Useful tips

DEAR READERS: When bringing a new flat screen TV into your home, the screen should be handled with care when cleaning. Read the manufacturer’s manual to find out how you should clean and care for it. Some screens have an anti-reflective coating which could be damaged by certain cleaners.

Before you start cleaning, unplug the TV. Wipe the screen with just a soft, clean lint-free cloth, and do it lightly, as strong pressure could damage the surface. Never spray cleaner directly on the screen. Also remove dust from the back of the TV.

DEAR READERS: Statistics show that many emergencies occur in our homes. This includes heart attacks, dog bites, slips or falls, as well as floods, fires, and electrical and gas problems. It is a good idea to discuss these situations with family members so they know what to do in an emergency. First, call 911! Here are some other helpful tips:

View the phone numbers of doctors, vets, hospitals, firefighters, plumbers and the gas company, as well as key family contacts, in the kitchen, or program them to each member’s cell phone of the family.

Put emergency guides in the kitchen that show how to do the Heimlich maneuver to help if someone is choking, and information on CPR (cardiopulmonary resuscitation) to help if a person stops breathing, or what do if your pet is choking.

DEAR READERS: Every time we cut onions, our eyes tear up and we cry. Here is why this is happening. When you cut an onion, it releases a chemical irritant. When it comes into contact with your eyes, the glands release tears. To avoid this, follow these steps.

Store the onions in the refrigerator for a few days or put them in the freezer for about 30 minutes before slicing. When onions are cold, they are less likely to cause tears.

Or you can hold a piece of bread between your front teeth when cutting onions. This will make you breathe through your mouth rather than your nose.

DEAR HELOISE: When we downsized, we invited all of our friends and family to a house party around wine and cheese. There was a catch: instead of bringing a present, like a housewarming, they had to take a “gift” that they had chosen from the household and beautiful items that we could not take with us in our new. House. We didn’t care whether they gave it away or kept it. They just had to take at least one “gift” with them. It was a blast (lots of memories and laughs) and a complete success. It was a lot easier and a lot more fun than trying to have a garage sale. To this day, I go to my friends, and they still use or display our “freebies”. It warms my heart.

– Dabney Cortina, by email

DEAR READER: This is such a smart, entertaining, and awesome way to make it easy to get around.

DEAR HELOISE: My husband and I are elderly people, and we follow technology quite well – laptops, cell phones, Skype, etc. The only problem is that our children and grandchildren give us so many digital and tech products that we don’t. want or don’t need. Setting up all of these things takes time, and often they aren’t very user-friendly. We really don’t need a digital can opener or an E-dog! Can you also mention it while on vacation? Thank you so much.

– Laura W., California

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

[email protected]

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