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Dear Heloise: You never know who has touched the TV remote in a hotel/motel room, so I take the sanitary wrap from the drinking glasses, turn it inside out and use it to cover the remote for the TV when we travel. 

Alarm goes off!

Dear Heloise: At Christmastime, I bought a leather strip that had sleigh bells attached, and I've hung it on the inside of my front door all year long. It's an inexpensive alarm system during the day to let me know when someone has walked into the house. -- Minnie J., Great Falls, Montana

Hummingbird reminder

Dear Heloise: With the coming warm weather, a lot of people will be setting out their hummingbird feeders in sunny spots or on shepherd's crooks. Please use a shady spot instead. The hummingbird feeder gets too hot for the birds to drink the solution if it sits all day in the sun. -- Cliffton D., Tyler, Texas

My special mark

Dear Heloise: I make sure that all of my appliances have my initials on them somewhere to make certain I get them back and don't accidentally get someone else's appliance. I have a carpet steam cleaner that I took in for repairs, and they tried to give me the wrong steam cleaner when I went to pick it up. I use red nail polish, and with the applicator brush I put "N.H." on my items. -- Nancy H., Callaway, Florida

Stop a moocher

Dear Heloise: I would like to make a suggestion to the woman whose sister brought her kids over for a play date and expected to be taken out to lunch -- plus the kids -- and not pay a dime for anything: Eat at home! When Sis calls to set up a play date, just say: "I thought it would be fun for all of us to eat here. I'll make (xxx). Can you bring (xxx)?" You can have a healthy and thrifty meal. Never take Sis out for lunch, and if she suggests it, tell her it's her turn to pick up the tab. -- Jean in Spokane, Washingon

Travel hint

Dear Heloise: Please let your readers know that if they are on a road trip, they should check for the speed limit as soon as they cross a state line. Each state has its own laws about speed limits, so it might be wise to slow down once you cross from one state to another until you see a speed limit sign. I found this out the hard way by getting a speeding ticket. -- Doug B., Derry, New Hampshire

Letter of laughter

Dear Heloise: My neighbor wanted to make sure her children used good manners, so she told them to never address me as "Naomi," but rather as "Miss Naomi." However, she forgot to tell them how to address my husband, so from that day on, they always referred to him as "Miss Naomi's Man." -- Naomi J., Olathe, Kansas


Dear Heloise: I am almost elderly, so the eyes and the hands are trying to retire. When I needed to put hooks and eyes on a garment, they would slide, and I would have to hold them with a pin. Then I thought "clear tape"!

It works perfectly, holds the hook, then comes off the fabric cleanly -- same with the eye!

Thank you, and your mother before you, for all the hints you have given me. -- Lynn C., Madison, Alabama

Snack time

Dear Heloise: My wife and I enjoy sliced apples as a snack. After using an apple corer/ slicer, there often is a bit of core or tough apple left at the apex of the slices. I have found the curved tip of a grapefruit knife effective in carving out the unwanted crescent of apple flesh. Bon appetit! -- Elery C., Rockville, Maryland

No ashtrays

Dear Heloise: There are no ashtrays in my home. They remind me of my mother's suffering from emphysema. There are plenty of small dishes that could be used instead. -- Marsha M., via email

Marsha, yes, and there are other things you can use in place of an ashtray for visitors who smoke: flat seashells, baby-food jars and shallow pet food cans, to name a few. -- Heloise

Lesson learned

Dear Heloise: Please tell your readers to wash all of their makeup brushes and applicators at least once a week! I learned this the hard way by being careless about cleaning my makeup tools and brushes, and ended up with a terrible skin infection. It's cost me a considerable amount of money to clear up, and left my skin looking rough and scarred. -- Maddy H., Camp Hill, Pennsylvania

Tons of trophies

Dear Heloise: My ex-husband left 42 trophies behind when he moved out, and I'd like to get rid of them. Can anyone else use these items? -- Tiffany M., Fort Wayne, Indiana

Tiffany, yes, try the Salvation Army, or possibly, if they are in good shape, remove the nameplates and ask if a local high school could use them. There also are athletic organizations that might be interested, such as the Junior League or a bowling team. -- Heloise

Get back

Dear Heloise: At work last week, I lost the back to my earring. I have pierced ears, and the earrings I had on were some of my favorites. I took a pencil with an eraser on the end, cut off the eraser part and used it as an earring back. Worked like a charm! -- Corky W., Fort Myers, Florida

Ideal mix

Dear Readers: You may be hearing about so-called summer blend gasoline, which refineries are switching to around this time of year. Why the switch?

Summer blend gas, simply put, won't evaporate as easily in hotter weather, and your car will perform more efficiently.

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The price of summer blend gas is a little bit higher, but there still are some ways to save while driving:

  • Don't carry around a lot of excess stuff that you don't use or need. Empty out the trunk.
  • Make sure your tires are properly inflated.
  • Ensure that your car is properly tuned up, and that you are using the proper oil.

These hints, along with the summer blend gasoline, will help you save money, and your car should perform better. -- Heloise

Eye exam

Dear Heloise: Please remind your readers that a yearly visit to the eye doctor can find early symptoms of diabetes, cardiovascular disease, etc.

I had an amazing experience at our local optometry school's eye clinic. I made an appointment, was seen in the most up-to-date facility by optometry interns, and then had a follow-up by the attending optometrist. What a great hidden treasure! -- Susan in Long Beach

Training colleges are good resources for everything from hair cutting and cosmetic treatments to health and dental care. The students are supervised by pros. -- Heloise

Easy open

Dear Heloise: I sealed some envelopes before I had put an RSVP card in, but all I had to do was freeze the envelope, and it was easy to open, stick the card in and reseal. -- Tiffany D. in North Carolina

This will work for some envelopes. Resealing them may take a bit of glue. -- Heloise

A nose no-no

Dear Heloise: Recently, while in line at a cafeteria, I noticed a woman pick up a piece of pie, hold it to her nose and sniff, then return it to the counter. Needless to say, I was stunned.

Please remind folks that such behavior poses a serious health hazard during flu season. -- Leslie A. in Texas

Cloudy glasses

Dear Heloise: We had cloudy drinking glasses, and a friend asked if I used powdered dishwasher detergent. When I told her I did, she suggested switching to liquid detergent or the pods. Presto! My glasses came out clear as can be. -- Joan S., Hallowell, Maine

Laughing here

Dear Heloise: Why do folks answer the phone only to tell me they can't talk right now? Obviously, you can talk, or you wouldn't have answered the phone! -- Mindy T. in Los Angeles

Send a great hint to: Heloise, P.O. Box 795000, San Antonio TX 78279-5000; fax: 1-210-HELOISE; email: