Dear readers: Here is this week's SOUND OFF, about food conveyor belts
at grocery stores:
“My Sound Off is about grocery stores encouraging me to put the small
plastic basket on the conveyor to unload my groceries. My concern is the
unsanitary practice this is. The baskets have been on the floor, thereby
potentially transferring filth and germs to the same surface that food
items are placed on. We live in a ranching community - use your
imagination as to where shoes and boots might have been!”
- Donna in Greycliff, Mont.
No need to think much to guess where that footwear may have been.
However, the conveyor belt itself is not the cleanest, either. Most food
is packaged, and we are taught to rinse fruit and veggies before eating.
That said, simply tell the checker you want to leave it in the basket.
Dear Readers: Here are other uses for a coin purse:
Make a mini sewing kit and store inside it.
Store extra buttons in one.
Make a mini first-aid kit with it.
Keep extra bobby pins or hair clips in one.
Store business cards in one.
Dear Heloise: I, too, was frustrated with the top sheet coming untucked.
So I came up with a solution. All you need is an old pair of rubber
flip-flops. Simply tie a corner of the sheet to the toe strap of the
flip-flop and slide it under the corner of the mattress. Do the same on
the other corner. It works great!
- Regina, via email
Brilliant! I love it, and you for sharing. I have “satin” sheets (on my
side of the bed), and I've done just about everything! - Heloise
Dear Heloise: When my brother deployed, we wanted to keep in touch with
him. The first care package I sent included a box of envelopes (several
pre-addressed to me), a package of paper and pens, also a sheet with the
addresses of friends and family he might want to write. I sent it to him
by email, but wanted a “backup,” just in case. He wrote notes to Mom and
Dad, and to me. He said how much a real letter (on paper) meant to him.
Email is great, but it's just not the same as seeing an envelope.
- Chrissy in Arlington, Va.
Chrissy, when I sent care packages, I included paper airplanes, jacks
and playing cards. I saved weeks of the comics from the newspaper to
“stuff” the box. Don't forget the fun things. - Hugs, Heloise
Dear Heloise: I used a hint about carrying a small supply of daily
medication in your purse in case you forget to take it. I used a weekly
pill divider. The problem is the pills rattle and make noise in my
purse. I had an extra-soft eyeglass case and slipped the pill divider
into it to muffle the sound. - Ingrid in Florida
These Things Rust?
June 24, 2015
Dear Readers: Here
is this week's SOUND OFF, about items rusting:
"My Sound Off is
about things that are supposed to get wet, but when they do, they get
rust. I've enclosed a photo. (Heloise here: The photo shows a string
mop, with a metal ring about a third of the way down. Rust city!) I have
rust on my bathroom basin and washing machine. Whoever made these
products, didn't they know they would get wet?" -- Kathleen H., Camp
I am as outraged as you. Call the manufacturers right now! This is
absolutely ridiculous! The metal ring around the mop is rusting? Huh?
SHAME! Fight back. Call the manufacturer; take the mop back to the
store. DON'T buy that brand again. -- Heloise
Readers: Other items to use as a jewelry stand:
* A coffee-mug
* A cupcake
* A large frame
with a screen in it.
* A corkboard
with decorative thumbtacks.
* A small branch
from a dead tree.
I love the last hint! Eco-friendly, unique and simple to do. Give me a
can of spray paint, red or black, for my bathroom (blue for the guest
bath) and I'm ready to create. Oh yes, don't like the way the color
turned out? Just spray over it with a new one. How simple, cheap and
fun! -- Heloise
Dear Readers: As
usual, you came through with wonderful hints for Carolyn from Texas. She
had a spoon collection, many from her 30 years of teaching school.
Rita in Idaho wrote:
"She can make wind chimes, rings or napkin rings with them. She also can
top a kitchen gift as an ornament, or attach them to a wreath."
S. Kangas in
Philip, S.D., wrote: "My daughter received several from her grandmother,
and she used ornament hooks to put the little spoons on her Christmas
tree. She thought of her grandmother every time she looked at the tree."
