Dec 24

Cait & Marty keep Mr. Seven Hands in their kitchens, their garages and their communal garden shed.

Mr. 7 HandsThe several sizes of flathead and phillips screwdrivers fold down into a wide handle that provides plenty of torque and a solid grip for bigger jobs, while easily handling those annoyingly tiny screws in computers and eyeglasses.

Mr. 7 Hands is the perfect gift for someone starting out on their own or for an apartment dweller who uses a kitchen drawer as a toolbox. It can be found at Target for about $10 plus tax, last time we checked, and for about $14-17 plus shipping on line.

Mr. 7 Hands’ weak point is its nearly useless flashlight. In our opinion, the addition of an led flashlight would make Mr. 7 Hands the best household tool of all time.

Dec 24

In winter, few things aid a person like a pair of good boots - and by good we mean well-fitting and sturdy with low heels.

The other day in the grocery store, Cait came to the aid of a woman who slipped and fell while wearing what Cait calls “Floozie Boots” - high-heeled, dress boots that are an accident waiting to happen in winter.

The floor was dry, so it didn’t even take ice or a slick spot to topple this woman off her floozie boots. Cait helped her up and she walked off limping and embarrassed.

Cait didn’t think she was in the mood to hear her Gimpy spiel about heels. If you’re in the mood click here.

Dec 24

Cait and Marty are “Jarheads” - the name given to Carmex devotees.

carmex.pngCarmex has been made by the Woelbing family in Franklin, Wisconsin, since 1937. A skosh of menthol and a smidge of camphor mixed with lanolin, cocoa butter, phenol and salicylic acid in a wax base gives a cool, soothing sensation to dry lips.

Cait discovered Carmex about 20 years ago on a field trip to Minneapolis while she was in art school. Marty discovered it about the same time in a Boston drug store. (Once when Cait was crossing back into her home country of Canada, the only thing she declared at Customs was five pots of Carmex.)

Carmex stays put after it is applied, is not overly shiny and doesn’t make you look like you are wearing gobs of lip gloss from junior high.

Carmex - a Gimpy Girls staple in winter - even has a cult following and its own urban myths. (Google it on the Internet sometime).

The comedian Paula Poundstone once joked, “I chaperoned a school field trip, and I kid you not, that Carmex went around the bus like it was the water of life. I did them a favor by confiscating it and dropping it off a ravine. There’s probably a squirrel out there right now who just can’t get enough of that tub of carmex.”

Learn more about Carmex from Oprah.

Eds. Note: If you can buy this locally, do it. You’ll get a much better price than going through the Internet where the shipping costs often are much more than the price of a tub or a tube of Carmex.

Dec 24

Cait’s family was introduced to the Handy Bar several years ago when her parents were in a serious car accident.

handy-bar.pngThe hospital therapists showed Cait’s father how to lean on it to get in and out of a car more easily and he found it indispensable to his recovery.

The sturdy Handy Bar easily fits most cars, trucks and sport utility vehicles that have a “U” shaped striker plate in the door frame. There’s no installation - the bar simply drops into place and then stows away under the seat, in a console or in a glove box.

The Handy Bar is ideal for pregnant women and Gimpy people with knee, hip or back problems. Supports up to 300 pounds.handy-bar-in-use.png

Watch this video of the Hand Bar

Attention Limo Drivers: Cait believes every limousine should be equipped with a Handy Bar, especially for wedding and funerals where Gimpy relatives often are in attendance.

Dec 24

Dumb pride keeps otherwise smart people from using free electric scooter carts available today in so many stores and malls.

Hell, were it not for those scooters, we wouldn’t have seen a quarter of Minnesota’s Mall of America and Disney World would still just be a dream.

Someday, down the road, we will have their own electric scooters. (Marty winces when Cait says she wants a scooter with sparkly purple paint and an orange racing-flame motif.)

For now, we want to stay as mobile on our own feet as possible, so we walk when we are able and use the free scooter carts when we must.

It may be time for you, or someone you know, to grab a scooter, so here are some tips from Cait & Marty, who regularly scooter around the grocery store, Home Depot, Target, Kmart, Ikea, Canadian Tire, Costco and Walmart.

Try them before you need to. In other words, do your first drive on a day when you have some energy, not too much pain and are fully alert. Scooters take a bit of getting used to and you should be on your best game the first time.

