Tuesday, February 1, 2011

The Mathematical Conundrum of Fatima and Bruce

Once upon a time there were a young couple who were married.

Let's call them "Fatima" and "Bruce".

Let's stipulate that in the year 2011 they would celebrate their tenth wedding anniversary.

Let's also make the disclaimer that any resemblance to persons living or dead is entirely accidental. Even if there were elements of truth, they haven't been allowed to get in the way of a good story.

When they married, they joined all their wordly goods. (Neither of them had much in the way of expensive wordly goods, but they joined them just the same.)

This meant that they had:-
Washing machines: 2 (one newish automatic and an old twin-tub)
Microwaves: 2 (both in use)
Televisions: 2
VCRs: 2 (One that showed snowy/stripes when you viewed videos, but would record ok; one that you couldn't record on, but you could view clear images on if you could be bothered to get up to press the buttons on the machine because the remote had gone AWOL)
Fridges/Freezers: 1 fridge/freezer. 1 fridge. 1 bar freezer.
Computers: 2 (both reasonably old and put together out of old bits by their brothers)
Stereos: 2 (1 turn-table and cassette; 1 CD and cassette)

Because they lived out of town, they swapped the newish automatic washing machine for a nearly new twin tub because the older one was not pumping out properly. So now they had:-
Washing machines: 2 (one newish twin tub and a dead twin-tub)
Microwaves: 2 (both in use)
Televisions: 2
VCRs: 2 (both dodgy, but usable within constraints)
Fridges/Freezers: 1 fridge/freezer. 1 bar freezer. 1 now dead fridge.
Computers: 2 (now combined to make 1 better one and 1 dead one)
Stereos: 2 (1 turn-table and cassette; 1 CD and cassette)


Then, sadly, Bruce's Dad died in 2003. There was some stuff that was added to the household. So now they had:-
Washing machines: 2 (one newish twin-tub and a dead twin-tub)
Microwaves: 2 (both in use)
Televisions: 4 (including one that had a yellowish picture and one B&W)
VCRs: 2 (Possibly 3 for all Fatima knows. 2 dodgy, but usable within constraints; and possibly a nearly dead one hiding in the garage)
Fridges/Freezers: 1 fridge/freezer. 1 bar freezer. 1 dead fridge.
Computers: 2 (now combined to make 1 better one and 1 dead one)
Stereos: 3 (2 turn-table and cassette; 1 CD and cassette)

Then in 2005 Fatima decided that it would be useful to be able to veiw DVDs. This might also mean that they could have one reliable VCR machine if they got a DVD/VCR. She also started working from home and needed an up-to-date computer. So now they had:-
Washing machines: 2 (one newish twin-tub and a dead twin-tub)
Microwaves: 2 (both in use)
Televisions: 4 (2 usable, 2 dead)
DVD or VCRs: 3 (One that worked; 2 (possibly 3) that were dead)
Fridges/Freezers: 1 fridge/freezer. 1 bar freezer. 1 dead fridge.
Computers: 3 (1 good one. 2 dead ones)
Stereos: 3 (2 turn-table and cassette; 1 CD and cassette)

Then they were living in town again and Fatima's grandmother kindly passed on her old automatic washing machine. So now they had:-
Washing machines: 3 (1 older automatic; 1 newish twin-tub and a dead twin-tub)
Microwaves: 2 (both in use)
Televisions: 3 (including one that had a yellowish picture and one B&W)
DVD or VCRs: 3 (One that worked; 2 (possibly 3) that were dead)
Fridges/Freezers: 1 fridge/freezer. 1 bar freezer. 1 dead fridge.
Computers: 3 (1 good one. 2 dead ones)
Stereos: 3 (2 turn-table and cassette; 1 CD and cassette)

Then the washing machine started making odd noises. Bruce fixed it, but it wasn't really healthy. But that's ok, because Fatima's other grandmother moved into a nursing home and gave them her old-ish automatic. So now they had:-
Washing machines: 4 (1 older automatic; 1 working twin-tub and 2 dead)
Microwaves: 2 (both in use)
Televisions: 3 (including one that had a yellowish picture and one B&W)
DVD or VCRs: 3 (One that worked; 2 (possibly 3) that were dead)
Fridges/Freezers: 1 fridge/freezer. 1 bar freezer. 1 dead fridge.
Computers: 3 (1 good one. 2 dead ones)
Stereos: 3 (2 turn-table and cassette; 1 CD and cassette)

