Alice Makes Repairs
October 24, 2011
Alice likes to fix things. So much so that, back in Iowa, my father bought her a red toolbox for her 70th birthday and filled it with hammers, pliers, screwdriver sets, etc. He tied it up with a red bow. She considered it the best gift he ever gave her.
She passed the toolbox on to my nephew when she moved here to Oregon. I bought her a screwdriver, pliers, a purse-sized sewing kit, and a set of tiny tools for tightening loose screws in eyeglasses. But for a woman who has never met a fix-it task she didn’t like, this is a paltry supply of gizmos. Last night I realized my mother is the mother of invention when it comes to repairs.
She called to say that her hand-held Solitaire game had stopped working. It looks like this:
“Finally,” she said, “I dropped it on the floor.”
“On purpose. I held it above my head and dropped it. And then I reached down and clunked it a few times against the carpet. Hard. Now it works fine.”
This success swung open the door to new possibilities. Her remote control for the Web TV had been on the fritz for the past two days. She did the same thing with that. “I figured if it worked for the Solitaire game, it should work for the remote control.”
And she was right.
“Then after I got my remote fixed and my Solitaire game fixed, guess what I did to relax.”
“Oh, it felt so good!” she said. “My feet were in a sorry state. But when I took them out of the Efferdent foot bath, my toenails were nice and soft and easy for me to cut with that sewing scissors you got me.”
“How did you ever get this idea?”
“I was looking in my bathroom cabinet and thinking to myself, Now what can I soak my feet in? I saw the Efferdent and thought, Why not?”
That was not the end of it. “When I was done soaking my feet and giving myself a pedicure,” she said, “I put some Efferdent on a sponge with some warm water and cleaned up those dirty spots on the carpet.”
I knew immediately which spots she meant. They were dark smudges on the beige carpet and had been there since before she moved in.
“Of course it worked,” she said, “but now those spots look cleaner than the rest of the carpet. So it goes.”
The Efferdent story reminded me of my Aunt Mattie, who also easily saw more than one use for things. For example, when she was in her eighties she once wrote to me that for breakfast she’d eaten half a grapefruit, grabbed it and rubbed the pulp on her face for its astringent properties, and then hurried out to her garden to plant the seeds.
Although grapefruit seeds wouldn’t even consider growing in North Dakota, no matter. She liked living by Waste not, Want not, if only for the pleasure of writing to me about it.
After our conversation I was curious enough about Efferdent to Google it. I found this, a list of things you can do with denture cleaner.
I read the list to Alice, and she was impressed. She did notice that “foot bath” was missing. “What’s the matter with those people?” she asked me. “Don’t they have any imagination?”
Alice’s Foot Soak Recipe:
Two tabs of Efferdent
Foot-sized bowl of warm water
Slip feet into water.
For more of Alice’s inventiveness, see Alice’s Make-Up Recipe.