"You clean the outside of the cup . . ."

If you're attentive enough every day can be a learning experience. Yesterday I was paying attention and I learned something that will forever change my life. Well, maybe it won't change my life, but it will keep me from getting sticky. And I hate sticky.

Yesterday afternoon I decided to do some laundry. Yes friends, I do some household chores, I'm just selective about what I do. Laundry is the best chore in household cleaning; nothing else can compare to it. Laundry appears to be a laborious task while it's actually a piece of cake. Sure it takes a little work to lug the laundry to the machine but all you do is drop in the clothes with the detergent, press a few buttons and walk away for forty-five minutes. And to finish the job you drop everything in another machine for an hour. Then when someone asks what you're doing, you tell them you're hard at work doing the laundry while you're really watching Dharma and Greg re-runs, flipping through a People Magazine. Two hours later, you get clean clothes and a sense of accomplishment while you wipe the Doritos crumbs from the corner of your mouth. It's hard work being this pretty.

So anyway, as I ascended the stairs to do the laundry, I was totally unaware of the knowledge that was about to come my way. Melinda was showing me where the machine was [I had yet to do laundry at the Johnson's] and I started chucking stuff in there. As the machine began to fill with water I did my "pre-wash-clean-the-soap-cup-out" routine. Do you know what I'm talking about? I hate, after you use the detergent, the collection of gooey soap that accumulates at the bottom of the cup. So you try rinsing it out, but that stuff is caked at the bottom so you have to use your hands to dig it off. But if you do that, your hands smell like Tide the rest of the day. So you think about ignoring the problem, but it's worse if you wait. Then the next time you do the laundry you find the cup all sticky [did I mention that I hate sticky] and collecting fuzz and junk in it so that you're grossed out. It's a lose/lose.

Melinda sees me attempting to solve the great cup problem and offers her simple solution:

Why don't you just throw the whole cup in the machine? It won't hurt anything.

Absolute brilliance. I'll never forget where I was when this happened. And I'll never look at laundry the same way again.

So that's what I did. I just threw the cup in the laundry and, as you can see from the picture above, the cup was spotless. Such a small piece of information seems trivial, but I'll remember it the rest of my life. That got me thinking about little life lessons like that. Isn't it sad that you go throughout life not knowing all these tidbits of info that can make living more enjoyable? Perhaps we should start a forum where we can share this learned information. Allow me to offer two simple ones here. I learned both of these in college but constantly tell people about them for the very first time:

1) You might despise those little square napkins they give you at restaurants for your beverage. Inevitably, the napkin gets stuck to the cup, it becomes a soaked mess and you forget trying to use the fake coaster. Instead, when they first bring out your drink, shake some salt on the napkin. This forms a protective layer and your cup won't stick to the paper. Problem solved.

2) In a related tip, say when your food comes out, you want ketchup for your fries. You pound the bottom of the bottle like it's a disobedient child and still nothing comes out. I remember my dad would solve this problem by using a knife to guide the ketchup out. That just seemed plain wrong. Here's the proper way: on normal Heinz bottles, there's a raised "57" where the neck of the bottle begins. If you aim the bottle where you want ketchup, then firmly strike the 57, your tomato paste will come out with ease. It's just that easy. Try it out.

OK, so maybe you've been enlightened by reading this but now it's your opportunity to share with the masses your knowledge. Do tell. Anything that can keep me from getting sticky will be appreciated greatly.