July 1, 2003
Shelley Peterman Schwarz
Real Living with Multiple Sclerosis
Shopping without Dropping
We all look for ways to save time and energy. Recently, I was out to lunch with some friends who also have MS. They were having trouble changing the way they do their gift shopping. Here are some of the strategies we came up with. Perhaps they'll help you too.
Make your trip safer and shorter by first checking newspaper and television ads for gift ideas. Then phone stores to locate the merchandise and compare prices. Many stores will hold merchandise for 24 hours, especially if you tell them why you might be delayed in picking it up. Ask the clerk for the best pickup time. Early mornings and late evenings on Tuesday, Wednesday, and Thursday are the quietest times for most businesses. Try to avoid weekends.
When I put a new series of checks in my book, I mark the last 3 checks like this: The last check is marked "0," the one before that is marked "1," and the one before that is marked "2," That way, I know when I'm getting to the last three checks.
- R. Lacey
Bend and read
For years I've been having the sales person at the bookstore open up and "break the binding" on the paperback books I buy.
When we were trying to select new furniture for our family room, I used newspaper to make templates of the exact size of the chairs, couch, and tables I was considering buying. It was the only way I could envision how the room would look and helped me decide what to buy.
I asked the attendant at the car repair center if I could have several over-the-seat plastic bags. I plan to put these bags over the upholstered fabric seats in my car to make sliding in and out of the car easier.
Now you're cooking
Whenever I cook foods in the microwave, I put the dish on a 12-inch round Pyrex glass platter. It catches spillovers, can be tossed in the dishwasher, and makes cleaning the inside of my microwave easy.
Open and shut
I use a wheelchair and found an easy way to close the door behind me. I use strong twine to loop around the doorknob. I use the long "tail" to pull the door closed. I don't have to reach over to pull the door closed and worry about tipping out of my chair.
Paying bills made simple
To help me organize my bills, I hung a multipocket shoe bag inside a closet. I used masking tape to label each pocket: health insurance, car insurance, car payments, utility bills, mortgage, charitable contributions, clubs/organizations, newspaper/magazine subscriptions, etc.
Suck it up
Whenever I travel, I pack a "bent neck" straw. At night I put it in a glass of water on the nightstand. The straw makes it easy to take a drink in the middle of the night without having to sit up and disturb others.
No more oops
I came across a great product called the No Spill Drink Holder. It consists of a wide plastic base with a space to hold a glass, cup, bottle, or can. There's even a slot to accommodate the handle of a coffee mug. The base has nonskid gripper feet and sits securely on any flat surface. The drink holder collects condensation, so you won't need a coaster. We tested it in my office and were unable to knock it over. Contact: Cyber Industries Inc., 770-17 Grant Blvd., Deer Park, NY 11729; phone: 631-586-9051; fax: 631-586-9183.
Copyright © 2003, Real Living with Multiple Sclerosis