Stacy in New
Hampshire suggested: "Why not use her spoons as handles on her drawers,
cabinets and other 'handles' throughout the house? This way she can
revisit her travels every time she opens something." Heloise here: Love
this! Talk about happy memories every time you see or open a cabinet.
Connecticut wrote: "Buy a glass-top table, coffee table or end table,
and use a mounting underneath. Place them there with some soft lighting
-- what a conversation piece."
sharing your hints, folks! -- Hugs, Heloise
Dear Heloise: Don't
throw away that old iron and ironing board! Keep them for crafting. I
needed a new iron (the old one worked, but was beat up and dingy). I use
the old one as my crafting iron. This way, the new one doesn't get
gunked up when I work on my sewing projects. Iron-on patches, fusible
webbing, etc., can gunk up an iron pretty quickly! -- Terry B., via
alone the dogs of work
June 18, 2015
Dear Readers: Here is this week’s SOUND OFF, about service dogs:
“My wife has a cute little (38 pounds) miniature schnauzer mix. This dog
alerts her to low blood sugar and does several other things for her. My
area of concern is those adults who feel they have to pet this dog. Roy
(the wonder dog) wears a vest in public with patches that state he is a
’’service dog’ and ‘please don’t pet me, I’m working.’ Yet people just
have to reach out and touch him.
“I was brought up that you never touch another person’s dog without
asking! People, please read the vest and ask permission to touch/pet,
and if permission is not granted, don’t get upset.”
- Pete S., Fredericksburg, Va.
Give Roy a pet from me, with your permission, of course! I’ve written
about this for years! It’s tempting, folks, but PLEASE ask before even
approaching. Service dogs are in WORK MODE, and that means they protect
and take care of their person. Don’t distract service dogs, no matter
how adorable they are. Would you want to be “petted” while you are
driving in heavy traffic? - Heloise
Dear Readers: Other uses for clean foam takeout containers:
As a paint tray.
As packing material.
Use in arts and crafts.
Itchy insect bites
Dear Heloise: You printed a hint about using baking soda for minor
insect bites. We always have a box in our camping gear, and one when we
go to the beach. We used it once for a sting from a jellyfish someone
stepped on. - Tom A., Clearwater, Fla.
Tom, baking soda is super for little insect bites. Please note: For
jellyfish, DO NOT rinse with tap water. Make a paste of seawater and
baking soda, pat it on the site and let sit. Then rinse with seawater.
Baking soda is a miracle product that can be used for so many different
purposes. Want to know what else I use it for? Order my baking-soda
pamphlet. Go to my website, www.Heloise.com, or send $5 and a long,
self-addressed, stamped (70 cents) envelope to: Heloise/Baking Soda,
P.O. Box 795001, San Antonio, TX 78279-5001. A little itchy after
gardening? Add 1/2 cup of baking soda to your bath to soothe your skin.
Dear Heloise: I have beautiful Labrador retriever, Buddy, who is 6 years
old and 105 pounds, and still gets into mischief. I purchased several
dog beds, only to find them ripped to shreds. I have a 5- by 7-foot
throw rug and place it on top of a foam bed. He finally just lies on it
without destroying it. - Sandra S., via email
Dear Heloise: I have big pine cones that I lay in potted plants. It
discourages our cats from playing in them. When I “water” the cones
thoroughly when watering the plant, they close up when wet. When they
open up, I know it’s time to water. - Marilyn G., Conway, Ark.
People ponder pill packs
June 11, 2015
Dear Readers: Wow, those annoying “BLISTER PACKS” of pills are really
causing blisters! So many responded to the Sound Off about medication in
the blister packs! Most emails and letters shared hints on how to get
the medication out. Some suggestions were: Carol B., a seam ripper;
Bayne P., scissors; Susan G., a dental hook; and Lynnette, a letter
opener. One reader, Jeanine R., said the pharmacy will repackage the
pills if asked.
