The other night, Sarah came shrieking out of the kitchen, “There are two enormous cockroaches crawling around in the kitchen!” I, superhusband, went to the rescue, slightly aggravated that my wife had gotten so worked up about these two innocent creatures. They were long gone by the time I got to the kitchen, but we looked into the corner near where she saw them. This was a corner between the cabinets and the wall in our kitchen – a small crevice we had never really investigated before. I got out my flashlight and inspected the small crevice. Sure enough, I saw a hole big enough for cockroaches to crawl through, so I stuffed it with an old sock (we’ll see how that works). Then I looked further into the crevice between the cabinets and the wall. There was an old book.
Now, I had the privilege of both surveying and digging at archaeological sites in the Middle East, unearthing everything from centuries-old pottery to 20th Century ammunition from the Six-Day War. That was cool. But to find an old book in our circa 1923 apartment building in Richmond, Virginia was also pretty cool. I used the handle of the flyswatter to retrieve my find.
It was an old spiral-bound book called “700 of the best HOUSEhold Tips – that save time and money!” with a picture of an anthropomorphized house with a broom and a smile. Who knows how many tenants have lived in this 450 square-foot urban apartment. But one of them left behind a gem. And Sarah and I will glean from its wisdom for the rest of our days. It tells us tips like how to create “soap for kids” – you “put bits of soap in an old stocking and tie the end. Children will find it easier to hold.” Brilliant!
Here’s another: “SHORT LEG: If one leg on a piece of furniture is shorter than the rest, balance it by gluing a garden hose washer to the tip of the leg.” Why didn’t I think of that one earlier?
And another: “PICKLESS LOCK: Your lock can’t be picked if you leave your key in the inside lock.” The key word here is inside.
And another: “REMOVING DEAD SKIN: Rub a bit of Miracle Whip salad dressing into your skin and let it stand a moment. Rub vigorously and dead skin is quickly removed. However, this only works using Miracle Whip, not mayonnaise.” Shucks, I guess whatever you use will work as long as you “rub vigorously.”
one more….”STATIC ELECTRICITY: To eliminate clinging dresses, run a wire coat hanger between your slip and dress.” Remember to remove the wire hanger before going to that job interview.
I am so glad I found this earth-shattering volume on household tips. It doesn’t even have a date or publisher information. It probably came as a free gift with a Good Housekeeping subscription back in the day – or something similar.
Have a great day – and remember to keep your keys in the locks to prevent invaders!