A Housewife Learns to Code: 1/?

The title is quite clear. To pay for some things I’d like done or even to do them myself if I can’t purchase, I have to demonstrate a small degree of coding knowledge and vocabulary. I was hoping to avoid this, being a girl and all, but there’s no way around it, I have to be able to write a few simple methods so that I can explain what I want to a contractor.

Insecurity makes this very challenging. T.W.O. has been immensely patient, but then he would be. The core neurosis to push through is that I’m terrified of messing up and failing. I *still* get panicky at *other people* typing in code samples, watching them not compile and then fixing them so that they do. There’s websites will practice work for aspiring coders and when they go red because you did something wrong, all my general sense of failure and shame spiraling comes in and I don’t want to continue.

Today was a case in point. I am documenting the methods and programs I have written so far, and it is extremely slow going because very quickly with entry-level exercises you hit the point of “this could be simplified with such and such slightly more advanced method”. Anyway I hit the first one today that I could figure out a simplification for on my own without thinking about it much. And the panic set in just at the prospect of taking my pseudocode and turning it into a full program.

So I marked it as a future project and it can be something to do when I run out of examples with more advanced methods. I’m working in Java, because it’s a common teaching language, it has a lot of useful tools, and it stacks well with Python, C# and R, which are all languages I need to be familiar with in the next year.

But lots of red is the programmer’s journey. It’s not usual for what you’re working on to easily compile the first time. It’s definitely not usual for it to seamlessly work with third party components. T.W.O. had a huge laugh when I first downloaded the development environment I use when I’m not using a plain text editor because it was buggy. He said I understood enough to code, though. This was because I googled until I hit a stackexchange link about the bug and then tried the fix. It worked, and I didn’t freak out as much when I ran into other bugs later.

But I have shifted more to the text editor because of the bugginess. This is also part of the programmer’s journey, according to more than a few.

Mama Magic, oatmeal edition

One of the kids thought it would be a great idea to dump oats into the sugar jar since I said they could have a little sugar with their oatmeal.  Then there were tears since it came up mostly sugar.

I thought I would have to toss it all, but then I remembered something I used to see my own sainted mother do when baking, which was use a sifter.  I didn’t have to use a sifter, I just shook the sugar-oats out with a regular strainer into a mixing bowl.  The oats were greatly reduced in sugar content and had maybe 1tsp a serving, while the sugar just had some oat powder left behind.  Breakfast was salvaged for another few days (my children eat like the war horses at the local stable) and now I have a new kitchen task to train them on.

But the sugar jar is no longer in kid-reach.