The following letter is from Jack B., who shed some light on the subject
from the other side of the counter - the manufacturer. I had to edit for
space, but the message is still clear:
“I worked in the pharmaceutical industry until my retirement. Making
packaging easy to open, especially for the elderly or those with
arthritis, has always been an issue. This kind of packaging is actually
more expensive than putting the meds in a bottle. So why do the drug
companies do it? There are several reasons: 1. Some meds degrade faster
than others, and keeping them hermetically sealed until they are opened
ensures their potency. 2. Individually packaged meds make it easier for
users to see if they have taken their dose each day. 3. As you stated in
your response, individually packaged meds are virtually childproof. It’s
a fine balance to achieve these goals and still make the meds easy to
get out. It is a nuisance, but I think that the benefits outweigh any
Jack, thank you for the confirmation and your insight! It makes a lot
more sense now why companies put the medicines in these packages. We
still may not like it, but we can at least understand the situation. Two
other readers shared good points:
From Joyce: “When my mom went into assisted living, the meds were
required to be in blister packs. The staff administers the pills, and
all remaining pills must be accounted for. Counting the blisters is more
sanitary and efficient.”
From Kay: “I cut the packs into strips, with seven pills in each strip,
and then use these as a ‘weekly’ amount. I can see if I’ve taken them
all by just counting Monday-Sunday.”
P.S.: Keep pills in ANY container, pillbox or blister pack OUT OF THE
REACH OF CHILDREN! Don’t keep them on the kitchen table or counter if
small children are around.
Dear Readers: Here are other uses for a magazine holder:
Use it to store plastic wrap, aluminum foil, etc., in the kitchen.
Keep flat irons, curling irons, etc., in one.
Put extra rolls of toilet paper in one if it is wide enough.
Keep children’s artwork in one.
Put in a pantry as a place to store canned goods.
Dear Heloise: I was brushing my teeth after drinking coffee when I
noticed how stained my cup was from coffee. I put a dab of toothpaste on
a paper towel and cleaned the cup. It came out sparkling clean!
- A.H., via email
don’t measure up
June 4, 2015
Dear Readers: Here is
this week’s SOUND OFF, about the downsizing of canned products:
"I have a Sound Off: the downsizing of canned foods, especially cream
soups. The smaller sizes mess up a lot of recipes I use them in. I
usually double the recipes and have been adding another can of soup,
which makes things a little more soupy than they should be.”
Beverly in Little Rock, Ark.
Beverly, the can size (or volume) has shrunk through the years. Are you
using an old recipe? If you are doubling the ingredients to make two
batches, the smaller size should make it less soupy rather than more.
Most call for condensed soup. If you are using the regular soup, then
yes, it’s probably going to be soupy. Readers, can anyone help Beverly?
Dear Readers: Here are other uses for fabric scraps:
Tie around a circular form and make a wreath.
Cut up and use as stuffing for a pillow.
Cover buttons or pushpins.
Make gift tags or bookmarks.
Use to make a patchwork throw.
Dear Heloise: What would you suggest is the best way to clean rust off a
wrought-iron garden piece? It’s too big to dip or soak. If I sand it
down, can I just cover it with a rust-preventing product? Won’t the rust
just come back?
Vela, via email
Sounds like you are thinking in the right direction! Rust is not just an
ugly sight, it’s the metal being dissolved. Do sand down as much as you
can without harming the piece. Next, vinegar to the rescue! You will
need a lot, so buy a gallon or two of plain old white or apple-cider
Next, place some old towels or a lot of paper towels over the rust
spots, pour on the vinegar and let it soak. Check once in a while, and
when you see the rust coming up on the towels, pour on more vinegar!
Keep at it until you have removed as much as possible.
Hose down the garden piece. Let dry, and you should be ready to paint
with a paint that inhibits rust. Vinegar can work wonders on a lot of
household problems. Want to find other solutions with this one simple
bottle? Order my pamphlet to find out what else you can do with vinegar.
To receive, go to my website, www.Heloise.com, or send $5 and a long,
self-addressed, stamped (70 cents) envelope to: Heloise/Vinegar, P.O.
Box 795001, San Antonio, TX 78279-5001.
Have a rusty padlock that no longer opens? Soak it in some vinegar to
get it working again.
Careful for coupons
Dear Heloise: Don’t forget to check the back of your receipts! Stores
often print coupons on the back of receipts for their store or other
stores. Coupons are a great way to save money and stretch your budget!
