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Dear Heloise: My husband wants to go on a CRUISE SHIP next year, but it sounds boring to me. What do people do on a ship besides eat and stare at the water? -- Kelsey H., Scottsbluff, Neb.

Kelsey, there's usually a lot to entertain you on a cruise. You'll dock at various ports with enough time to do some exploring and maybe taste the local foods. You can get a massage, pedicure and manicure, go for a swim if they have a pool, or go dancing with your husband. Many cruise lines have art galleries or offer seminars and classes that are fun to take. Consult with a travel agent who can explain all the options available on each cruise line. -- Heloise

BEFORE YOU GO ON VACATION

Dear Heloise: As a professional pet sitter, I have some advice for people who are leaving for a few (or several) days. Your pets will be OK if you remember the following commonsense things to do:

* If your pet is on medication, write out when and how the medication is to be taken. Make sure there is enough for the whole time you're gone.

* Write out instructions on when to walk a dog or whether or not your cat is allowed outside. We'll need a summary of your pet's schedule, likes and dislikes, favorite toys and foods it cannot have. Make absolutely sure you have more than enough food and kitty litter on hand.

* Leave all emergency telephone numbers taped to the front of your refrigerator. This includes your veterinarian's contact info, and how to contact you should there be a need to get hold of you.

* NEVER lock a pet in a garage, house or yard and think that by pouring some food in a bowl it's enough and you don't need to do anything else. When you return from your trip, you could be facing a charge of animal abuse. Several states now require animal abusers to register and pay a stiff fine.

* Ensure that your dog, cat or other animals have up-to-date vaccinations.

-- Mandy in Texas

EXTRA CLOTHING

Dear Heloise: I lost 80 pounds and would like to donate my former wardrobe to someone who could use these expensive items. Do you have a recommendation? -- Lacy T., Hazlehurst, Miss.

Lacy, the list is endless: A battered women's shelter, Salvation Army and Goodwill, to name a few. You might also call a local church and ask for recommendations. -- Heloise

HANDYMAN

Dear Heloise: Where can I find a handyman who won't cheat me? I've had bad experiences in the past. -- Bella A., Yakima, Wash.

Bella, look online, or ask your friends. You also can check with real estate agents, as they usually know lots of men and women who can do anything, and often for a reduced fee. -- Heloise

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