I was thinking yesterday about the fact that one of the advantages of being over 50 is that by this time of life most folks have learned some good life "hacks" [I really prefer the word "tips"] that make life simpler and easier.
My mother inadvertently prepared me for life as a paralegal because she always writes reminder notes and makes lists. Right now on her computer there are sticky notes with the phone numbers of me, Michael, and Bruce, and reminders to herself to pray for certain folks. Looks a bit messy but so what? She has everything right there.
So, I thought I'd share some hacks I actually use all the time. If you have a good one, drop me a comment and share it.
Medication - I put my Synthroid, that I take every day, right in front of my computer monitor. That way I never miss taking it. I put my vitamins right in front of my place at the kitchen table. Never miss that either.
Preparation H - Don't laugh. If you have an itchy bug bite, or anything on your body itches, try Preparation H. It's been around a long time for a reason.
Socks for Dusting - I can never seem to find a Swiffer duster when someone calls and says they are coming over shortly. So grab a pair of socks from the drawer, put one on each hand, and run around dusting. Works great.
Nature Valley Protein Bars - I've tried to cut out most highly processed food from my diet but this one I cannot give up. Each bar has 10 grams of protein and only 6 grams of sugar. I always have one in my purse for emergencies. When I get nervous, one of these bars calms me down.
Clorox for the toilet - Keep a large bottle of Clorox in the bathroom and when you don't have time to clean it but it's a bit... odiferous, pour some Clorox there and let it sit.
Skillet Cleaning - Few things are harder to clean than a skillet. I keep 3 on my stove at all times. Easiest way to clean them is to put water in the bottom and turn the light to medium, and let the water heat up for a couple of minutes. Then wipe them out with paper towels. If you want them super clean put a drop or two of detergent in there.
Hydrangeas - I used to envy my neighbor [who is a landscaper] his amazingly beautiful blue hydrangeas. Mom told me to put some white vinegar in a 2 liter bottle [like, half a cup] and fill up the rest of the container with water, then pour it under the hydrangea. Now the blooms are gorgeous.
Jehovahs witnesses - It never fails that they come around on Saturdays when I am busy doing something or getting ready to go somewhere. Mother likes to just smile and say "We are devout Episcopalians!" - which usually leads to looks of puzzlement. So now if I get cornered or inadvertently open the door I just smile and say "We are devout catholics!" That word is totally clear. It ends the conversation without being rude. [And we ARE catholics with a small "C"]
Instant Sauces – I didn't learn until recently how to make real gravy, because until Mom stopped cooking she did the cooking of things like country fried steak. However, we have a super easy way to make "gravy" for almost any meat - Campbell’s soup soup plus sour cream. I mix a can of cream of chicken plus 1 cup of sour cream, spread on chicken in a pan and bake it. Yum. You can use cream of mushroom soup and sour cream for beef.
If you have chicken nuggets and no dipping sauce, mix up ranch dressing and parmesan cheese. Yum. Use real parmesan though, not the canned stuff.
Packing - When I was traveling the world a lot in 2003-2007, I learned the best possible way to pack clothes is to roll them up tightly. That way they don't get wrinkles or weird creases. [Just realized I could write a whole blog on travel hacks...]