TURN OF THE CORKSCREW

Some things in life are not easy. Many things in life are not easy, actually, and opening wine bottles can be one of them. The cork crumbles, splits and generally misbehaves. Enter Wine Waiter, which functions not only as a corkscrew but also as a cork retriever. Its plastic tentacles reach where no man dare. Attach it to the wine bottle and smile confidently as you fill all of those requests for white wine.

Cork retriever and corkscrew. $8.95. Chesapeake Knife and Tool Co., Georgetown Park, 338-5700. Also at The Pavilion at the Old Post Office, 842-4760, and Crystal Underground Arcade 3, Arlington, 685-0121, at slightly higher prices.

A DRINK IN THE SUN

After a long day of sun and water, what do you want? A shower, then a nice hot drink to take off that little chill. Arlington potter Cathy Brosius' handmade mugs can also serve you during the rains that keep you inside your beach house. And when the snow falls and the cold winds blow, the mugs are a souvenir of summers past -- and those to come. (For Lefties: Brosius draws her dunes on "the other side.")

Beach mugs. $10 each, plus shipping and handling. The Spectrum Gallery, 216 S. Main St., Chincoteague, Va. 23336 (closed Wednesdays). 804/336-3403. Or call Cathy Brosius, 237-8390.

ROLL OVER, BEETHOVEN We all know you want your child to be the next Van Cliburn, but that will have to wait. In the meantime, he or she can play the piano -- by number! This book of 12 favorite children's songs has its own electronic keyboard. All your child needs to know is how to count to seven. Traveling parents, take note: Little Ludwig can make beautiful music on those long car rides, stopping only to ask, "Are we there yet?"

Music book with electronic keyboard. $10. Woodward and Lothrop. Toy department. All stores.

HELP ON THE HIGHWAY

It's after midnight, there's not a soul in sight and your car has died. While you wait for help to arrive, you need to alert fellow motorists that your intentions are good -- as theirs should be. The D.C. section of the National Council of Jewish Women offers a three-foot plastic banner that boldly announces in bright orange, "CALL POLICE." The signs have pre-affixed, double-faced tape so you, the driver, do not even have to get out of your car to attach it to your windshield. You might want two -- one for front and back. They fold and are easily stowable in your glove compartment.

Call Police banner. $3 each, two for $5, plus 50 cents postage and handling. Tax deductible. Send check or money order to NCJW Banner, c/o Luna Diamond, 4701 Willard Ave., No. 335, Chevy Chase, Md. 20815. 652-2369.