Friday, October 31, 2014

Pearl and the Calculator


There's this sweet little human who lives in the same house I do, right now. I'm in a house for a few months so I can be in Alaska during my favourite months. Bringing my truck, Tobbit, along wasn't financially wise.

Anyways.
Little Human.
Pearl.
the Muppet

Lately, she's had a strong infatuation with my graphing calculator.



Me and my calculator have been through a lot together, over a hundred tests, quizzes, hundreds of hours doing math homework. I received it as a gift in 7th grade. We didn't need graphing calculators yet in hi-cap math, but I was eager to have one. The new TI-83 Plus Silver Edition was out and I had to have it! The year was 2003 and the calculator would only be on the market for a few more months.

I fell in love with that TI-83+SE.
It sparkled. It looked super cool. It had a bajillion programs preloaded. It was magic.
96x64 pixel screen, 2 MB of flash ROM and 128 kB of RAM -- about four times what you got with the standard calculator. Perfection.

My birthday is in September, right when school starts, and I crafted up a pretty good case on, "Why You Should Give Me This Calculator For My Birthday." The main reason was that, for school, I had to have one next year for school anyways -- why not get it a year early and then they can act like they got me a huge present!


Well, I got it.
And I rejoiced.
And I took it everywhere, at first.
Square dancing. School. Friend's houses. Church. We were inseparable.

I used the programs, making flashcards for vocabulary words and keeping track of my homework and friends' contact information. There was Puzzle Pack, Probability Simulator, and the world map. It was bliss.


And now, 15-month-old Pearl has caught on to its splendor.

I'd like to think it's because she's into numbers, but it's more-so her fascination with buttons.
Whatever her folks and aunts and uncles use -- that's cool.
We use things with buttons, so she wants those buttons... especially the shiny ones on a TI-83+SE calculator.

It started out pretty simply, but I soon I realized what was up when I realized I could distract her from anything if I slid the calculator past her. She always followed it.

She's never turned down an opportunity to hang out with me in my room, but now, she had a mission. Get to my room. Grab my calculator. It got to the point where I couldn't do my math downstairs because this would happen:

Yeah.
That's not a happy kid.

When I had to leave to get some math help from a professor in town, she flipped out.
How dare I take the calculator out of the house!

She had expressed enough of an interest over a long enough time period that I decided we could do something about it.


I packed her up in the Subaru and off we went to the Salvation Army - home to most-things second hand, in this town. It was a soggy day as we bumped down the road and pulled into the gravel parking lot.

Inside, we headed towards the electronics and searched and searched but had no luck.
As we were checking out, Lieutenant Dave heard we had been looking for a calculator. He kept them stashed in his office.

"Is it for school?" he asked.
"Well, actually, if it's a scientific calculator than, yes, it's for my college course."

Which was the full truth. See, I have midterms on Tuesday and can't take them with my graphing calculator. We can only take them with a scientific calculator, which I hadn't found yet. I wasn't sure how I'd take the test, yet.

"Then it's free," he said and he handed it to me.

Back home, I handed it over to Pearl.
She approves.

It's a win win. The scientific calculator does what I need it to so we can both do calculations at the same time. I can use it. She can use it.

Such a swell object.

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