One of those long ago Christmases I received a twin to Jim's multi-tool: a Leatherman PST II (now discontinued). It was versatile, but heavy. After it ripped through some pants' pockets (the belt case was just over the top for me), it was relegated to my work backpack. This system was okay, but it seemed the tool was rarely with me when I needed it. The scissors were so tiny they were only marginally functional (like the Swiss Army scissors of my childhood). It really was too heavy for daily transport.
When the Micra appeared on the market, I mentally cataloged it as a possible gift for the geeks in my life, but didn't buy one for myself until finally stumbling upon a stainless steel one on clearance at Target. I was pretty sure this tool would also end up in the dark void of my backpack or glove compartment after proving itself a better concept than reality, so I didn't want to invest much. Jim thought it absolutely stupid; way too small for practical use.
The Micra had scissors and tweezers, so it would wander in and out of my life for the next few years. Jim eventually bought one too when he got tired of borrowing mine in public. His was sheathed in red plastic (which cracked and came off- leaving the Leatherman unharmed- they now paint the metal rather than putting a translucent plastic shield on it).
My friend Beth who frequently borrowed it simply called it "the man tool." I was never happy with this moniker as most men I know pride themselves on carrying big tools, but in our household the label has stuck.
As we prepared for the baby's arrival, I found myself constantly borrowing his (as mine was AWOL). It was great to open boxes, cut off tags, access screw-on battery covers, and assemble baby gizmos. My Micra was eventually relocated (shortly after I lost Jim's) and has become a daily passenger in my pocket.
It has been one of our favorite tools for daily living with children. So far, it has:
- opened countless boxes, cartons, envelopes, shrink wrapped objects, and blister packs
- broken down boxes for storage and recycling
- cut paper dolls and puzzles for squirming children
- removed retail tags and hanging threads
- cut and filed fingernails, ours and BabyGeek's
- opened and closed screw-secured battery door covers
- shortened drinking straws to more appropriate lengths (as suggested by Mike on Parent Hacks)
- performed eyeglass field surgery with its tiny screwdriver
- assembled and disassembled gizmos and whozits galore
- helped swap out headlight bulbs
- carved sharp plastic molding joints and burrs off toys
- cut threads when sewing
- created impromptu sippy cups (as seen on Instructables via LifeHacker via Parent Hacks)
- and removed a one-year old birthday boy's splinter mid-party after regular tweezers failed to secure the object.
For those who prefer a key chain sized tool, the Leatherman Squirt S4 appears to have much of the same functionality of the Micra in a slightly smaller format. Either tool should fit easily into a Christmas stocking or a diaper bag.
Now, what color should I get for Jim?