Friday, January 25, 2013

COLUMN: Bachelor Tips

Congratulate me, Quad Cities. I have now been a bachelor homeowner for over a year. Seeing as how I'm still alive and the house is still standing, I consider that a win.

I've owned my home for a couple years now -- well, technically, I suppose Wells Fargo owns roughly 39/40ths of my home, but they've graciously allowed me to stay here as long as I pay them every cent I earn until I'm in my mid-70s or so. At first, this home-owning thing was a snap. Why? Because I had a girlfriend to fall back on. It was a lovely partnership: she enjoyed cooking and cleaning, while my interests lay more in the fields of eating and making messes.

But that was yesterday, when love was such an easy game to play. I've now been flying solo for just over a year, and I have yet to do anything that would cause the house to explode. The way I see it, this makes me somewhat of an expert at bachelor life. I now manage to keep a house tidy enough that I don't try to hide the interior from the pizza delivery guy. That's why I'm introducing a new semi-regular feature to my column...

Shane's Handy-Dandy Tips For Bachelor Living. These are for YOU, single guys:

• When purchasing milk at the store, always buy see-through jugs instead of cartons. This is to avoid those pesky times when someone reaches for the milk in your fridge, sees that the date is "Nov 1", and takes a big swig -- before you can step in and tell them that the expiration date was Nov 1, 2009. Helpful piece of bachelor knowledge: Year-old milk turns CLEAR.

• When it comes to storing left-overs, ALWAYS use aluminum foil. Saran-Wrap is a tool of the devil. Only women know how to work Saran Wrap. When WE try to do it, it rips off in weird strips, gets stuck to itself, goes all stringy, and turns into the unsolvable Rubik's Cube of kitchenware.

• They now make refrigerator bags with little labels on them so you can write down what you're storing. This is handy for those times when you pull the bag out of the nether regions of your refrigerator months later and go, "Eww! What WAS this?!?!?!" Now you'll know. Remember, one man's mold is another man's antibiotic. If Alexander Fleming had kept a tidy fridge, we wouldn't have penicillin.

• Here's one from the apartment days: If it's -20 outside and your abode has a lousy radiator, it is possible yet not recommended to open your oven door and turn your kitchen into a giant space heater. It is POSITIVELY not recommended to this immediately upon waking prior to one's morning coffee. You see, there could be a chance that you turn your stove on by mistake instead of your oven. And there could be a chance that you've left some Tupperware sitting on that stove. And there could be a chance that you're in the middle of your shower when you look up and see black smoke rolling through your apartment. And there could be a chance that you set off the fire alarms in the entire apartment complex while you're wet and naked and trying to figure out how to stop plastic from smoldering. And you could have to endure a very harsh lecture from the fire department while you still have a head covered in shampoo. Not that I'd know anything about that first-hand. Cough.

• The "three-second rule" of dropped food does NOT apply if you are a cat-owner. If that hot dog makes contact with your floor for even 1/10th of 1 second, it will act as a magnet for any and all loose cat hair in the area. And while loose cat hair is arguably LESS disgusting than the actual contents of your hot dog, it's still really revolting.

• As a bachelor, your living space most likely smells like a finely crafted melange of sweat socks and stale pizza. Strangely, girls do NOT find this appealing. But girls have found the answer and guys need to embrace it. I'll proudly admit it: I own THREE Scentsy burners in my house. There is no funk that cannot be overcome by melted scented wax. Your nose will thank you for it, trust me.

• In the event of Def Con 4 -- otherwise known as "when the parents come to visit," I opt for the tri-Scentsy experience above, augmented with some carpet deodorizer, three open tubs of Citrus Magic placed strategically through the house, and a liberal spritzing of Ozium. This should sort out ALL the funky smells in your house. Of course, there's a marginal chance that you'll die from toxic fume inhalation, but should this happen, rest assured your corpse will likely smell springtime fresh.

• Mankind -- or at least bachelorkind -- really needs to focus their efforts on self-cleaning clothes. Laundry is my absolute least favorite thing to do on the planet, unless you count "being stung by bees" as a thing. But in a way, mankind has already accomplished this mission, thanks to the most innovative and important scientific advancement of the 21st century: Febreze. With some strategic Febrezing, as my friend Nathan says, yesterday's pants can be today's pants.

• Color sorting is for sissies. Just throw it all in the washer, press the button, and take your chances. Stick with black underwear and black t-shirts and you'll never have to worry about something turning pink in the wash.

• Lastly, my friend Rick recently shared an innovative cooking tip. Let's say you're slaving away in front of the stove and you've got your hands full yet you need to steady your skillet. Rick has the answer: Simply insert the handle of the skillet into your bellybutton and let your fat work for YOU for a change. Or maybe my friend Rick is a little strange. I wouldn't know because I've never "slaved away" over ANYTHING in the kitchen in my life.

How about YOU? Know any good bachelor housekeeping tips that get the job done while presumably making girls of the world cringe? E-mail them to me at and I might share them in a future column. Now, if you'll excuse me, I have some Febrezing -- I mean, some LAUNDRY -- to tend to.

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