I would like to raise a question about the responsibilities of a house sitter. Along these lines, I have compiled a list of activities a person caring for somebody’s house might expect to shoulder, as well as my analysis of the request’s reasonableness.

  • Watering plants: naturally a reasonable request. Checking the mail and taking in the newspaper: come with the territory.
  • Feeding and walking a dog: acceptable with foreknowledge of these expectations.
  • Feeding a fish: is this even a chore? It takes no more than 30 seconds per visit.
  • Petting the boa constrictor to keep it from feeling lonely: dependent on pay scale.
  • Answering the phone when it rings: unlikely to be asked to do this, actually, because it’s so unreasonable. 
  • Watering and feeding a 3”-long Australian bug: reasonable if caretaker expects it.
  • Providing hospice care for a cat dying of kidney failure: above and beyond the call of duty?(As a side question, why has somebody made a special site devoted to feline renal failure?) This would entail thrice-weekly vet visits for “kitty dialysis” as well as an unspecified number of daily mouth drops.

Having committed to “house-sit,” does that also include caring for the family’s dying, 15-year-old cat? I concede her sweetness, the fact that I’ve known her for as long as I can remember, and that her mistress is an old family friend of ours. But honestly – honestly – would you commit to driving a cat who may or may not willingly get into its cat carrier to a vet not once but three times? Not quite plopping dog food into a bowl twice a day and dragging a hose out to water a few dying plants, is it?

Ridiculous Math Question of the Day:

Regarding the quadratic formula, a student repeatedly attempted to subtract 4 from b^2 before multiplying 4 by a and c. How can you more clearly explain that doesn’t work because 2^2 – 4*3*-1 = 16, while 3*-1 = -3, and 16 isn’t -3?

– KF –

3 thoughts on “Tails of Woe

  1. ‘please excuse my dear aunt sally’ from not teaching me a very important rule.

    Parentheses, Exponents, Mult-Div, Add-Sub

    And remind yer students that the radical is essentially a deformed parenthesis, so churning the quad formula becomes (oh oh guess what) trivial.

  2. Amazing how everybody has an Aunt Sally that needs excusing, isn’t it?

    On the board I have written: “Remember order of operations – PEM/DA/S”, but I’m not convinced they can read very well either.

  3. Drill it like no other. 7th grade pre-algebra, all we did for half the year was order of operations and isolate x. Board work every single day wee!

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