar and my calculations always mean I come out ahead…now how does that happen…(grin).

    Sandy P, in Canada

    1. Probably one of the reasons I make the quilts I do Sandy. I laughed and laughed at your teachers response. I’m so glad I can laugh at that stuff now, it used to just make me angry.

  2. I can pretty much guess that you are SO not alone in this. Numbers bother me, always have, but I have no problem with letters and words. I do mind when it’s assumed it’s a ‘girl thing’, though. Oh please.

  3. This post made me laugh out loud! Years ago I had to admit I suck at math and “balancing” my checkbook was just a silly exercise that I did each month. A friend, who is an Accounting person came over to help me figure out why I didn’t have enough money in my account. Turns out I had forgotten to enter numerous deposits and my adding and subtracting were way off. I would open my bank statement, do all the calculations, not match the bank’s numbers and just write OK on the statement envelop. Turns out that most people figure out where the mistake is….I didn’t know where to start looking so I just wrote OK and filed it away! Same thing would happen the next month. I think electronic banking was invented just for me – hahaha!

  4. Such a cute post – aren’t you glad we do have calculators for those of us that suck at math. I have a friend who uses an abacus to balance his checkbook – how’s that for a challenge?!?

  5. Ah me. It is always good to find company in misery! Numbers are almost a closed book to me but I was not diagnosed as “dysgraphic” until after I was in my twentiess. School was hideous. I grew up in Europe where national exams are taken for university entrance. For mathematics I received 8 out of 100–the school math teacher said “They probably gave you that for spelling correctly”. But oh blessings on the university where I was given a place. The interview group said “Well, you have geography–let’s count that as a science”. Now after seventy two years of living, I can cope although I dislike digital clocks and when I am tired numbers turn into a tangle of odd shapes. The family checkbook is not my favorite reading.

    So soldier on Maria–there are mnre important things to living and you have found more than most of us.

  6. I had to laugh Maria! I have always done my check book in pencil because I am constantly having to correct things. I suck at basic addition and subtraction too!! And I bet there is a whole colony of us!! 🙂

  7. I am also math challenged, so I enjoyed this post. I am wondering when the galley of Second Chance Dog is going to be posted for a drawing? Last week Jon said one was being saved for the people who were unable to attend the Open House. Thanks so much!

  8. laughed out loud at this one, it is so me … I suck at math too, and even when I use the calculator, my balances are way off … now with on-line banking I can go in and check the numbers; they are still way off but now I change my book to match the bank !

  9. Maria, I wonder if you’ve just convinced yourself that you “suck at math” and then whenever you make a mistake (which we all do) you use that as evidence. I also wonder if you know how to balance your checkbook. I hope this doesn’t offend you for me to tell you. You take your bank statement and check off in your checkbook all the deposits and debits that the statement lists. Those are the transactions that the bank has received as of the date of the statement. Then you take the ending balance that the statement shows. Add to that any deposits you’ve made since then (they’re not checked off) and subtract any debits you’ve made (that aren’t checked off). That’s your balance – which is different from the bank statement because you have used your account since they printed the statement. Put that total in your checkbook and circle it. Assume that’s correct and go from there. But you will need to verify it with the next monthly statement. If you keep doing this every month, you’ll know what’s in your account. My problem is when I use my debit card and forget to write it in. Then when I get my bank statement, I get a rude awakening. I hope this is helpful. I know many people who don’t know how to balance their checkbook, so don’t think you’re alone. I just reread this and I’m wondering if it sounds confusing.

  10. Maria, that’s so funny! As I was reading your post, I was thinking the same thing. HATE numbers! I even hate calculators, which I have to use. I am always having to go back and do it all over again. Math is just plain and simply torture! Just torture.

  11. I am also a member of this elite group of “math challenged” individuals..however, when I am doing something I enjoy, suddenly I have no problem with it..except when it has to do with my own personal finances…

  12. Oh Maria! We have quite a dyslexic with numbers club here!! I am so awful at math that I can barely measure with a yardstick, tape measure, measuring cup, measuring spoon… FORGET CALCULATORS! my fingers never hit the right numbers!! My life’s partner has given up insisting that I be involved in our combined finances, just so I can know what is going on. He tries to explain it all to me, and I desperately try to understand, but he can see none of it is getting thru! Annie

  13. I forgot to add that my highschool math teacher told me EXACTLY what Sandy’s told her!! In my case, the teacher was right. Got married right out of school at age 18, to the smartest boy in the class and had two kids in the next 3 yrs! a third one about ten yrs after that. I am happy to report that they all got their father’s math skill!! Annie

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