Sightseeing. A periodic tour of CVI news, views and events.

The Large and the Small: Appliance Wars Part II

In a previous post Empish Thomas shared her battles with purchasing a new gas range. This week, her good friend and fellow writer, Gail Handler shares her own battle stories and a few scars she has gotten from dealing with appliances. This is the second and final installment in the saga of the appliance wars, so read on!

Gail Handler (below)

Gail Handler PhotoAs visually impaired or blind individuals, we frequently "battle" with challenges. Most of the time, we end up the victor by facing a challenge and learning to adapt. However, sometimes we can become a casualty in the appliance war.

I present to you the massive oven battle. Whether you're making a meatloaf or just a batch of cookies, the oven lies in wait to strike. The timer dings and you gather your protective gear - the oven mitts. You flip on the oven light, and like a night scope it breaks the darkness. Slowly you reach into that shadowy space. Yes, I know you can pull out the rack first, but war requires strategy.

How do two hands holding a hot pan or cookie sheet manage to shove the rack back in and close the door before your glasses melt off your face? Especially when you're visually impaired. I did not ponder that long enough. I merely used the side of the oven mitt to jam in the rack. I realized my armor wasn't sufficient. The mitt only came to my wrist, so I bear the scar of battle, literally. There was a two inch welt that looks like a botched job of slitting my wrist (which, of course, I wasn't trying to do).

Elbow oven mitt photoA better strategy would have been an oven mitt that comes up to the elbow. Just as soldiers wear body armor and a helmet, we need to be fully protected. Cover those arms people and avoid the burn! And FYI, those mitts that come up the elbow are available in the VisAbility Store at CVI.

The next case is the stealthy dishwasher. Those drop-down doors can be almost as surprising as an unexpected incendiary device. One evening, I was rinsing pots and pans. I put the dishwasher door down and reminded myself that the door was down because in the past, I couldn't see it in my periphery and smashed my shin into it, which caused me to fall over it. But that instrument of pain, I mean of assistance, must have repositioned itself behind me. One minute I was turning to place a pan and the next I was falling backwards over that door! While protecting my skull from cracking, I tried to flip and twist around to land my hands forward and brace myself. Let me say, if figure skating judges caught my imitation of a single left spin, I would have scored a 1.2! Mission was not accomplished.

Future strategies? Either rinse ALL the dishes first and do one turn around to place them in the dishwasher while leaving the door closed until you're ready or open and close the dishwasher door following each placement. Lesson learned.

curling iron photoLastly, is the smaller curling iron battle. Soldiers have an arsenal of weaponry to achieve their mission. So too, do women, in the never-ending struggle for beauty. When I had long hair, I didn't battle with curling irons. But now that I have stylish shorter hair (ha-ha), that iron and I battle regularly. I hate to admit this, but I'm not always prepared for the fight. And some days I come out looking like I was tortured. Burns on my scalp and at least one on my neck (especially at the base of my head on the back of my neck). My former strategy of turning down the heat on the iron resulted in an incomplete mission. Cool enough to avoid a burn equals too cool to curl. Then there's the get-a-perm strategy. But perm or no perm, something has to be done to correct bed-head hairdos.

Even with low vision, I can see that it's not a pretty sight! My new, successful, strategy is to have a wide or thick comb handy. Just as you get near your scalp or neck, use your other hand to place the comb between you and the enemy, um I mean the iron. Obtaining beauty may not be easy, but it doesn't have to be painful.

I hope my mistakes will bring you closer to your cooking, cleaning, or curling objectives without becoming a casualty of war. Soldier on people and share with me your battle strategies with appliances! We will be triumphant. Hoo-rah!


Great post. My daughter has been known to call me the fire starter because of putting an oven mit to close to the burners on the stove. I've learned to keep them on top of the microwave when I'm cooking.

Comment by Bronwyn Rumery; February 21, 2013 8:20pm

Funny but true, and not only for those with visual impairments. I've got a few of those curling iron burns. Great blog post.

Comment by Barbara Underhill; February 21, 2013 8:07am