Opening Jars : An Elderly Rant

February 19, 2012 at 8:15 am (Memoir, Rants) (, , , , , , )

I am old. I am feeling old. This winter, my right knee has been acting up almost every day. This is new. It used to be that my right knee would on occasion (once a year maybe) freeze up on me. I would baby it a day or two and than I would be fine. But this year! Arthritis runs in the family and my mom has had both her knees replaced and I really don’t want to go there (not for decades). Oh my achy bones! Everybody (all together now) say, with a sigh, “Poor me.”

My body has never been perfect. I was a scrawny kid and an iron-deficient teen. From the age of thirteen on, it was almost a given that I would sprain an ankle sometime during the year. The one constant in my first aid arsenal is a tension bandage and I know (without thinking about it) the best treatment for a sprained ankle – RICE it; that is, Rest, Ice, Compress, and Elevate.

Getting older is annoying in the littlest ways. What I know about my body changes daily and I had just started to figure it out. Finally, my body was getting enough iron and my monthlies were fairly regular. Now it’s like I’m back at the beginning as the pain/annoyance factor equals how my body reacted when my monthly cycle started. All the literature I read says that this means I’m entering Peri-menopause (o joy, o fun).

I didn’t want to be this type of little old lady – complaining of all my aches and pains and concerned about ice and falls.

When I was in my late twenties, I lived downtown on Third Avenue. I was in the right-side front apartment on the third floor. A little old lady lived in the left-side front apartment on the first floor. The apartment building mostly consisted of university students who moved in in September and out in April.

About once a week, this little old lady (click on the link to learn more) would trudge up to my apartment and knock on the door. She would stand there with a can and non-electric can opener (see pictures) and say “please, could you”. She didn’t say much else. Even though I found her annoying, I helped when I could. I was young. I was callous. I preferred to solve my own problems and let others solve theirs. I just wanted to be left alone! Hopefully, I didn’t convey that attitude to her. I’m sure it was hard enough, for her, to just ask for help.

Top View of my manual can opener

Now I have the captain’s voice from Wall-E echoing “Man-u-al”.

Bottom View of my manual can opener

I also understand why everyone else owns an electric can opener.

Jars & cans have become a weekly annoyance. Commercial jars are not just hard to open they are also annoying as one must first remove a plastic seal before commencing to twist the lid off. At least with my mom’s canning jars all I usually have to do is soak them (upside down) in about two inches of hot water and they’ll open right up.

I have found that turning a jar upside down and banging on the counter will break the seal but I’m always worried that I’ll also break the jar and then I’ll have a mess to clean up. My first solution is always to bang on the edges of a stuck lid with the handle of a dinner knife hard enough to leave dents. Again, this usually breaks the seal and I then can open the jar.

I may be old and weak but I still have my smarts (tapping my head).

I’m starting to get it. Why old people are always going around muttering annoyingly, I mean.

This is now me. A cranky, annoyed old lady muttering evilly half under her breath about the things she no longer finds easy to do (like opening a jar or getting a pill out of a new package for the headaches that simple tasks cause).

Which is better than the alternative (which would be – not getting older)!



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