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More Hot Tips from April May

       To reduce static electricity on your television screen and computer screens, wipe them with one of those little fabric softener sheets that go in the dryer. After all, the sheets are also designed to help eliminate static cling.

       What will termites do if you play rock music to them? Answer: They double the pace at which they chew through wood. But thereís a better way than that to tell termites from flying ants. First, ants have pinched waists, but termites have abdomens that are joined to their bodies without stems. A second distinguishing characteristic is that flying ants have two sets of wings of different sizes. Termitesí wings are all about the same size. A third way to tell ants from termites is that antsí antennae have an "elbow" in the middle, while the termites have almost straight antennae. And yet another way to be sure which is which: since only the king and queen termites have wings, look around to see if there are any worker termites in the same area. Workers are light-colored, and they donít look anything like ants.

       Going out of town for more than a few days? See to these chores before you leave home: adjust the settings on your climate control system; turn the water heater to its lowest setting; unplug the TV, VCR, computer, stereo, and microwave. If your refrigerator has an energy-saver switch, use that before you go. And remember to turn off water to the washing machine. A broken hose could cause a flood that could make you sorry to come home!

       Here's a biggie: credit card interest can cost you hundreds — maybe thousands. You can spend more on fun and toys if you pay off your entire bill each month and skip those nasty interest charges. If the balance is just too big, pay as much as you can and transfer your balance to a card with a lower annual percentage rate (APR). But be watchful — some bait and switch cards start you at a low rate and boost it in just a few months. Paying an annual fee to use your card? The annual fees on a pocket full of for-pay cards can cost you $100 or more a year. Last but not least, pay on time! Interest and late payment charges are money out of your pocket with nothing to show for it!

Good tips for great grilling!

  1. Preheat the for 10 to 15 minutes with the lid down and the burners set on high.
  2. Scrape hot grates clean with a grill brush.
  3. For most cooking, set burners to high or medium-high for proper searing.
  4. Close the lid of the grill to concentrate heat.
  5. Use highest heat to sear those good thick steaks and burgers, then turn down the heat to finish cooking.
  6. Don't just guess when the food is done. Stick a quick-read thermometer into the sides of steaks and chops or into the thickest section of burgers and chicken parts.
  7. Call family and friends to the table, and then — YUM! Time to eat!

       At last! A way to sidestep the problem of mailing to people on the move: If you are addressing a package or letter to the old address, use the new address as the return. If they've already moved, they'll get it by return mail, and the delay of remailing is more than cut in half!

       Is there a bottle of ancient aspirin in your medicine cabinet? If it smells like vinegar or crumbles easily — time to toss it out.

       A safety tip out of the Health Gazette Newsletter. If you're out in the open during a thunderstorm and your hair begins standing on end or your skin starts tingling, you could be in danger of being struck by lightening within a second or two.Strikes usually seek metal objects and go for the tallest object on the horizon (think "lightning rod"), so drop any metal objects such as umbrellas, golf clubs, etc., and lower your profile — stoop down, staying on the balls of your feet, and lower your head.

       Dentists warn that starchy snacks can be as bad for your teeth as candy. The remains of sticky caramels stay on your teeth for less than two minutes — but crackers can last up to five minutes!

       If your car bounces three or more times when you cross a dip in the road or when you stop suddenly, your shock absorbers may need attention. Another sign -- when the car leans or sways when you change lanes quickly or take a tight curve. Worn shocks or struts can affect steering and even cause the car to brake less efficiently.

Stressbusters:

  1. a spare car key in your wallet,
  2. an extra house key in an accessible spot,
  3. a spare car key ditto,
  4. roll of stamps.
  5. Make lists of things you must do.
  6. And keep up your appointment calendar.
Read Marcus Aurelius . . . remember that "our life is what our thoughts make it" (Yes. It is available here!)

       Halogen lamps are such hotties that they can cause fires. For that reason, all halogen floor lamps must now be shielded by a wire or glass guard over the bulb, says the Consumer Product Safety Commission. If you already own a halogen lamp with an unshielded bulb, you can get information about receiving a free guard to fit it by calling 800-985-2220.

        To be covered by the Fair Credit Billing Act, contested credit card bills must be reported in writing within 60 days of the postmark on your statement. Keep copies of what you send. While your claim is being investigated, you donít have to pay the disputed portion of the bill ó but you do need to pay the rest of the charges. During the wait, however, the charge is not a delinquent debt.

       Don't eat the bulbs! They look a lot like onions, but most flowering bulbs are toxic -- some violently so. So keep daffodils, jonquils, narcissus, tulips, and other bulbs out of the reach of children, and never store them in or near the kitchen!

        Disposable diapers or cloth diapers? Consumers Union notes that disposables cost parents between $1,500 and $2,100 a year, so buying (and laundering) cloth diapers is less expensive. But disposables do a better job of keeping babies dry, and they are less likely to spread germs. And each type has about the same impact on the environment. So take your pick.


      OK, that's really all, folks! Unless you want to read the EXCEEDINGLY OLD Tips.


A.M.

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