Useful tips


DEAR HELOISE: I do home repairs all the time because that’s my job. And I have a few clues that could save someone from a trip to the ER or their house burning down.

A ladder is one of the best tools you can own, and potentially one of the most dangerous. Just be sure to read ALL the instructions that come with it for weight and height limits. Please don’t think standing in a chair is safe, because it’s not. There are many types of ladders, so choose the one you need for your home. Use a fiberglass ladder when working around electricity.

Use both hands when climbing a ladder and use a belt or bucket to store your tools. If using a bucket, tie a rope to the handle and hoist it up after you reach the top or have someone reach out to you. your tools according to your needs.

Know your limits! I cannot stress this enough. Usually, plumbing and electrical work is best left to the professionals.

Whenever working around a power saw, use extreme caution. Be careful and never work with a power saw when you are tired. Errors occur. Don’t let one of your fingers or a hand be one of those mistakes.

–Lance W., Orem, Utah

DEAR HELOISE: Recently, while my husband and I were in Amish country, we saw people trying to take pictures of Amish who repeatedly asked them not to take their picture. Yet these rude people kept trying to get them to pose. The Amish would place their hands over their face or lower their eyes to avoid a picture being taken. It’s no wonder Americans are seen as rude and disrespectful in other countries. If someone says “No photos, please”, why can’t tourists just step back?

— Lacey A., Lancaster, Pa.

DEAR READER: I agree with you. Taking pictures of others is terribly rude if you are asked not to take their picture. The Amish think it’s pointless and pointless, and it’s part of their religion to avoid taking pictures. So if you are traveling through Amish country, please respect their wishes on this and other customs.

DEAR HELOISE: I have one rule of thumb that I follow, and it has served me well for many years. I only use my credit card for emergencies. I refund the purchase and I will not use it again until this purchase is refunded. A handbag on sale or a trip is not an emergency. A pair of shoes might be on sale, but I’m doing just fine before the sale, so common sense tells me I can’t have them if my card has a balance greater than zero. The day will come when you will have something serious to pay and you will have to put this expense on a card. If your credit score is bad, your credit card company won’t help you. So keep credit cards for emergencies only, and this card will be there to help you in a serious situation.

— Lois T., Henderson, Nev.

Send a tip to save time or money to Heloise, PO Box 795001, San Antonio, Texas 78279-5000; fax to (210) 435-6473; or email

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