G.N. in Texas
Stop Before You Go
May 28, 2015
Dear Heloise: If you are going to stop your newspapers and mail for a
vacation, use the “stop date” as the day BEFORE you leave. That way, you
can be sure the stop order went through. I can’t tell you how many times
the stops did NOT occur on the day I had selected.
Love your column. I read it in the Orange County (Calif.) Register. This
is the second hint I have sent to you. The first was published years
Gayle P., via email
Gayle, thanks for the good advice and for being a longtime reader. If
possible, ask a neighbor or friend to drive by your home while you are
gone and pick up any papers or fliers that are in the driveway. A few
days of piled-up newspapers in a driveway is a clear indication to
burglars that no one is home.
No water necessary
Dear Heloise: I read (and love) your column in our paper and am
responding to the hint about keeping a bottle of water handy for rinsing
the liquid-detergent bottle cap. My hint is to rinse the bottle cap in
the water that is filling the washing machine. No extra water needed!
Irene in Lansing, Ill.
Here is another hint I use: Just toss the cap (it’s plastic) into the
washer along with the laundry.
Dear Heloise: Many people use shredders at home to safely get rid of
personal information. My attempts at using this material as mulch have
not been very successful. Do you have hints for recycling this paper so
it does not go into landfills?
Robert S., via email
Sure do, and thank you for asking:
As packing material when sending packages.
In a cat-litter box (especially after a cat has had surgery or been
Before mulching an area, layer with shredded paper and then wet
Recycle shredded materials in the paper recycling bin along with
Dear Heloise: My screen door leads to the patio and is opened and closed
frequently. Sometimes I leave it open, but when I close it, because the
screen is so fine, I run into it. I’m concerned this will loosen the
screen from the frame. I put a 2-inch piece of tape, eye level, on the
screen. Now no more worry about hurting the screen door.
Dorothy B., Paso Robles, Calif.
Ouch! That can hurt you, too! I’ve used a pretty butterfly decal as a
warning sign on our screen door.
Keeping shoes tied
Dear Heloise: I learned this hint about tying shoes from my neighbor:
When you make the bow, just loop the second “rabbit ear” under twice,
and the shoe will stay tied until you pull the ends to untie them. Your
column I read today reminded me to share the simple things that make
Jo-Ann F. in San Antonio
Ads Make Viewer Mad
May 21, 2015
Dear Readers: Here is this week’s SOUND OFF, about television
programming and commercials:
“In TV commercials, why is bad behavior being flaunted? Children
destroying car paint, jumping on an open dishwasher door, jumping on
beds, etc. The children get a grin and a pat on the head like it is OK.”
Wynell M., San Angelo, Texas
How right you are! I see a few like you mentioned and think, “Hey, those
parents are going to really have trouble later on.” You can write to
complain to the advertiser. Don’t know if it will help, but it might if
enough people do it. If you see bad behavior while watching the
commercial with children, maybe point out that it is just silly TV, and
that is NOT how we behave. - Heloise
Dear Readers: Other uses for DVD cases:
Put a pad of paper on one side and place coupons inside for shopping.
Download videos or pictures to a CD and hand out to family.
Carry photos in so they don’t get bent.
Use as a practice writing surface for kids with a dry-erase marker.
Carts in handicapped
Dear Heloise: I sympathize with the lady who uses carts left in the
handicapped spaces to replace her walker. But people need to keep in
mind that the handicapped spaces are for wheelchairs exiting vehicles.
When the lift is deployed and is blocked by a shopping cart, the driver
cannot exit the vehicle, thus negating the reason for the extra space.
Perhaps a smaller cart return specifically for the handicapped area
would make it easier for those who use the handicapped spaces to return
their carts. Also, anyone who wishes to pick up a cart on the way into
the store can do so.
D.S.M., Springfield, Ill.
Thank you for the good reminder! Sometimes we think we know what’s best,
until we learn the other point of view. Having been on crutches and a
cane for many, many months (from a motorcycle wreck where a car hit
me!), I know the difficulties getting around. Getting in and out of the
car was, well, a pain!
