DEAR HELOISE: My husband and I put in a lap pool in our yard so that we could swim laps and exercise. We have never invited the neighborhood children to use the pool, and we have "no trespassing" signs up on our fence. Our yard has a privacy fence all around it.
On more than one occasion, I've come home to find neighborhood kids in our lap pool. I sent out a notice to all of the families in the neighborhood asking them to have a talk with their children about respecting our "no trespassing" sign. It's not that we hate children; it's because I worry about accidents and fatalities, especially when we're not there.
It didn't do any good. The neighbors said it was our fault for putting in a pool, calling it "an attractive nuisance." One of the parents said it was a way to entertain her kids while she took an afternoon nap! We never offered to babysit her children or invited them into our yard. Another neighbor said she "couldn't be expected to watch her kids all the time."
So, this weekend, we filled in the pool with dirt. My husband said it was just a lawsuit waiting to happen. I think he was right.
Whatever happened to parents taking steps to discipline their kids? Doesn't anyone respect private property anymore? And if a parent doesn't want to take care of their children, why do they have them? I know parenting is often a difficult task, but it's not my job to watch over someone else's child.
What do other pool owners do in situations like this?
-- Anonymous, in Florida
DEAR READERS: A question has been placed before us. If you own a pool, what do you do if children or adults invite themselves into your yard and pool?
I had one neighbor who had her lawyer send out letters to everyone on her block, threatening legal action if they caught their children in their pool uninvited. She felt like she had no other choice after she found spray painted graffiti all around her pool area.
DEAR READERS: While we applaud composting, there are some things you should never include in your composting materials:
Weeds and seeds
Meat, fish and eggshell scraps
Grease or oil
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