CINCINNATI -- Yesterday, I had an epiphany. I don't need another human in my life to check my brake lights.
It was freeing. Maybe symbolic of a bigger picture, but whatever.
So if you're single and just counting down the hours until you can ravage Walgreens' clearance candy, read this little list of ways you can win at being single (or just independent), on Valentine's Day and every day.
1. The brake light thing. As mentioned, I realized I could do this myself. You can check the reflection in a big glass window. Other interneters said they can see their brake lights in their car's rear-view camera.
2. You don't need a Keurig if you live alone. Especially if you like iced coffee. Make yourself the whole darn pot of coffee and store the rest in a carafe in the fridge. I lived with a Starbucks barista in college, and she brought home tons of coffee like this every evening. Stir in some sugar or your favorite creamer, drop in a few ice cubes, and viola! I've also seen awesome drink recipes for Bailey's or RumChata with frozen coffee ice cubes.
3. You don't need anyone to help you clasp a bracelet. Another nod to my Nana. One of the first purchases she made as a widow was to buy a little gadget that helps you hook bracelets by yourself. It's actually kind of a pain to use this, and a quick Google search showed us that scotch taping the bracelet onto your wrist while you jimmy the clasp down is just as effective. But if you do want a fancy little tool to put on your bracelet, have at it.
4. You have the power to open any jar. This is NOT a damsel in distress thing -- sometimes jars are just really snug or you have lotion-y or soap-y hands or something. So, if the jar just won't budge and you don't have someone to turn to and ask "can you open this?", try one of these tricks. First, the knife/heavy kitchen utensil trick. This works great for pickle jars or anything that you don't mind getting a little beat up. Just smack the rim of the lid of the jar with the heavy utensil (the goal is to dent it). The other option -- rubber bands. Put a rubber band on the lid of the jar and another on the base of the jar where your other hand will grasp. My favorite alternative to the rubber band trick? Elastic exercise bands.
5. Sometimes you just want pancakes, or waffles, or cookies, or fresh pizza dough...but you can't finish the whole thing. Learn to embrace your freezer. Obviously, cutting a batch in half can help. But you can freeze just about anything -- before or after it's been cooked. Frozen pancakes and waffles are awesome, but refrigerated batter can also last a long time! I've seen the "pancake batter in an empty ketchup container" thing on Pinterest, but you can also buy a few lotion/shampoo storage bottles from the drugstore to avoid having to scrub a ketchup bottle clean. As for dough, cookie and pizza dough both freeze beautifully (and thaw quickly).
6. You can drink wine by yourself AND keep the leftovers. Got to hand this hack to my Nana, the canning queen. Because Mason jars are the bomb, you can use them to store leftover wine. Just pour what you can into a mason jar with a new lid (she stresses this to me any time I can anything). If you're skilled enough to have exactly enough wine leftover to fill the jar to the brim, you'll be able to store it for a very long time without refrigeration. But, if you have just a little bit of air leftover, you can store it in the fridge for about a week.
7. Fold a fitted sheet with NO HELP. This is huge. I don't believe my father knows how to do this. But it's actually not too tricky when you practice it. If you Google it, you get this: "Fold sheet in half horizontally, tucking the fitted top corners into the fitted bottom corners. If your sheet has gathered sides, tuck them into each other, too. Smooth the edges flat. Fold the sheet lengthwise so that all four fitted corners are on top of one another." But, easier than that, here's a video from Martha Stewart (heads up, the tone is a little condescending. Sorry, Martha, that we all weren't born knowing how to fold a fitted sheet).
8. Meeting a Craigslist dealer and freaked out about going alone? Obviously you could get a friend to go with you, but another creative solution is to designate a local Sheriff's Office, police station or jail as your meetup place. Call ahead, but some local law enforcement agencies are already hosting "Craigslist exchange" days and times so that online dealers and customers can feel safe and secure when they buy used fridges or dinette sets.
9. Enjoy your freedom and do whatever the heck you want! Feel like taking a trip? Do it. Check in with your boss, but just do it. Go for it. Want to get a kitten? Or a puppy? Plenty of them need need homes, and you don't need to run the decision by anybody (well...your landlord). Want to splurge on that fancy new camera? Go for it! Yeah, do it! No one to check in with, no one to run your plans by. Fly by the seat of your pants because you can! And if you find someone who wants to join in on your little adventures, why not give them a shot, too?
If you're lucky enough to have someone to spend Valentine's Day with, check out some of these fun ideas for celebrating the day.