Helpful Hint(s) for the Home

This is my first post in months. It’s not that I haven’t been busy being creative; it’s just that the journey from computer screen to blog has been circuitous and interrupted. But, today, I’m getting started again. To begin…

I had one of those “duh” moments yesterday (they used to be called “ah ha” moments; I’m not sure when that changed; something to look into). Over the last few months, we’ve collected a box of old documents that need to be shredded to avoid the dreaded “identity theft” that seems to be so ubiquitous these days (actually, I think the threat is actually more ubiquitous than the actual theft, but I could be wrong; I’ve always been of the opinion that if some fool really wants my identity, he needs to be prepared to pay my bills, too). Usually I take the stuff to one of those free shredding events that happens around town now and then, but I haven’t been able to find one and I’ve been carting the box around in my car for a couple of months. Finally, I called a commercial shredding company to see what it would cost to shred my copy paper-sized box of documents. After I recovered from the shock, I realized that I could buy an adequate shredder for only a little more than what I would have to pay to have them take care of the box. And so I did.

I went to Best Buy and bought. When I got home, I set it up the shredder as directed and proceeded to pulverize old tax documents and bank statements and credit card stuff. The shredder came with a smallish wastepaper basket to catch the tiny little pieces of paper it produced. When the basket was filled (which the machine helpfully signaled by a flashing red light; at first, I had an image of Robbie the Robot waving his arms and saying “Danger, Will Robinson” but it was just part of the vocabulary of the instrument panel on this thing), I removed the shredding apparatus and dumped the pieces in a plastic trash bag. Pieces went everywhere. Tiny little pieces, no bigger than neutrons or quarks or one of those viruses that grow into fifty-foot long worms in your stomach, and come out your eyeballs while you are sleeping (according to a program on Animal Planet I saw last week) (well, maybe the pieces of shredded paper were the size of Chiclets — do they still make Chiclets? — something to look into). Then the “duh” moment arrived: why not put the plastic trash bag in the wastepaper basket first? Why not indeed. And so I did.

When I took the shredding thingy off the basket this time, most of the pieces stayed in the trash bag (there were still a few that escaped, but not nearly as many; a couple of them looked like one of those Animal Planet viruses, but I’m going to pretend I didn’t see them scurry away). Problem solved. I’m going to write a letter to the shredder-maker and suggest that they include this option (trash bag in basket first) in their set-up directions. It might save others a bit of a mess.

You can thank me later.

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