Monday, April 5, 2010

In Which I Am Praiseful And Laudatory Of Little Things In My Employ

I like to think that I do not take things for granted; that I am a thankful person who appreciates--for the most part--How Good I Have It. In this spirit, I want to recognize the little everyday Unsung Heroes that make my life easier or more pleasant. Bet you never stopped to think about these

5 Little Everyday Doodads I'm Glad I Don't Live Without

1. Q-tips®
2. Paper Clips
3. Ziploc® Bags
4. Clicky Pens
5. Kleenex®

(Can you tell that my former student Ian taught me how to do the "registered trademark" thingy?)

Okay. First, let's just dispense with the fiction that no one puts cotton swabs into their ears. Yeah, right. They have to put that crap on the label, same as the Ambien® people have to put the "may cause drowsiness" warning on their label. Everyone puts cotton swabs into their ears. Jared, part-time co-author of this blog, has a serious Q-tip addiction; he has a 5-swab-a-day habit. Why? Because it feels wonderful. Also, because it gets the ick out of your ears. I need Q-tips because I apply mascara like an amateur, despite being 50 years old. I need it as an Eye Makeup Eraser.

Next, paper clips are to me, an English teacher, Organizational Crack. I get them in all sizes, including the gigantic ones for entire stacks of multi-page papers. I can't live without them. Especially wonderful are the binder clips, too. They are easy to attach and detach, but they don't store as nicely.

At home, Ziploc bags, or any generic equivalent thereof, are indispensable. I get frustrated trying to find the correct lids for my plastic containers (which may or may not exist, subject as they are to my sons' whims and fancies, i.e., "maybe I'll bring this home or maybe I'll just throw it away or leave it in my car until it molds beyond all use"), so I employ the various-sized Ziploc bags for many leftovers. If it's a messy, liquidy leftover, no problem! Just cut the corner of the bag and squeeze it out that way! Ziplocs are also wonderful for loose hardware, small suitcase items, unreliable jar contents (slip the jar into a Ziploc for insurance), guacamole making (put all ingredients into the bag and just smush it all together, cut off the corner, squeeze into bowl!), and for freezing anything.

Now, I was at first uninitiated to the Wonders Of The Clicky Pen until my colleague/buddy Roger sat me down and set me upon the Path To Righteousness one day in the Teachers' Lounge. And he is right. The Clicky Pen, a.k.a., the Retractable Pen, is the perfect writing device for a busy teacher. No lid to worry about keeping track of, no ink tip bare and mistakenly leaving marks on your skin or clothes or in the bottom of your pen cup where it clots and dries onto other writing utensils, no having to remove the lid in order to jot a quick note, and you can click the clicky part to annoy students or to help you think--both useful endeavors.

Finally, I am continually reminded of the Benefits And Gladness Of Kleenex because my husband is a Hanky User. I know. How Sad. We fight over this all the time. What on Earth is the attraction of keeping a wadded-up swatch of snotted and boogered cloth on your person when you can always have a fresh, clean, hygienic alternative at the ready? And he is an allergy-sufferer! As for me, I will continue to use a pleasant and delightful, soft and clean tissue whenever I need to...evacuate my nasal passages. And then throw it away and get a fresh one. Again and again.

Wasn't this uplifting and pleasant? What Little Heroes make your existence bearable? Sing their praises and see if we share your joy.


gfe--gluten free easily said...

Q-tips--I use them to clean my hubby's hairbrush that I hate to look at. Just dip them in rubbing alcohol and they clean like a charm. Son uses Q-tips the traditional way before a date. LOL

A planner--I can be a bit nerdy. The planner keeps me on track (mostly).

Scrap paper (envelopes from junk mail, other side of printed pages to be thrown away, etc.)--Great for balancing my checking account and then thowing the used paper in trash.

Tissues--Mr. GFE uses a handkerchief, too. Ugh. I like tissues, but am not too brand conscious. I don't like the weird feeling/smelling ones with lotion in them though.

Binder clips--For sure ... papers, snacks, brown sugar ... you name it! I also use clothespins to secure food items.

A mouse--I was using my mini Netbook without a mouse and accidentally paging back and losing stuff, when I remembered that a mouse came with the carrying bag. Life is good again!

A tip, Nance ... if you put the lids on the containers, they stack like a dream and no more lost lids. You can finally see which ones are extra and get rid of them. This method doesn't even take up any more room and nothing falls over, gets lost, etc. It's amazing.


Nance said...

Shirley--I don't care what brand the kleenex are, either. I like the lotiony ones when I have a cold, but if I grab one to clean my reading glasses by mistake, I get annoyed.
I have a ton of containers and not a lot of storage, so I do have to nest them. Lidding them would take up more space--think about it--so I don't have that luxury. (Narrow, short shelves, too.)
I also adore scrap paper. I am a reduce, reuse, recycle fiend and I take extra worksheets and cut them into fourths to use for scrap paper at school. Same for printer castoffs here. I have to leave myself a lot of notes in my old age...
Oh, you'll love this: last year, I used the strips from our home document shredder in the boys' Easter baskets! LOL

Life at the Funny Farm said...

I'm SO with you about the Ziploc. Fabulous for the kitchen (and just about everywhere else in the house), and great for the barn as well. We even have some extremely super jumbo sized ones (2 ft x 3 ft) that we store jump decorations and other stuff in. LOVE THESE.

I can't really wax poetic about Q-tips, paper clips, or clicky pens, but I do like binder clips. They're especially helpful when rolling up the toothpaste tube. Kleenex, as well, is a gift from heaven. That whole re-use (and re-use) a cloth hanky thing turns my stomach, and that's saying a lot. I can watch all manner of blood and gore and brain surgery and parasite nastiness, but a used hanky is just EEEEEEWWWWWW. Gag gag gag.

Not that it's applicable to me today, but disposable diapers were a godsend when my daughter was a baby. Take it off, wrap it up, and throw it away. So easy.

My other unsung hero is a good sharp pair of scissors. I have like three or four pairs all around at home and the same at the barn. I use them for everything, including food preparation. I have no patience for pulling, tearing, or otherwise separating items by brute force. Reach for the scissors--done.

Nina said...

Q-Tips are also great when painting. I use them in corners and around the top and bottom of the walls to avoid getting paint on the ceillings and baseboards. And There good for getting goop out of tight spaces when cleaning.

I too store food in ziplock bags. I especially love how soupy stuff will freeze into a nice flat square and not take up too much room in my freezer. But I HATE the zipper close bags, they just suck. And as a mother with a small child, they make wonderful wet wipe bags. I always have a ziplock bag full of wipes in my purse to clean off my little monster.

Nance said...

Nina--We buy ground chuck in Mass Quantities when it goes on sale. We stuff it in a ziploc bag, flatten it out like a pancake and stack them up. It's amazing how many pounds and pounds of it can be stored in just a little space that way, and it thaws so much more quickly and evenly, too.

~Mikey~ said...

I am addicted to binder clips. The mini ones are just the right size for a stack of papers, and the variety of sizes suffices for larger stacks of papers from work. At the end of the quarter, I take everything I have from each class and stick it in one of the large binder clips.

Nance said...

Mikey--Just don't make the mistake one of my aides did: stuck it to her earlobe just for fun. Hurt like hell! (How did I find out she did it? Heard a small cry of pain while I was teaching...sigh.)


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