Grandpa’s 5,001 secrets prove he’s really handy

As an elder employee at the workplace, whippersnappers may think you know a thing or two.

And we do.

I was recently approached about fish odors. Seems the husband of my young co-worker baked cod, and the odor permeated the environs.

Fish and relatives…

Giving out cheap advice is a satisfying hobby. Bring me your stench problems.

Though I admit I wasn’t versed on the kitchen topic, but that never stops me. We solved potential fish-odor problems years ago at my home.

We eat at Skippers.

Sometimes Ivars.

Now and then Anthony’s.

There are no fresh fishies cooked in my oven. There are fish sticks in the freezer and we adore fish-shaped crackers, but my nose is too sensitive for cooking creatures caught in rivers, lakes or purchased ready-to-go at Costco covered with blobs of butter.

To solve the cod-aroma problem, I had an idea: “Let’s check with Grandpa.”

Sure enough, on my desk, was “Grandpa’s 5001 Handyman Secrets,” with hints, tips and tricks for the do-it-yourselfer.

We checked for a smell chapter and found pertinent references in the miscellaneous kitchen pages.

“An excellent method of removing odors from the kitchen is to keep a few washed charcoal briquettes in a shallow dish on top of the refrigerator. Frying a small amount of cinnamon will chase all odors from the home.”

Thanks, Gramps. I don’t understand washing briquettes, but my coworker was happy to receive a couple of ideas.

Grandpa in this case is Dr. Myles H. Bader, who has written kitchen-reference, household-hint and cooking-secret books for decades. He has been the guest on more than 6,000 radio shows and 135 television shows.

The gentleman knows how to frost a bathroom window. Use a solution of one cup of light beer mixed in four tablespoons of Epsom salts, then paint the mixture on the window.

Here are some other hints and ideas:

If your windshield wipers are smearing the windows, try wiping them with rubbing alcohol.

If a car gets stuck in the snow, use the car floor mat under a tire for traction.

To get a sticky label off a product, rub with vegetable oil on a rag.

Get crayons off walls by spraying with WD-40.

Grandpa says to keep kitty litter fresh, pour in some baby powder.

If your front door lock is opened with a keypad, clean it frequently so burglars can’t see the dirty keys.

The book is a great read and could be a stocking stuffer. I purchased my copy at Many of his ideas seem right on target. The next time it freezes, I plan to put white vinegar on my windshield at night so it won’t freeze.

I better keep Dr. Bader’s name handy. He also wrote a book called “Club the Bugs and Scare the Critters.”

Our kitchen at work has been invaded by fruit flies. If they ask an elder employee for extermination advice, I’ll be ready to buzz in.

Columnist Kristi O’Harran: 425-339-3451,

Talk to us

More in Local News

The county canvassing board certifies election results at the Snohomish County Auditor’s Office in Everett, Washington on Tuesday, Nov. 28, 2023.  (Annie Barker / The Herald)
General election results stamped official by canvassing board

In Snohomish County, one hand recount will take place. Officials said ballot challenges were down this year.

The Days Inn on Everett Mall Way, which Snohomish County is set to purchase and convert into emergency housing, is seen Monday, Aug. 8, 2022, in Everett, Washington. (Ryan Berry / The Herald)
Over $130M for affordable housing set to be approved by County Council

The five-year investment plan of the 0.1% sales tax aims to construct 550 new affordable units.

Two snowboarders head up the mountain in a lift chair on the opening day of ski season at Stevens Pass Ski Area on Friday, Dec. 2, 2022, near Skykomish, Washington. (Ryan Berry / The Herald)
Ski season delayed at Stevens Pass due to minimal snow

Resort originally planned to open Dec. 1. But staff are hopeful this week’s snow will allow guests to hit the slopes soon.

Siblings Qingyun, left, and Ruoyun Li, 12 and 13, respectively, are together on campus at Everett Community College on Thursday, Oct. 19, 2023, in Everett, Washington. The two are taking a full course load at the community college this semester. (Ryan Berry / The Herald)
Siblings, age 12 and 13, are youngest students at EvCC campus

Qingyun Li was 11 when he scored a perfect 36 on the ACT test. His sister, Ruoyun, was one point away.

Edmond’s newly elected mayor Mike Rosen on Wednesday, Nov. 15, 2023 in Edmonds, Washington. (Olivia Vanni / The Herald)
Mayor-elect Rosen wants to ‘make Edmonds politics boring again’

Mike Rosen handily defeated incumbent Mayor Mike Nelson. He talked with The Herald about how he wants to gather the “full input” of residents.

A speed camera facing west along 220th Street Southwest on Tuesday, Nov. 21, 2023 in Edmonds, Washington. (Olivia Vanni / The Herald)
Traffic cameras, and tickets, come to Edmonds; Mukilteo could be next

New school zone cameras in Edmonds will begin operating in January. Mukilteo is considering enforcement cameras as well.

A person walks their dog along a flooded Old Snohomish Monroe Road on Tuesday, Nov. 16, 2021 in Snohomish, Washington. (Olivia Vanni / The Herald)
Flood-resistant floors and sandbags are price of riverside life in Sultan

Flooding is a threat every year for 75,000 locals — and the long-term forecast suggests it’ll only get worse in the coming decades.

3 men charged in armed home invasion near Everett

Prosecutors allege the trio targeted other Asian American homes across Snohomish, Whatcom and King counties.

Team members prep for the upcoming ski season at Stevens Pass Resort in Skykomish, Washington on Wednesday, Nov. 29, 2023.  (Annie Barker / The Herald)
Any day now: All eyes on snow forecast at Stevens Pass

The ski area was a flurry of activity this week, as staff made sure a new lift and app were running smoothly.

Carjacking suspects tracked via GPS from Everett to Renton, then arrested

A King County resident reported two people stole their Mercedes at gunpoint. Hours later, its GPS tracker pinged in north Everett.

Man sentenced for racist threats to Edmonds animal control officer

Sean Wagner spewed slurs at an officer who seized his dogs. He was sentenced to jail for a hate crime.

A sign in front of the AquaSox front office references the upcoming Everett City Council vote on a sum of $1.1 million to give to outside contractors to help upgrade a new stadium on Wednesday, Nov. 29, 2023 in Everett, Washington. (Olivia Vanni / The Herald)
Everett AquaSox stadium upgrade gets $1.1M green light from city

City officials want to keep the team in Everett. But will they play in a new stadium downtown in 2027? Or an updated Funko Field?

Support local journalism

If you value local news, make a gift now to support the trusted journalism you get in The Daily Herald. Donations processed in this system are not tax deductible.