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DEAR HELOISE: The answering machine and caller ID are great inventions. I was surprised this week to get several calls from my own phone number, and one call even used my name as it appears in our local phone directory. How stupid do the scammers think I am? If someone calls and doesn’t say anything on the answering machine and I don’t recognize the number, I don’t answer the call.

Thank you for a great column.

— Dee in

Churubusco, Ind.

DEAR READER :

You’re smart to NOT call them back. Once scammers have your phone number locked in, they can use it to place calls all over the world. By the way, I once had a call, on my caller ID, from the number of a friend who had been dead three years.

DEAR HELOISE: Here are a couple of worthy hints:

  1. For my baby granddaughter, I mash a banana and put it in the freezer for a while. She loves it. It tastes like ice cream.

  2. To remove the glue behind a price sticker, cover with mayonnaise, leave for a few minutes and then wipe off.

— Martha K., in Texas

DEAR HELOISE: This past summer, my husband and I went to Europe on a trip. Our travel agent told us to blend in, never flash money, dress inconspicuously and look over maps while people weren’t watching us. Apparently, tourists are targets for vandals. One couple in our group didn’t listen and were robbed. She wore flashy jewelry; he carried a large roll of money. They were loud, demanding and constantly comparing the places they’d been with America. If a travel agent gives you ideas on what NOT to do, it pays to listen.

— Diane H., Bixby, Okla.

DEAR HELOISE: As a wedding planner, I’ve discovered some of the major things people grumble about at weddings:

Cash bars. Guests often complain when they have to pay for a drink. However, mixed cocktails are expensive, so many couples will have coffee, punch, wine or beer.

Destination weddings. This is understandable. It’s as if you’re saying, “Send us a gift but don’t come to the wedding.”

Long speeches at toasts. Keep it simple and brief. Don’t embarrass the bride or groom with tales of former lovers.

Unclear invitation. Are you single? Should you come alone? Single people want to bring a guest with them, so be sure your invitation states “Plus One.”

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

Heloise@Heloise.com

Print Headline: HELPFUL HINTS

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