Dear Heloise: We have an old dresser, and the drawers don’t move
smoothly. Do you have a remedy for this?
Ida F., via email
Absolutely, and it’s easy to remedy. If the runners are metal, simply
spray a little lubricating oil on them. Then open and close the drawer
several times to get good coverage. Do not use cooking spray in a can -
it will make the slides sticky over time.
If it’s wood on wood, don’t use oil! Use an old candle, and rub the wax
on both the drawer slides and inside the dresser.
Dear Heloise: When we go on a family outing, we always talk about where
we will meet in case one of us gets separated.
- Loren M., Reno Nev.
ATMs are loudmouths
May 13, 2015
Dear Readers: Here is this week’s SOUND ON, about ATMs:
“I like ATMs that don’t sound out the amount of money you are getting
and instead just spit it all out at once. It is a safety issue for me.
You never know who is nearby. If they hear the machine spitting out 10
$20 bills, they know that you now have a bunch of cash on you.”
I.G., via email
It is important to be safe when using an ATM, and this certainly is a
Guess it’s time to scout out the machines that don’t announce how much
money you are getting! You can put your hand over the speaker to muffle
the sound, if needed.
Dear Readers: One-time projects to spiff up the house:
Buy hangers for water hoses.
Clean or paint the front door.
Replace hardware on kitchen cabinets.
Get a new mailbox.
Buy new pillows for the couch.
Dear Heloise: I was the caregiver for an Alzheimer’s patient. A
co-worker’s father-in-law (also an Alzheimer’s patient) decided he would
drive and took the car out. He was later found out of gas at the side of
the road. I took my friend to the hardware store and had the car key
remade to look the same, but just not work.
Jane T., Grand Rapids, Mich.
Jane, thankfully it turned out all right and he was not hurt. It is very
difficult to deal with loved ones in situations like this. The most
important issue is keeping them safe! This is one way to circumvent the
potential problem without having to take the keys or sell the car, which
can be hard on both parties.
Dear Readers: Why make a mess when transferring flour when you don’t
need to? Here are just a few of the many hints you sent, responding to
our Sound Off:
From Melanie T. in New Orleans: “My solution is simple: Lift a corner
and use scissors to cut it off. You now have a spout to pour flour,
sugar, cornmeal or coffee without spilling a drop. If you don’t empty
the bag, just fold the corner back, roll down the bag and put a rubber
band around it to keep it sealed. Thanks for the great column.”
From Ruth M., via email: “Here’s what I do: I place the container on a
paper towel. If any spills, I just pick up the paper towel and dump back
into the container. No waste or mess!”
just plop the bag into a large zip bag!
Dear Heloise: Once you have one of those lightweight mops with the
disposable cloths, why waste money buying the new cloths? I use an
old/stained washcloth. It holds water and cleaning solution better
anyway. Just toss it in the washer and reuse.
-Bonny S., Summerfield, Fla.
May 7, 2015
Dear Readers: Here is this week’s Sound Off, about irons:
“You wrote about the problem of irons not getting hot enough to iron
clothes well. I agree, but the frustrating feature is the auto shut-off!
When sewing, by the time I go to press a seam, the iron has shut off,
and I have to wait for it to heat up again. There should be a way to
override this feature for people who sew.”
Lillie in Chandler, Texas
Lillie, it can be a hassle, especially when working on a project that
requires using the iron a lot. I’m with you on this. When I’m on a
sewing spree, to have to keep turning on the iron for just a quick press
of a seam gets to be very, very annoying.
The good news is, there are irons available that do not have an
Call a fabric store or get on the Internet, and the “iron- of your
dreams is waiting for you! Keep on sewing!
Dear readers: Other uses for hand sanitizer:
Clean the nose rests on glasses.
Disinfect a shopping-cart handle.
Smooth your hair in a pinch.
Help relieve the itch of insect bites.
Clean a remote control.
Dear Heloise: I heard we can use vinegar and water to clean wood and
engineered hardwood floors. But I have no idea what the recipe is for
this type of cleaner. Can you please help?
