Tools, hacks and tips for grasping small objects and doing everyday errands when you have hand weakness.

I had a full on 15-minute dirty fight with a parking meter last week.

Normally, I wouldn’t have engaged the metal asshole by even parking there. We have had “run-ins” before and I should have known better. But, I was more than 20 minutes late (not my norm) for a doctor’s appointment and feeling anxious about it.

It was raining that day and the parking garage, which would have been the safer/smarter choice, was 2 blocks away.

I was relieved to find a parallel parking space directly in front of the medical building and reasoned, I didn’t have that third cup of morning coffee so my hands weren’t extra shaky.

The ugly parking meter appeared innocuous. The task at hand was seemingly simple:

  • Dig through purse & car to find an hour’s worth of change.
  • Use pincher grip to pick up said change.
  • Carry change from car to ugly metal parking meter.
  • Use fingers (and luck) to insert coins into meter.

It was like a scene from America’s Funniest Home Videos when people repeatedly try blowing out those never-ending birthday candles while others laugh.

Tools, hacks and tips for grasping small objects and doing everyday errands when you have hand weakness.

I stood on the sidewalk attempting fo feed coin after coin into that meter. Each one I attempted to put in, immediately fell to the ground.

After about 5 minutes and more than 15 coins, I managed to get just one quarter in (putting 10 minutes on the meter) and the rest of the coins were scattered all over the cement.

Eventually, I said “f-ck it” and went to my appointment risking a $10 parking ticket. It wasn’t worth any more aggravation and the change I had left all over the sidewalk would make a homeless person’s day.

For those without hand problems, the act of inserting coins in a meter is not worth even talking about. It doesn’t require the slightest amount of brainpower or physical prowess to put change in a meter; an ordinary task, done without thought.

Tools, hacks and tips for grasping small objects and doing everyday errands when you have hand weakness.

But, when your hands do not function properly, you become acutely aware of everything that requires the ability to grab, pinch, and pull small objects. The drive-thru ATM machine has to be approached at just the right angle and two hands are needed to feed a credit card into the chip reader at the grocery store.

These machines are designed to save time not increase it. Don’t even get me started about parking garages with drive-up (no attendant anywhere) ticket booths. I’m getting anxious just thinking about them.

Tools, hacks and tips for grasping small objects and doing everyday errands when you have hand weakness.

Having body parts not work the way they should, can be frustrating and humbling. I often feel like a small impatient child trying to accomplish a milestone.

Since my disability is not visible, I cannot expect people to be mind-readers and offer assistance without me telling them I need it. But, I don’t have to give my power away to parking meters and drive-thru ATM’s as they do not save me time.

I can slow down and be more mindful of the things that provoke a sense of helplessness and take the few extra steps (when available) to get around them when I can.

When you have a disability, you have to think outside of the box and learn to plan ahead. I now keep a grabber like this foldable one in my car.

Tools, hacks and tips for grasping small objects and doing everyday errands when you have hand weakness.

I should use it to take a whack to that evil parking meter don’t you think?. Oh, and I recently came up with a  diy hack for grabbing and sliding debit and other cards you’ll enjoy.

How do you navigate the world and accomplish everyday tasks with hand problems? Do you have any awesome hacks? I’d love to hear! Follow the Trend-Able Facebook Page so we can virtually meet!

8 Comments

  1. Very true! Same with filling up the gas and tha gas station pump has a swipe credit card ,third try gets locked .We need to let go the anger and accept the limitations by asking for help if possible and laugh ?. Can be worse!
    By the way kudos for this excellent blog! ?❤️

  2. Yay, Lainie! This post hit the nail on the head in so many ways (probably two hands on the ? hammer and someone else to hold the nail?). Anyway, I want to share a cool idea I got from someone else re: getting the cards in/out of a reader: put a small hole on the edge of the card and add a small loop of fishing line that can then be used to pull the card out of those evil readers “quickly”. Pretty smart, right? Keep up the GREAT work on this blog, Lainie! I’m def a fan?

  3. I can picture you dropping the change and laughing to yourself! This is a great reminder to those of us with working hands…to appreciate them!

  4. Thanks for this! I’ve found picking up even dish soap to cause pain so I use a hand pump from an old soap. I also drop items… 5lb bag of sugar trying to refill the sugar bowl for coffee.

    • Hi Karen,

      I love your email (I won’t announce it) and it first thought it might be spam…maybe it is and your just that good 😀. Hand pumps are our friends for sure. Ouch on the sugar…maybe switch to Stevia 😂. It’s lighter …

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