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Tools that Make Life Easier

Screen Shot 2016-02-08 at 3.35.10 PM“Gran, why is this fat pencil in here?” Elsie, my eight-year-old Grand, held a thick yellow pencil from my kitchen desk pencil and pen jar.

“I like it,” I said.

Elsie opened her eyes wide. “Really? This is for little kids.”

“And for grown-ups whose fingers don’t work as well as they once did. I’ll use it. You can choose another.” She picked a number two pencil that had a rubber gripper near the sharpened point and she shoved that gripper close to the eraser. I made my grocery list; she worked on her math schoolwork.

Fat pencils and fat pens – my choice for writing.   Fat ballpoint pens with rubber grips fit my hand best and when they’re given as marketing products, I always ask for more than one. I want tools that make life easier.

I used to struggle opening bottles or jars. Wrapped the lid in a dishtowel or put on my rubber gloves. Tried to break the vacuum seal. Ran hot water over the lid. But now I just pull out my handy-dandy bottle opener that looks like a giant Y. No matter how big or small, the jar top fits between the V-shape on the opener and its teeth grasp the lid. I give a twist, and voila – the jar lid loosens. Pampered Chef advertises this product as great gifts for grandma. True.

A funny looking knife is another tool I’ve added to my kitchen. Jo Ann, my college roommate, held the strangest knife. The blade and handle were positioned at an angle – almost a right angle. She grasped the fat handle with all four fingers meeting her thumb and easily sliced a cucumber. A description of such as knife reads, “Keeps the wrist in a neutral position. Ergonomic handle provides a firm grip in either hand. Designed especially for people with weak hands or wrists, but is comfortable for all users.” Weak hands? I’m not sure about that but I know my odd looking knife surely makes cutting and carving easier.

Anyone else have trouble opening a medicine bottle? The last one I tried to open labeled with instructions to push down and turn, I cussed. The push down, I got. The turn, I didn’t. Sick with a sinus infection and running a fever, I couldn’t get a little pink pill out of the bottle. I pushed with one hand and tried to turn with the other. I pried the top with an old-fashioned bottle opener, forcing the small triangle end under the lid. It didn’t budge. I tried to turn with a pair of pliers. I couldn’t push down, hold the bottle and pliers all at the same time – I needed another hand. About the time I considered smashing the plastic bottle with a hammer, Husband came home from work and pushed and turned.

When I shared my frustration with my pharmacist, he nodded. “We can fix that. I’ll make a note to not put child resistant lids on all your bottles. Just keep them out of reach of children.” So now, I get those easy flip off lids and medicine bottles are stored on high shelves.

Fat pens and pencils. Funny looking knives. Flip top pill lids. I’m thankful for tools that work well with stiff fingers, lazy grips, and wrists that don’t bend as they once did.

But my newest favorite kitchen gadget I can use easily and both the Grands and I think it’s fun. Tune in next week.


3 Responses

  1. Bring that knife to Gatlinburg. I need to see that. Thanks for the article . Can’t wait to read next week article.


  2. Good one Susan. I use that Y shaped device to take off lids. It’s great. I also love 2 items my daughter purchased for Christmas. A pair of wooden tongs with a magnet on the top. Used to take toast out of toaster. Sticks to the refrigerator near your toaster. Purchased at vitalicious.com. Also, a black plastic kitchen tool to use when cooking ground beef, turkey, or pork. It breaks it up so easily while cooking/browning. Label say, Everyday Living. Third most used in the kitchen is a mini-chopper. I used to hold onions, etc. and chop, but no more. Hope this is useful for someone else.


    • Thanks for your suggestions! I must check out the tool to break up meat. A mini-chopper for onions is a great idea. My wooden tongs I use to get toast out of the toaster doesn’t have a magnet – that’s a great idea.


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