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Helpful Hints

by Heloise | April 5, 2021 at 1:46 a.m.

DEAR HELOISE: When I go to a drive-thru at a fast food restaurant and order in the speaker, the people talk so fast and muffled that I cannot understand them. I wish they'd please slow down and speak clearly.

-- Sandra K., Sugarloaf, Pa.

DEAR READER: I have to agree with you. I know there are times when fast food places are very busy, but speaking too fast means you have to ask them to repeat what they said, sometime two or three times. It's important that they speak slowly so you know if they understood your food order correctly.

DEAR READERS: Need to dust some tiny or complicated areas? Try this: Use a small paintbrush to clean:

• Ornate picture frames

• Keyboards

• Lampshades

• Louvered doors

• Figurines

• Fancy moldings

DEAR HELOISE: One evening my husband and I were home, and we spent time going through boxes of old photographs that we had accumulated over the years. We then mailed to family and friends photos in which they or their family members played a prominent part. We included where, when and why the photo was taken. While this was a lovely trip down memory lane, we heard back from those who received the photos and reconnections were made with those with whom we had lost touch because our lives had taken us in different directions. It made us appreciate the importance of staying in touch. I share this story with you and your readers because they may want to embark on a similar journey. Remember, it's always better to say, "I'm glad I did," instead of "I wish I had."

-- Barbara M., Freehold, N.J.

DEAR READER: I'm sure everyone appreciated the photos and the memories that went with them. We get busy with our lives and forget how important friends and family can be, especially those who have known us the longest. Thank you for your lovely letter.

DEAR HELOISE: Plumbers are expensive. So, if you have lost something in the sink drain because there wasn't a stopper in the sink, here is a hint you might try. The lost item is likely in the P-trap.

If you have a powerful wet or dry shop vacuum, you might be able to vacuum the lost item out of the drain. Be sure to remove the filter from the vacuum and clean the container. You don't want to be searching for the lost item in a bunch of trash. Then simply put the nozzle onto the sink drain. Voila! If, for any reason, it doesn't work, it only cost you a little time.

-- Rex K., Colorado Springs, Colo.

DEAR HELOISE: I recently discovered my beautiful dog is allergic to flea saliva. Thank goodness there is a pill for this, and it has saved her countless days of scratching herself raw. To pet owners, this is flea and tick season, and it's going to last through the first frost of fall. If your dog keeps scratching, see if they need flea protection.

-- Tracy A., Placerville, Calif.

Send a money- or time-saving hint to Heloise, P.O. Box 795001, San Antonio, Texas 78279-5000; fax to (210) 435-6473; or email

[email protected]

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