DEAR HELOISE: Just like Dorothy W. in Scottsdale, I, too, have been disappointed that I never receive a thank-you from any of my eight grandsons for Christmas or birthday gifts. My mother was a stickler about that social grace, and my three kids were constantly reminded of that as they were growing up. But it seems they haven’t have passed it on to their kids.
So, I think I have solved the problem: With the first grandson’s birthday of this year, along with the usual birthday card and small check, I included a self-addressed, stamped envelope with a blank thank-you card enclosed. And it worked! Last week we got the card back with a sweet handwritten thank-you from my grandson. I have just sent the second grandson’s birthday card with the same thank-you card included. We look forward to another confirmation that our idea is working. I will continue this “hint” for the remaining grandsons for this year. Hopefully they will get the message for all future gifts!
— Lanny West, Northridge, California
Numbering boxes when moving
DEAR HELOISE: I have another suggestion for the reader who wrote in about numbering boxes numerically when moving. To this I would add to number the boxes “1 of 20,” “2 of 20,” etc., so you’ll know how many boxes there are and if they are all there. If you just put one number on the box, the last one might go missing and you’d never know it. In fact, I use this numbering system anytime I number the items in a group.
I read your column in your hometown paper, the San Antonio Express-News.
— Evelyn Cooper, via email
Evelyn, so many of you have sent in a wide variety of helpful hints when moving, a situation that most of us have experienced. I know my readers will be using your suggestions.
Re-using bath towels
I just read the article about reusing bath towels in the Home and Garden section. It is a pet peeve of mine, going into someone’s bathroom and playing Russian roulette with their used bath towel. I just dry my hands on my clothes.
I am a retired registered nurse. Dead skin cells aren’t the problem. It is fungus, live bacteria, E. coli and other organisms that are the problem.
If you must reuse a washcloth or bath towel, do yourself and anyone else using your bathroom a favor and hang them out in the sun to be sanitized. And for goodness sake, provide a hand towel.
— Carol R., via email
Carol, when expecting guests, put a stack of large paper napkins or hand towels by the sink, too.
DEAR HELOISE: My husband put some cut up lemons in our portable humidifier, hoping to put the aroma of lemon in the air. The air did not smell like lemons, but when he changed the water, he discovered the lemon thoroughly cleaned the sediment and crud that collects in our humidifier due to our well water.
And after I’ve used a lemon for cooking, I will turn the lemon half inside out and use it to clean my glass coffee pot. The lemon easily removes coffee stains without much effort.
— Paula Kay, via email
Paula, if you have plastic laminate countertops, never use abrasive cleaners on them because they will scratch and remove the finish. If stains happen, squeeze fresh lemon juice over them. Let the juice soak for about 45 minutes. Then sprinkle baking soda over the lemon juice and rub with a soft cloth.