Then this year they decided that since analog TV is going out later in the year, it would be good to have a digital television and recorder and to take advantage of the post-Christmas sales. So then they had:-
Washing machines: 4 (1 older automatic; 1 working twin-tub and 2 dead)
Microwaves: 2 (both in use)
Televisions: 5 (1 digital, 2 dodgy analog, and 2 dead analog)
DVD or VCRs: 3 (One that worked; 2 (possibly 3) that were dead)
Fridges/Freezers: 1 fridge/freezer. 1 bar freezer. 1 dead fridge.
Computers: 3 (1 good one. 2 dead ones)
Stereos: 3 (2 turn-table and cassette; 1 CD and cassette)

Then the bigger and better of the 2 microwaves died. This means that they now have:-
Washing machines: 4 (1 older automatic; 1 working twin-tub and 2 dead)
Microwaves: 3 (2 in use, 1 dead)
Televisions: 5 (1 digital, 2 dodgy analog, and 2 dead analog)
DVD or VCRs: 3 (One that worked; 2 (possibly 3) that were dead)
Fridges/Freezers: 1 fridge/freezer. 1 bar freezer. 1 dead fridge.
Computers: 3 (1 good one. 2 dead ones)
Stereos: 3 (2 turn-table and cassette; 1 CD and cassette)

Their mathematical conundrum is this:-
If the garage has 35 square metres left over for storage of dead appliances after the car is parked in it, how many years can Fatima and Bruce remain married?


How close does this story come to truth?
...Hmmmm.

8 comments:

Emily Sue said...

WHY are Fatima and Bruce keeping ANY non-working items?? (Except the LBD, of course. He can stay.)

Wendy said...

I think, like Emily Sue, that you are asking the wrong question. Why are they hoarding stuff? Even stuff that works just a little bit isn't really worth keeping, is it?

Crazy Sister said...

Absolutely. Fatima and Bruce need to call Lifeline to tell them to pick up a few dozen partly working appliances (which the Lifeline electricians can fix or butcher for parts or sell for scrap) and go boost the retail economy buy buying new everything.

Then what will they do with all that garage space?

Givinya De Elba said...

Ah. You're all mad. I happen to KNOW Fatima and Bruce and I can give you a perfectly logical explanation.

Fatima isn't a hoarder.

Bruce is, however, a fixer.

Fixers, by nature, can't throw out dead things, because they will either fix them (One Day) or use the parts to fix other things (One Day) and in doing so, will save a LOT of money by not buying a new appliance. This will also have the effect of making you all guilty.

The fact that One Day will probably never come is neither here nor there. It COULD happen, and therefore must be allowed to happen if it ever had the chance.

Because once Bruce threw out the dead stuff, Bruce would surely need to fork out hundreds for some obscure capacitor in order to repair the one working fridge/freezer from an old dead thing that had been too recently taken to the tip. That, or he'd have to fork out heaps for a new one.

I don't make these rules. That's just the way it is.

Emily Sue said...

I think the superfluous items need to go to the Superfluous Items Graveyard while Bruce is at work. And then Bruce needs to have his bank account access revoked so this whole painful cycle can't be repeated.

Either that, or Fatima needs to lay on the guilt about poor people who've lost all their stuff and would love the partly working stuff to be fixed up by Lifeline and donated to them to help them out in their time of need.

Jodie said...

One word... Freecycle.

Crazy Sister said...

Did I mention that this was a very funny post? It made me laugh a lot!

Sorry we all told you where to stick your appliances.. we got caught on a jovial wave of Throw It Away! Throw It Away!

Sandra said...

Aaaah, Fatima and Bruce should move in with my husband Wayne and then they could have washing machines: 5, microwave: 5, televisions:...have lost count...because Wayne IS in fact a hoarder and his wife (that'd be me) has in the past threatened to divorce his ass if he didn't declutter.
Ok, obviously, I'm kidding!
I think this post was brilliant and funny, and it kept my attention the entire time. I was actually counting on my fingers how many new appliances you were acquiring.