You notice I didn’t use the term “learning” new tricks. No, when this old dog hears or reads about a so called new-trick, I need some trial and error.
I do my writing and blogging from my home office, so I’m also a sort-of house husband. I usually do the household laundry, dishes, grocery shopping and litter box cleaning. I don’t do coupons, file recipes, or read Good Housekeeping. My mom taught me to iron over 50 years ago and I started cooking Chinese food over 40 years ago. I have plenty of recipes and don’t spend much time looking for new ones. At a certain age, a curmudgeonly attitude just comes natural. Let’s say, I keep my blinders on most of the time and do things with the same style and flair (translated to clumsiness) as always.
So, when I accidentally stumble across an easier or smarter or more efficient way to do some old chore or duty, I act like I’ve found the Holy Grail. And, of course, I must tell everybody. “Hey, listen to how smart I am.” Most people reply, “That’s the way I’ve always done that.” I confess I’ve never read Martha Stewart or even pay attention to the Sunday paper’s “Parade” magazine that seems to be full of household tips. I scan right over them to get to the puzzle or the movie star gossip.
In the past few years, I’ve discovered things that I wish I knew years ago. Silly, stupid little things but they make my life a tad easier. I don’t even remember who, what, where or when I learned a new trick, but I’m just trying to reach one other curmudgeon who does a little bit around the house, like me, and would rather here it from me than Martha…my kind of guy. Gals, you can smirk all you want; I know you already know this stuff, but from the few men I’ve talked to, they don’t. These helpful house-husband tips are for them.
Let’s start with a simple thing; peeling a banana. I have always hated dealing with that stringy stuff, and then quite a few years ago, I found if I peeled the banana from the bottom, there were no strings…simple.
I also discovered when I needed to get a load of wet clothes dried quickly, I threw a dry bath towel in with the mix…works wonders.
I love good teas. I drink chai, kava, green, etc. I hate plain old Lipton tea, BUT, I found the perfect use for that bland tasting stuff. First, steep two tea bags in a bowl of hot water for at least 10 minutes. Then take a soft clean cloth and dip it in the tea water and use to rub over your wood furniture. The natural color and shine will return.
I stopped using vegetable oil for cooking many years ago but it makes a great oil-based paint remover from your hands. After scrubbing hands in the oil, just wash with warm soap and water and good as new again.
My old house has old porcelain. To make a great porcelain cleaner, dampen white vinegar on a soft cloth and sprinkle with cream of tartar.
And lastly, if you have a smelly plastic food container, just roll up a page of your newspaper into a ball and place inside the sealed container. The smell should be gone in two days…seriously. If the smell is really bad, it may take three or four days but it works.