Wednesday, February 9, 2011

Tip For the Day

Right, I’ve never pretended to be Heloise with helpful hints for the housewife, nor Fly Lady who counsels her faithful internet readers to clean the kitchen sink each morning to set us off on the right foot. But here’s what I’ve learned:

I can save myself a peck of aggravation if I wash out my sink cloth in hot water as soon as I set foot in the kitchen.

Why? Because before I know it, I will reach for it to wipe up spilled coffee grounds, oatmeal dust (you know what I mean—admit it), or a drip of Coffee-Mate from that dadburned ‘new-and-improved’ bottle design. And unless I follow my own advice, that cloth will be dry as a board from having hung on the faucet overnight, and I will have to stop and rinse it out first. This annoys me, so I have been trying to learn the habit of wetting it and wringing it out as soon as I get started on breakfast, lunch or dinner prep. It’s actually making my life a little less frustrating. Every little bit helps.

Now. What I can’t learn. (I know, we don’t have space enough for all that here in this little old blog, but we can skim a tiny part of the surface.)

About six years ago my lovely friend R. and I went to the dentist together. This may sound a little peculiar, but R. is 98 years old, and does not drive. We go to the same dentist, so we make our appointments together, and I get to spend the day with a delightful and caring friend. After we get our respective check-ups, we go to lunch, and sometimes do a little shopping before we go home. But I digress…

So R. and I were washing our hands in the restroom after our lunch date, and it was winter. As I reached up to take some paper towels from the dispenser, I complained to her, “Why do they always seem to put the paper towels up so high that the water runs from your wet hands up your sleeves? It’s just maddening, especially in the winter! Now the cuffs of my sweater will be wet and cold for an hour!”

R. was sympathetic, and agreed completely with me, that this was a vast conspiracy to aggravate the general public. That’s what friends are for, right?

But then I noticed that she had tucked some of those same paper towels under her arm. She didn’t have to reach up to the dispenser and get her sleeves wet. She gently mentioned that she had started doing this ‘recently’ to avoid this exact problem.


I need to do that, too. That’s a habit I should really adopt. So I have tried. When I walk into a public restroom, I tell myself to grab the paper towels before I wash my hands.

Has it worked? Not yet. The 98-year old can remember to do it EVERY TIME, and I don’t think I’ve done it more than three times in the six years I’ve been thinking about it. Of course, I’m not in a public restroom every day…

But what does this tell me? If I put this into a context that includes my sink cloth hint, perhaps I just subconsciously value wet over dry… Is there hope for me? I really wonder… But I’m hoping that one of these days I’ll stop asking myself why, if R. can do this consistently, why oh why can’t I?


  1. Some habits are just really hard to learn. Maybe R. has had more years of practice!

  2. It's a good idea, but I know I would forget to take the paper towels out of my sleeve and I would be sitting at a meeting with paper towel making an appearance out of my sleeve. Something like the dreaded toilet paper on shoe incident.

  3. Found you from SITS, we could be sisters - vertically challenged, late to the party - thanks for the tips! My grandmom lived to be 101, and had some great ideas she passed along too. You're fortunate to have your very insightful friend!

  4. I read somewhere that you have to do something 21 times before it becomes a habit. So you've only got 30 or so more years before you're tucking your towels like a pro!

  5. The tough part is getting yourself into the habit...then you stop thinking about it. Of course, at that point everyone else is looking at you like you're crazy for stuffing paper towels up your sleeves!

  6. Wow, I have never really thought or cared about either of these problems. But now, I bet I will. And I will know what to do about it!

  7. Ha! That is GREAT advice!
    I tried Flylady, but couldn't keep up. I might be able to remember to put papertowels in my pits though. :-)

  8. Soggy sleeves suck! I totally tuck the paper towels under my arm. I always think why would I wash my hands and then touch the dirty knob on the paper towel thingy. Then, I use the same paper towel to open the restroom door.

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