Listen, I don't mean to get all philosophical on you or anything, but (and maybe you've already noticed this) Life Is Hard. And I am all about Making Life Easier. Oh, sure, Americans have taken this to ridiculous heights with things like spray cheese and vending machines that sell birth control, but there are several appliances that I have come to appreciate for making my life much comfier and less of a hassle. Here they are, in no particular order:
1. Snowblower. When I was much younger and living at home, we kids had to do all of the shovelling. My dad had a really bad back and four able-bodied kids. Why shouldn't we have? When I left home and eventually got a house as a wife and mom, Rick and I shovelled a lot. So did the boys, under duress (once they got wise to the idea that it wasn't "fun"). Finally, we got sick of all of it and in 2005 we bought a snowblower. Holy crap, was that one of The Best Days Of Our Lives (and one of The Smartest). What used to take us forever now takes Rick about half an hour. Oh, once in a while I go out there after a snow and shovel off the deck and a path to my car, and I clear off the front steps and walk for the mail lady. But for the Big Job, I wait for Rick and the snowblower. So wonderful.
2. TV Remote. Don't laugh. I cannot be the only one who remembers The Old Days when there was no remote control, or at least a day when the remote got lost. (There was one horrifying day here at the Dept. when all four of us had a debilitating flu, and no one could see the remote. Not one person could move to look for it. We were stuck watching PBS for about ten hours, including a terrifying period of Elmo on Sesame Street.) I am almost daily amazed by the remote. Volume, channel, TV Guide, go back to previous channel! Set your sleep timer! All from the comfort of my chair with a cat on my lap while playing Words with Friends against my almost-daughter Kait on my iPhone. The only remote my parents ever had was, again, four kids. "See what's on 3! Bring me the TV Guide! Go turn it down." All while we sat the required three feet away so we didn't ruin our eyes.
3. Mini-Chopper. My mini-chopper came as an attachment to my hand blender, which I also love. But I would miss my mini-chopper more if I lost it. Need half an onion diced up? In about ten seconds it can be done and tearlessly. And if you needed a clove of garlic and a jalapeno, too, just put it in at the same time. So convenient. It has revolutionized and streamlined my guacamole production. I've chopped up mushrooms for meatloaves and whizzed up overripe bananas for cakes and quickbreads. Who wants to haul out a bigass Cuisinart all the time, or stand there and dice up everything? And I'm not going to pay someone to do it for me by buying overpriced precut stuff at the store.
4. In-the-Door Icemaker/Water Dispenser Combo. Oh, I know. This is the same contraption that viciously and supernaturally attacked me right before Christmas. But it and its predecessor are terrific inventions. How terrible and tedious is it to have to fill and refill ice cube trays? How irritated and irate do you get when you find an empty tray in the freezer? The icemaker eliminates all of that as well as the loss of skin on your fingers from them sticking to the frozen trays as you handle them. I can just press my waterglass to the lever and the ice clamors into it. Then I move it over a bit, and a freshet of filtered water joins it. So easy. I am admonished by my medical professionals to stay hydrated. This makes it a pleasure. (When it is not looking to kill me.)
Modern Life, despite its advances, remains a challenge for all of us. Computers own our very souls and SmartPhones have turned our society into a strange place where we are isolated, yet loudly sharing our lives with strangers.
In spite of that, there are machines that improve our lives daily. What are some of the appliances or overlooked machines which you now realize are the Heroes Of Your Life?