Pam E., via email
Pam, that’s what I’m here for. The answer is both yes and no. Some wood
that you may slightly “damp” mop will do just fine with a little vinegar
(half a cup or so to a mop bucket) added to water.
Many “engineered hardwood floors” are, in fact, well, not like real
wood. The hint to keep in mind is to “clean” the flooring more often and
prevent a big buildup of dust and dirt. Overwetting, or letting a
solution sit on the flooring, is where the problem arises. As much as I
love vinegar, I’m not sure it adds much to the cleaning process. A cup
of 5 percent vinegar in a gallon of water is a darn weak strength.
Yes, I know, I’ve heard from “experts”: “Oh, but Heloise, it’s acid!”
The idea that this negligible amount of “acid” vinegar solution would
“eat away” the finish is a weak argument, in my mind. Do a Heloise test
and damp-mop half of the floor with just water, half with the
vinegar-and-water solution. Result? You tell me!
Dear Heloise: Garbage cans stink! When I bring in my trash can after
garbage pickup, I leave the lid open to allow it to air out a little.
There often is a little time before I need to put another bag of trash
in it, so I leave the lid open during that time.
Ernest, via email
route to healthier eating
April 30, 2015
Dear Readers: With our busy lives, and many of us spending a lot of time
going to and from, it’s sure easy to “drive through” a FAST-FOOD
RESTAURANT to pick up dinner! Hey, I’m one of you.
After a full, busy day working on this column, doing phone work,
checking and sending important emails, dealing with service folks, etc.,
I sure don’t want to fix dinner. Plus, it’s just David (my husband) and
me now. Oh, yes, he usually is the one who “brings home the dinner,”
since I work from my home office. Here are my personal Heloise hints for
eating as healthy as possible:
No FRIED food, or if it’s battered, I try to pick off the batter and
skin. I do love french fries and onion rings, so I limit the amount I
eat by putting a few on my plate, not eating from the bag. Side salads,
soups and fruit slices are available, too. Skip mayo on a sandwich or
burger (veggie for me), and “86” (cancel) the cheese.
Soft drinks are jam-packed with useless calories and cost a lot! Water
for me, or iced tea.
Gravies, high-calorie sauces and most salad dressings add more calories
and fat than you might think. A taste or two usually is enough for me.
Kids’ meals are perfect when I’m not famished. NO, you don’t have to be
a kid to order one!
Dear Heloise: My wife, Shirley, reads me the hints in your column in The
Washington Post. Here is my hint to make shaving almost nick-proof:
She has gotten me to use body lotion for dry skin. I now apply it to my
face before the shaving cream - the result is miraculous! Shaving is
easier and more effective. Hope you print this - I think a lot of men
would benefit. Thanks for years of wonderful advice and suggestions.
Gene, via email
Gene, give your wife a Heloise hug, and one to you for sharing your
hint. For legs, I rub on a thin coat of baby oil or lotion before
getting into the shower or bath. Then I use hair shampoo or conditioner
over the oil and shave. No nicks and smooth skin.
Dear Readers: Jodi in Tennessee sent a photo of Sheeba, a Lab mix who
followed Jodi and her husband home after a walk. Sheeba was just a puppy
when she trotted up the hill to let them know she had picked them! Visit
www.Heloise.com and click on Pets.
Reuse and recycle
Dear Heloise: I buy large bags of dry dog food and wild birdseed. To
make a small tarp, I cut the tops and bottoms off, then split them down
one side. If larger is needed, I lay several down and tape them
together. Tarps are expensive, and I have to buy dog food anyway.
Martha C. in Virginia
Sheet Frustrates Me!
April 23, 2015
Dear Readers: This week’s SOUND OFF is about too-short sheets:
“I am frustrated about bedsheet manufacturers selling top-of-the-line
linens. They made accommodations for thicker mattresses. For that I am
grateful. However, they have not added inches to the top sheet to make
it long enough to tuck under the mattress at the foot of the bed.