Some carts drive better than others. So until you get used to handling them, do your test-driving during off-peak hours so you aren’t playing Demolition Derby with the store shelves, other customers and staff.

So grab that car and remember our motto (actually one of many): “Go forth into the world in the way that works best for you.”

Dec 21

We are not skiers. Our idea of a rousing day on the slopes is sitting by the lodge fireplace with a rum toddy, a good book and a pair of binoculars to watch the skiers.

But many of our friends are skiers, or rather were skiers before they grew averse to risk. Baby Boomers don’t want to end up in physical therapy and so fewer are taking to the slopes, and when they do it’s on flatter runs so crowded it takes the fun out of it.

Now, however, resorts are working to lure back the Boomers with pioneering programs such as “Bumps for Boomers” - which erases the fear and teaches Boomers to confidently ski - of all things - mogul runs! And to do it without needing quick reflexes or extraordinary agility.

“It’s not a gimmick,” Rose Ries, a 51-year-old psychiatrist from Philadelphia told Read the story. “I was the classic devoted skier who, nonetheless, had no chance in the moguls. Now, tree and mogul runs are the only place I go.”

click here

Dec 11

These ear warmers should have been around when Beehive hairdos were in fashion. They fit around the back of the head and don’t muss a do.

180s.pngCalled “180s” by Gorgonz, they stretch and retract to get the right fit over your ears and then fold up into small disks to pop into your purse, pants or coat pocket.

They keep the wind out, are light weight, snug without being uncomfortable and can be worn under a hat.

Click here to view a variety of colors and materials. They seem to vary in price depending on the Web site so search around to find the best price and style.

Dec 6

In winter, the Ice Grip Tip should be on the cane of anyone who ventures outside even to get the mail or refill the bird feeder.grip.png

It attaches easily to a cane and has a retractable tip so you can quickly pull it up and out of the way when you head indoors.

cane.pngThe five-prong tip fits canes and crutches from 5/8 inches to one-inch in diameter and comes with mounting screws. All you need is screwdriver. (A perfect task for Mr. 7 Hands.)

This year, during the cold months, increase your stability and reduce your chance of a fall with the Cane Ice Grip Tip.

(Eds. Note: And if you’re interested in a cane grip that qualifies as a weapon … just kidding … sort of …. check out this Single Point Grip Tip.)

Dec 4

Even if Cait didn’t need a cane for support, she would keep one at hand because she finds it so versatile.

Out and about, she regularly uses her cane to unhook clothing hangars from the upper racks at stores and to edge cans to the front of high shelves while grocery shopping.

In the garden, Cait’s cane serves as a dibber to plant seeds and tamp soil, and to bring high branches closer for pruning or to hang bird feeders.

At her potting bench, Cait’s cane pulls pots and trays of seedlings closer without her having to bend and it’s useful for spacing young plants because Cait knows the handle measures about 6-inches wide.

Cait taught her dog, Hailley Wigglesworth - aka Perfect Girl, the Licorice Princess and Gassy Girl - to jump the cane and uses it as a silent signal for Hailley to return to her at the local dog park. When Hailley sees Cait holding the cane horizontally, she runs back to Cait to make the jump.

And last but not least, Cait’s cane makes a great impromptu Limbo Bar for those festive backyard get togethers.

Dec 4

We love winter but fear of falling takes the fun out of it. One slip and we risk being laid up for weeks, if not months.

Federal statistics indicate slips and falls are the single-largest cause of emergency room visits, with the average slip and fall injury costing a whopping $28,000.

yaktrax.pngThat has made The Gimpy Girls big believers in foot grips and cleats. While there are a number of good grips on the market, we favor Yaktrax Pro, pictured here.

YakTrax make you feel like you are walking on dry ground, which makes you stand taller and avoid that stooped winter posture we assume when shuffling along so tentatively on ice and snow. The Pro has a strap that snugs over the top of the foot, making it less likely to lose one while you’re out and about.

The only drawback to wearing these is human procrastination. We’ve found that if we don’t keep them on our boots or shoes, ready to go by the door, all the time, we fail to put them on each time we venture out - And all it takes is one fall on the way to mailbox to sideline us for the winter.

So stay safe and get a grip. Check out these grips at Cozy Winters, an online catalog with beau coup cold-weather items.