day eight: it answers the "when will i ever use this?" question.

There are a lot of things you want to hear when you come home.

"How was your day?"
"I did the dishes!"
"Let's go out for dinner."
"Let's watch a marathon of Switched at Birth, followed by several episodes of Teen Mom."
(Shockingly, I have never been greeted with the last, which I think must be an oversight.)

But here's what I have been greeted with:
"I used trigonometry today! It was awesome!"

(breathe). First of all, I didn't even know how to spell trigonometry - I let spell check handle it - so I can't even fathom what "I used trigonometry" could possibly mean, but it sounds like something needs to be cleaned up. Second, I haven't the foggiest idea what one would use trigonometry for or how it could be in any way helpful UNLESS you were looking for heart palpitations and a migraine.

I just stood there.
I didn't really know what to say.
I mean, how do you respond to that?

I did what anyone would do in this situation. I silently walked to the pantry. Got a Fruit Roll Up and went to sit on the couch. Obviously I needed the Fruit Roll Up to help guide me through whatever I was about to sit through (I had a feeling I was going to, among other things, get a brief lesson in trig - which was completely unwanted).

I found out that you use trig when need to find the missing side of a triangle and the missing angle. I, personally, cannot for see anytime in the near future  OR EVER when I will be struggling to find the angle of a triangle and be desperate enough to use trig (not that I would even know how).

Chuck, apparently, does not feel the same.
It's kind of a tomato, tamato situation except the tomato is a branch of mathematics which I don't believe in. (FYI: When I don't understand something, my approach - fool proof approach - has always been to not allow Chuck to explain it to me OR to believe in it. I've applied this principle to compasses, manual transmissions, and basic theories of probability. It's working wonders.)

So back to the part where I'm sitting on the couch with my Fruit Roll Up kind of wondering how long this is going to take because my DVR is packed and will I be required to actually learn any sort of usable information about trigonometry.

Good news. I didn't need to learn anything except the part about trig finding the angle of a triangle. None of that sine or cosine crud. Thank God.

So what did Chuck use trigonometry for?
He used trigonometry for his little ladder project. The project involved finding a way to store the gimungous extension ladder without a) needing any one's help b)leaving the beast on the floor of the garage thus rendering that place useless.

His idea was to use a pulley system to hoist the ladder onto the ceiling of the garage. In order to do this, he needed to know angles. In order to find angles he used (drum roll please) trigonometry.

Ok, I understand this doesn't really make much sense without some sort of visual and a step by step explanation, so here is how the pulley system works (I want it noted upfront that most of what I will type from here on out I have little to ... no, zero understanding of and am basically taking dictation from Chuck. I've seen it work and I still don't get his measurings and what nots.).

Here's what happens:


This is how the ladder looks in it's final resting position. The pulley system means the ladder gets to rest on the top of the garage above Chuck's car. In this state, it's pretty ingenious. The process of getting there feels really obnoxious.



Up close and personal shot of the pulley about to be in question (this pulley later becomes responsible for the use of trigonometry). The white rope is attached to the ladder which runs through the pulley to the second pulley and down the pillar in the center of our garage.

See the two pulley's in the picture below?
Is anyone else still with me because I am almost not and I'm writing this.


This is actually the only part of this that I love and it's because Chuck has to use a rake to free the ladder from the hooks it's resting on. He holds the rope to keep the ladder steady as he unhooks it. I love that even his Go Go Gadget Arms can't do this one without help. Make him feel like one of us "t-rex arm" people.


This is just more of the lowering process. Yawn.


And now he has control of the ladder and can walk it down. If he was going all the way here and was actually going to use the ladder, he'd set the end in his hand on the ground, walk about half way down the ladder and lift the other side off the other hooks. Again, I mean, it is pretty ingenious. But again, the road to the genius is paved with obnoxious behavior and the use of a graphing calculator.

 OK. Is everyone ready for some trig? (Susie: NO!; Chuck: Yes!).
During the early diagramming phase of Ladder Fest, Chuck was trying to determine how great the angle would be between the white rope and the imaginary vertical line (I made it pink so it'd be pretty) that is created when the ladder touches the ground (before it's all the way unhooked).


Chuck worried that perhaps the angle was in fact too great and would cause the rope to chafe on the pulley (uh huh - his word, not mine). If that was the case, it would have meant using a swivel pulley instead and that would have (Chuck's exact words, not mine) "made the entire thing complicated."

Anyone else think he left Simple-town about the time he was diagramming about a pulley system to lift an extension ladder onto the ceiling of his garage? Good. Me too.


Using trigonometry to calculate the EXACT degree of the angle, Chuck concluded that the rope would not chafe and that a standard pulley could indeed handle the white rope in this position.

Good thing, cause I was suuuuuper worried for a minute.


And there you go.
It was because of trigonometry that Chuck got to put a ladder on the ceiling and complete his life, mathematically, I'm sure.

How does this fit in with the month's theme? Here's how:
I kind of feel like the term "nerd" is the new hipster. It's hip to be a nerd, like it's cool to be a hipster but really only a few people can pull off skinny jeans and handle bar moustaches. Likewise, only so many people get to be real nerds and only so many of us get to marry them.

Day eight: I super love that I married a big fat (yeah right) nerd.

1 comment:

  1. I have never felt so proud!!! Love the "Nerds" Mom :-))

    ReplyDelete

Tell me about it. Oh and thanks for validating my life.

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