Life Sentences: Gadgets Galore

By: Fran LoBiondo

Photo courtesy of user kaboompics.

A daughter shares an affinity for gizmos—as well as a habit of ignoring Mom.

Yes, I admit that our house is a mess right now because our daughter just came home from college.

I also must take some of the credit for the extra clutter that comes from two kitchens’ worth of gadgets. Right now, in addition to my Keurig mini-coffeemaker, which fits neatly on the counter next to the toaster oven, we have my old 12-cup electric brewer sitting on the other counter half filled with water, plugged in and left there by my daughter as she wafted off to work. Why use the big drip machine when the other one makes one cup at a time and you only have one mouth?

The big drip will still be there when she returns.

In back of my chair is an Original Magic Bullet (like your personal kitchen assistant!), still in its box, which does any job in 10 seconds or less. 

It chops! It blends! It whips, grinds and mixes! Except so far this summer it has not done one trick, because its owner has a job and no time for mixing. And on our small kitchen desk there sits an electric teapot that I tried to give to our daughter and her dorm-mates last semester because I found after buying it that I have no use for it.  

Buried in our pantry space we have a Cuisinart Smart Stick hand blender with which I decimated the non-stick surface of my favorite soup pot by using its “easy-immersion” feature.

There was a time when our son, Greg, who is autistic, showed a lot of interest in cooking, and no interest in any gifts we were anxious to buy him. One year, when the Original Magic Bullets came out, there was a display at Bed, Bath & Beyond, plus a video infomercial that Greg stood and watched several times over. After that, he always chose to visit the Bullet movie when we were in the neighborhood. Just as I decided to buy it for his birthday, he dropped his interest in the gadget like a hot potato. 

But really, I had dodged a bullet.

Over time I have culled the gadgets and doodads that I use from those that gather dust in storage, and brought them to the Habitat for Humanity ReStore, hoping some bargain hunter will have some fun with them.

Only a few times did I misplace my mail-order peanut butter stirrer, which I really need for natural nut butters that separate oil from nuts.

 I have a well-designed pie cutter with a hard plastic blade that’s great for slicing quiche, chewy brownies and semi-hard cheeses and delivering them to the plate with no smooshing or cracking. I’m never getting rid of those. 

So my daughter comes by the gadget thing honestly. If we left all of her kitchen utensils (and blankets, quilts, shampoo, conditioner, lotions and potions) in a corner of the basement, as neatly packed as it was when she brought them home, she’d have them all ready to take back to school.

But who listens to a mother? 

My mother said my sailor boyfriend was not serious. And she said my “good friend” wanted to be more than a “buddy.” I was sure she was wrong on both counts.

Time proved her right on both counts. 

And now I have the rest of my life to regret my stupidity.

There’s a song that haunts me now that Mom is gone. 

It’s called “I Bet My Life” by Imagine Dragons:

“So many sleepless nights where you were waiting up on me

I gave you hell through all the years.

I’ve gone a million miles but never in my wildest dreams would I come running home to you

I’ve told a million lies but now I tell one single truth: There’s you in everything I do.”

“Don’t expect gratitude,” she once said unexpectedly, “Only after you die you become ‘the sainted Irish mother.”

She was right again.


We have no big plans this summer,  just some home projects that we have not scheduled yet and maybe a couple of weekend jaunts to neighboring states to explore the local history and state forests. The weather so far has been great and we don’t have to drive far for an interesting adventure. If there’s a hurricane forecast, we can always scamper for the cover of home. It wouldn’t be the first time we broke camp after waking up with our butts in a puddle during a midnight rainstorm.

Ah, wilderness.