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Sweating the Small Stuff

I don’t long for a live-in partner.  I’m content at home with Rose, my dog. But there are times when I fantasize that someone on the premises could make life easier. This weekend, I tackled something I abhor, but know I must do. Changing the smoke alarm batteries. Years ago, after being awakened with that shrill beep while Rose panicked under the bed, I was determined to be proactive. Now the task is etched into my calendar for the first Sunday in October, at 11 AM, when I’m most ready to brave the top of the step ladder (given a fear of heights). Coincidentally, another odious task surfaced this weekend when I scraped the bottom of both my body lotion and shower gel, which meant I’d need to open two new pump tops. In the context of our national crisis, I realize this is petty stuff. But I found myself yearning for an extra set of able hands.

Cartoon by Teresa Burns Pankhurst for The New Yorker


6 comments for “Sweating the Small Stuff”

  1. Gigi says:

    I know exactly what you are talking about with the pump containers.
    Ikea sells inexpensive small glass pump jars that are easy to operate.
    Now I load everything from dishwasher liquid to creme rinse in them.

    The creators who develop these pumps that are impossible to operate are evil people, and I have called them much worse when trying to open one.

  2. Ann says:

    When I get to the end of the plastic container of lotion/shampoo/whatever, I pull out the pump and cut the container roughly in half.

    To preserve what’s left, you can slide one end or the other (depends on the shape of the original) into the other end. Then when you need the product, pull the ends apart, and scoop out the goods with your finger around the inside.

    I can usually get at least a week’s worth of lotion or sunblock before emptying the container completely.

    Manufacturers are definitely wanting us to have to throw away a lot in order to buy more. It’s like the liquid laundry detergent makers don’t mark the caps clearly for you to measure it out properly – they’d rather you just use too much.

  3. Susan says:

    Nest smoke alarms. Never change a battery again. And they don’t shriek, they speak, and you can control them from your phone.

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