Hammer_ball_paneAmong the many annoying variants of consumer-proof packaging is the ubiquitous, infuriating child-proof cap, a nuisance that appears on everything from over-the-counter cough medicine to household cleansers to mouthwash. If you don’t have a kid, you do not need to be protected from yourself. If you do have a kid or three and are smart enough to stow toxic chemicals out of their reach, you and your kids do not need to be protected from yourself. And if you have arthritis, these things make it almost impossible to open your meds or any other product that you need in your day-to-day life.

Interestingly, there are simple ways to foil the damn things. Several years ago, Instructables posted a multi-pronged set of how-to’s covering the several varieties of adult-proof caps.

The first one — how to foil the accursed push-and-turn things by securing the spinning outer cap to the inside cap with a thumbtack — didn’t work for the simple reason that on all my bottles, the outer cap is too brittle to allow you to push a tack through the plastic. However, what you can do is take a hammer to the damned outer cap and SMASH IT TO BITS. This will leave you with an intact inner cap, which is made of a softer, more pliable plastic, and which, freed of the exterior spinner, functions as a normal cap.

Most of the caps that you squeeze and rotate have a small flange on the inside of the rim that you can nip off with a pair of wire-cutters or even a pair of nail clippers.

Line-up-the-arrows nuisances require you to risk life and limb to shave off the little tab that appears opposite the arrow.

Of course, the simplest and fastest way to get one of the things open is simply to hand it to small child, who will pop the lid off for you in about three seconds flat.

God, how I hate those things. There’s even a word for the hatred of overpackaging and stupid packaging. Did you realize that the Brits estimate some 60,000 of their people have to get hospital treatment for packaging injuries per year?

And I especially hate those damnable bubble-packed pills. In our parts, you no longer can get pseudoephedrine — generic-talk for the decongestant marketed at an inflated price under the name Sudafed — in a bottle full of loose pills, thanks to  our collective fear of the meth manufacturers. In addition to having to register yourself at the pharmacy counter and expect your purchase to be reported to the authorities, you have to take a pair of scissors to the damn packaging to get the pills out. I always cut the entire bunch out and drop them into an old spice jar.

One woman accidentally dropped a package of them into a dishwasher and discovered that if you get the backing wet, it will lift off easily. Who knows what water — or better yet, dishwasher detergent — will do to your allergy pills, though! :lol:

Alternatives to trying to jimmy the caps or having to shatter plastic lids:

Save spice jars (or buy new ones at Penzeys, which sells them for a modest price , as do Amazon and Cost Plus) and, after you’ve broken into a pill bottle or hacked apart a sheet of finger-slashing plastic & cardboard, transfer the pills.

Leave the lids off, if and when you get them off the first time. This, of course, means that if a jar tips over, the meds will spill all over the place, especially annoying if the stuff is a liquid. Oh well.

Use wine corks on glass liquid bottles, such as the ones that hold cough medicine.

Save and reuse any inside caps that you do manage to break free from the whirling outer cap . Most of these are fungible — the seem to fit most bottles.

Use a channel wrench to squish open the accursed squeeze-and-turn type. Keep a channel wrench in or near your medicine cabinet.

Keep a pair of tin snips in or near your medicine cabinet, for hacking open bubble packs.

Try to get the pharmacist to give you adult-friendly bottle caps (and good luck with that!)

channellock wrench


Lookit what I found!


Yesh. So there I am, trying to find some old CDs to listen to for the first time in three or four eons. I find a drawer in the media cabinet. A drawer!!!! Jeez. Pull that open, and there’s a little box, stashed in there with a fistful of old strike matches (sulfur!). Grab the box. What IS it?

Open the box. Find a set of six black seafood forks.

Black forks? How quaint!

Study the black forks and eventually figure out that they’re prob’ly silver. Or silveroid: silver plate. Nothing in my house could be sterling. So they must be silver plate.

Break out the silver polish. Scrub. And scrub and scrub and scrub and scrub… Appears to be silver. Drop one of them on the floor. It goes clonkity clonk, not clingity cling. Plate.

The box is emblazoned with the logo “1847 Rogers.” The same logo appears on the back of the clonkiting forks.

Rogers Silver was founded in 1883. Apparently these objects were not made in 1847. Further googling reveals that they were made around 1914 (or thereabouts, give or take 30 years) and are worth about $3.20 apiece.

But aren’t they pretty little fellows? So simple, so plain as to qualify as “austere.” Apparently the Rogers company thought so: they called the pattern “Cromwell.”


 I do not know where these came from. They could’ve come down from my mother. But…really? I don’t recall them. I recall the coin silver. I recall the ridiculous set of silverplate she bought with Green Stamps and presented to me as a wedding gift. I recall having to store those things in a dining-room buffet and break them out whenever she and my father came to dinner, the only time they were used. Argha.

But these things? Would my mother’s family have ever eaten seafood?

Well, yeah: they lived in the San Francisco Bay Area. But were they the sort who had special forks for seafood? Well, no. On the other hand, that branch of the family favored the minimalist, in the design department.

Would my father have allowed seafood forks in the house? Not a chance.

Possibly they came from Dear Ex-Husband? Perhaps I made off with them, unknowingly?

But DXH’s mother would never have been able to afford seafood, living in Colorado in extreme penury with a worthless husband. Her parents, though, were what we would call small-town gentry. Her dad owned a lumber shop and they lived well and her mother’s china came from Tiffany. Yeah, they were the sort who would have seafood forks. But…in Colorado? Not likely. And DXH’s grandmother’s taste ran to the ornate. “Austere” was not her style.

Maybe they came from Semi-Demi-Exboyfriend?

Huh. SDXB’s family were even less likely to decorate their dinner table with seafood forks than mine. Where we were working-class, they were working poor. Frou-frou, foolishness, and extravagance were beyond their ken.

Now Tootsie, SDXB’s late and honored and much-loved mother, was fully capable of classy and austere taste. But how on earth would she have come by such a thing? And why?


So there we are: I have no idea where these things came from. But aren’t they charming?


Here they are with a couple pieces of my remote ancestors’ coin-silver tableware:


Could be, I suppose. Anything’s possible.

Click on the images for bigger, higher-res views.



Taking Care of Business…or Getting Rid of It?

July 18, 2014

So yesterday I managed to shuffle off a client whose project, I had finally come to recognize, I really did not want to do. Ever find yourself taking care of business simply by getting rid of business? The job: a huge index. The subject matter: arcane. We are talkin’ 375 pages of Anglo-Saxon maritime history. […]

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She’s B-a-a-a-a-c-k!

July 17, 2014

We were off the air yesterday until about mid-morning local time. Internet service in Utah, where Funny is hosted, had crashed. I started out the day with some brilliant idea for a post. Then discovered the dashboard was inaccessible. By the time Jesse got the site back online, I’d forgotten whatever the brilliant idea was. […]

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July 15, 2014

Ugh. Five o’clock in the morning and nothing will do but what the dogs have to get up. Pup has to be at the vet’s by 8 a.m., which means a two-and-a-half-hour wait  before leaving the house with her. During that time she can’t be fed, and so therefore neither can Cassie. This is going […]

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Weird Weather…

July 13, 2014

…portending what is going to be a bitch of a week. Along about 5 p.m. the dogs and I were rousted from a little nap by the sound of thunder. Got up to let the corgis out before it starts to rain. It was 112 degrees out there, black clouds, gusting wind. {ugh} Temp has […]

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