“I use a satin pillowcase, so I have resorted to cutting up the
pillowcases that come with the sheets and sewing them to the bottom of
the top sheet. We want longer top sheets!” - E.S., via email
Stop! Don’t cut up a perfectly good pillowcase. I’ve done the same, but
I just use an “odd” sheet. No one sees the bottom part except me. This
is a good hint, too, for folks who are extra-tall and want more sheet. -
Dear Readers: Other uses for fish tanks:
Make into a terrarium.
Use for very small animals.
As a planter.
Make a “fake”terrarium.
As a storage container.
Dear Heloise: I have a number of houseplants, and I have a problem with
gnats. I think they are coming from the plants. I have tried to cut back
the amount of water I put on the plants, but the gnats seem to persist.
Do you know of anything I could put in the water to discourage these
- Margaret A., Marlin, Texas
Gnats do like damp, moist soil, so even if you are cutting back on
watering, if the soil is still moist, the gnats will stay. Plus, they
are there now! Quick fix: Let the top inch or two of the soil dry in
between waterings, if you can.
Remove 2-3 inches of soil (just the top) and replace with fresh, new
To kill the gnats that are there, use a cup of tap water and mix in a
drop or two of liquid dish soap. Pour over the soil like you are
watering it, until it’s saturated. Let it sit overnight, then flush with
fresh, clean water. They should be gone! - Heloise
Dear Heloise: I enjoy reading your column in the Springfield (Ohio)
News-Sun. I read your Sound Off about not donating useless or trashed
items. I agree.
As an avid thrift shopper, I asked a volunteer about this, and her
comment was that many people purchase this type of item for yard art and
craft projects. I worry about children picking up these items and
getting scratched or cut. I ask thrift stores to have a separate area
for those items (and possibly reduced prices for damaged items). -
Deb in Springfield, Ohio
Deb, thanks for the reminder! The old saying “One man’s trash is
another’s treasure” really does ring true! They see a broken clay pot, I
see pieces for the bottom of the next plant I am repotting. - Heloise
April 14, 2015
Dear readers: Here is this week’s Sound Off, about medication packaging:
“Do you know why pharmaceuticals package tablets in cards with
individual plastic pods for each tablet? It can’t be a simpler task than
just throwing them all in one container, as before. Many consumers,
especially those with arthritic hands, may find it very bothersome to
have to push the pills out one by one.”
George C., via email
George, you are right on target! This seems to be a problem for a lot of
my readers and a continuing complaint.
am not sure why pharmaceutical companies do this, but here is a guess:
This packaging may be cheaper, but I doubt it. Probably most important
is that this packaging is harder for children to get into. Yes, and
harder for adults, too. Depending on the drug and the manufacturer, the
pharmacy may be able to tell you if it does come in a bottle rather than
the blister packs - which, by the way, give me a blister when trying to
pry out one or two pills.
Dear Readers: Other uses for socks with no match:
Use to dust blinds and furniture.
Fill with rice or beans and make into a warming pad.
As a tug toy for dogs.
Use as garden gloves in a pinch.
Cut the toe off and pull over a bandage as protection.
Dear Readers: Many of you responded to a recent Sound Off about people
bending the corners of library-book pages. You agreed that it is
disrespectful to turn down the corners, and gave your suggestions on
what to use as bookmarks. Here are just a few:
Jon P. wrote, via email: “I always use the receipt the library gives me
when I check out the book. Not only does it make a great bookmark, I am
reminded when the book is due.”
Chuck in Santa Ana, Calif., wrote: “The ‘bookmark’ I use primarily is a
small sticky note. It sticks to the page, with no damage to the paper.”
Toby in Port St. Lucie, Fla., wrote: “I’ve discovered the very best
bookmark: a paper clip. It not only marks the page in your book, but
also your place on the page. Another excellent side effect is that
should you drop the book, the paper clip will stay in place, as opposed
to a piece of paper.”
Thanks for all the great suggestions!
Dear Heloise: When I use a public restroom, many times the toilet paper
is in a large, circular container. Most of the time the paper is not
extended out to reach, so one has to guess where it is. It is
frustrating trying to find the end. Here is what I do: I leave a bit
hanging down so the next person will find the beginning of the paper and
will not have to search!
Joy H., Webster, S.D.