Reader gives the ‘stamp’ of approval


Dear Readers: Today’s SOUND ON is about a U.S. Postal Service worker, Kevin Kennedy: “Dear Heloise: We have a co-worker, Kevin Kennedy, who’s retiring with 40 years of service from the U.S. Postal Service. Kevin takes his breaks in my office and reads your column out loud so all of us in the office can hear. Kevin also has cut out some of our favorite hints and hung them on the board, and we just love your column.” — Sandy V., via email

Hugs and happy retirement! — Heloise


Dear Readers: Ever wonder what to do with those empty, amber pill bottles you get from your pharmacy? First, remove the labels with your personal information, and wash them thoroughly. After they dry, you can use them in a number of ways:

* They’re handy to keep in your car to store change for tolls or parking garages.

* They can hold toothpicks and dental floss for those times when you can’t rush home to remove something stuck in your teeth.

* Cat toy: Place a small rock or bell inside and secure the cap with glue. The pill bottle makes enough noise to entertain a cat, and easily can roll across the floor.

* Drill a few holes in the bottom of the container, then spray a cotton ball with perfume and place in a drawer to keep everything smelling nice.

* Store salt and pepper packets for brown-bag lunches.

— Heloise


Dear Heloise: I will sometimes fall asleep with my arms raised over my head, which causes my arms and hands to fall asleep. When I mentioned this to my mother, she told me to gently rock my head from side to side, and this would quickly restore feeling in my arms and hands. It works. As long as the numbness isn’t caused by something serious, it should work every time. If the numbness is prolonged or recurring, you need to see a physician. — Susan H., Kokomo, Ind.


Dear Heloise: I teach at a college level, and I’ve noticed that so many students turn in papers that haven’t been proofread, the content isn’t cohesive, and spellcheck must have been turned off. I have some suggestions for your college (and high school) students to help them improve their essays:

* Use spellcheck.

* Print your essay and manually go over it slowly and carefully.

* Ask yourself if it’s easy to read and understand.

* Review the introduction — this sets the tone of your essay.

* Check each paragraph. Eliminate irrelevant words and statements. Each idea must smoothly transition to the next.

* Check the conclusion to make sure it’s polished to the best of your ability.

* Read your essay aloud. You’ll discover better ways to express an idea.

* Follow the requirements and rules of the assignment. Abide by the word count.

* Fact-check — I can’t stress this enough.

— Ann W. in Denver


Dear Readers: A springtime Saturday is the perfect time to check out your PLUMBING MECHANISMS:

Tighten loose connections to the washing machine, and check the hoses for signs of wear, like cracks and leakage. The washer tends to get used more in the summer, especially with a busy family, so prevention is a good practice. Every three years is a good interval for replacement of hoses.

Next, be careful about what goes down the garbage disposal. Thick summery food waste, like corncobs and husks, watermelon rinds and banana peels, most likely will overtax your disposal. Place these items in your compost pile. Run plenty of cold water with whatever items you do send through the disposal.

You always can call your plumber to come and inspect your sewer lines. Inquire about trees that are close to the house during the inspection. Root growth can be a problem. — Heloise


Dear Readers: Betty in Austin, Texas, sent pictures of her furry-for-sure golden long-haired cat, Patrick, before and after a trim! He looks like a different fellow!

Do you have a funny and furry friend (in need of a trip to the groomer or not) you’d like to share? Email Heloise(at) — Heloise


Dear Heloise: Choke chains are terrible for dogs. You cannot train a dog using fear and intimidation. Also, the chain can catch on carpet and furniture indoors, and on tree branches and other things in the yard. I don’t know why these horrible things were ever designed!

If you are training your dog, it is best to use reassurance, encouragement and positive reinforcement. Do you think I’ve made myself clear on how I feel about this subject? Thanks for your column. — Mary S., Hammond, Ind.

Mary, great information. Yes, choke chains should be avoided. — Heloise


Dear Heloise: Unfortunately, I broke my ceramic spoon rest. I tried to glue it back together with ordinary white household glue. It fell apart. I decided to use transparent tape after I reglued it. I set it overnight, and then removed the tape. It has held together, and still does! I thought that might be helpful to your readers. — Patricia T. in Wildwood, FL


Dear Heloise: I just had a loved one pass away, and I received many cards with money in them.

One thing that I had never heard of before was that several cards had a book of stamps for the thank-you cards.

This is a great idea. Next time, instead of money or flowers, I will send a book of stamps with my card. — Rae T., Omaha, Neb.

My condolences on your loss. — Heloise

EDITOR’S NOTE: Send your great money-saving or timesaving hint to to Heloise at P.O. Box 795000, San Antonio, TX 78279-5000, Fax to 1-210-HELOISE, or email to She can’t answer your letter personally but will use the best hints received in her column.