Letters to the Editor: Stick Vac, Travel Tips, Cleaning “Juice,” Garbage Disposals and Sweet Peas

One of the great joys of writing is receiving letters to the editor. Not surprisingly, responses to what I write vary greatly, which I find gratifying. That means your’e reading and thinking. And from time to time I find myself re-thinking in response to what you write. I hope you find this selection of recent letters both interesting and thought-provoking.

Best Inexpensive Stick Vacuum—Finally!

I’m a happy user of the Eufy Cordless HomeVac you recommended. I love it—especially as we have a cat who tracks litter all over. This vac works for so many medium and lightweight uses (toast crumbs, scattered litter, dirt tracked in, for a fast buzz around the dining table, etc). In fact, we have hardwood floors and use this vacuum 90% of the time. It is so lightweight and portable compared to our heavier duty vacuum. Also, I’m amazed how long the charge lasts. When it is charged up and not used for even a week, it still maintains its full charge and is ready to go. Definitely a winner! Joyce

Comments to Travel Tips, Tricks and Hacks

Great tips, as usual. When we travel, along with the Do Not Disturb sign on the door, we also leave the T.V. on so it seems as though someone is in the room. Cathy

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Just Hand Over the Sweet Peas and No One Gets Hurt

Confession is good for the soul, I’m told, and so I’d like to confess. I came this close to clocking the woman standing in front of me in the very crowded pick-up line at the airport last week. It’s not that she was rude or jumped in front of me or anything like that. She was holding a bouquet of fresh flowers … Sweet Peas!

It seems that she’d just returned having chaperoned an entire class of high-school students on a Spring Break trip. Amazingly, she appeared to have all of her mental faculties intact and a sweet attitude, too!  As for those flowers, a grateful parent presented them to her as a kind of welcome-home-I-still-can’t-believe-you-were-brave-enough-to-do-this kind of gift.

I don’t mind that she had flowers. But Sweet Peas? Clearly, homegrown from a garden within driving distance of my home? Not only were they beautiful, they were abundant. I mean gigantic blooms with perfect ruffles, and a bouquet so large this woman could barely get her hands around it.

I inched ever closer to her just to get a whiff of that fragrance. But I couldn’t appreciate it much for all the envy that flooded my soul. My garden should be overflowing with Sweet Peas at this very moment. It’s not. I am so angry at myself. You see, I procrastinated. I thought I had plenty of time to get my seeds into the ground for a glorious spring harvest of Sweet Peas.

But no … I had other things to do. Then it rained. I got busy. I lost my window of planting opportunity.

Saving money is a lot like planting. You need to do it early then you can sit back and relax. But unlike those of you who’ve lost your window of opportunity to save early and reap a big harvest come retirement, I’ll get another chance.

Next fall I will plant early and spring 2018 is going to yield a bumper crop of Sweet Peas like the world has never known. You just wait.

While you’ll never be able to catch up fully on what might have been if you’d started an aggressive savings program years ago, that should not stop you from starting now. Today.

Determine to put away the same amount (or more, never less) every month, week … or day. Just do it. You won’t notice much of anything in the beginning. But some time from now you’ll be reaping a bountiful harvest that’s going to make life much more enjoyable down the road.

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The Wonders of Epsom Salt

I can recall vividly—and count on one hand—the migraine headaches I’ve had in my life, all of them before age ten. Once I turned double digits, I outgrew them. Until a couple of months ago.

With no warning at all, there I was back to my 8-year-old self, flat on my back with a raging migraine. Why now, after all these years?

In reading up on the latest findings on what causes migraine headaches, I discovered how important magnesium is to overall health. Turns out that an estimated 80 percent of the U.S. population suffer from magnesium deficiency causing all kinds of health issues—one of them being migraine headaches. But  here’s the problem with that: magnesium supplements are not necessarily the answer because magnesium is not easily absorbed through our digestive tracts.

You could have knocked me over with a feather when I learned that common, ordinary Epsom salt is one of the richest sources of magnesium, which just happens to be easily absorbed through the skin—by soaking in it. In a nice warm bath!

You can be sure that Epsom salt soaks are now part of my routine to boost my magnesium and hopefully avoid migraines in the future.

Epsom salt, also known as hydrated magnesium sulfate (not to be confused with table salt, which is not at all the same thing) is plentiful, inexpensive and available at drugstores and supermarkets everywhere. And it has dozens of other practical uses and health benefits, too.

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Ask Me Anything: Dehumidifiers and Glass Stovetop Disaster

Humidity, or the lack thereof, is a popular topic this time of year. Where I live in northern Colorado, it’s dry! We have like no humidity. Well, not exactly, but it averages in the low mid-20 percent during the summer and fall months. We have a humidifier in our home and it runs 24/7 year round for health and comfort.

Recently, lots of readers have inquired about how to deal with the opposite—high humidity, which can get pretty miserable this time of year.

What is the best inexpensive home dehumidifier? 

I am confident and very happy to recommend two different high-quality machines (depending on the size of the space you have), both of which just happen to come from Frigidaire. A dehumidifier can be a godsend for those who live in high humidity areas to remove excess moisture from indoor air. Some of the most common indications that you may need a dehumidifier are: wet stains on walls and ceilings, stuffy feeling in a room, rotting wood, condensation on windows, musty smells and allergies (if the air in your home is too moist, it will encourage the growth of bacteria and mold, which are common allergens).

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Our Best Father’s Day Gift Guide Ever!

I may know what you’re thinking: Father’s Day? What! When? The answer is yes, Sun., June 18. But don’t panic. You still have more than a week to make it a great day for the Dads in your life!

If there’s one thing I know about Dads, it’s this: They like cool stuff—gadgets, electronics, powerful things. And if a gift is slightly sentimental? That’s a good thing, too.

1. Outdoor Security Camera. This 24/7 live video 130° wide-angle view and all-glass lens will let the man of the house look after home in crisp 1080p HD, day and night. It’s weatherproof and has built-in speaker and microphone. Because it is hardwired, no worries about replacing batteries. Give Dad peace of mind with this cool yet affordable state-of-the-art gadget.  About $170.

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Best Inexpensive: Skin Care Products

How shocked was I? Speechless, but somehow I gathered enough strength to respond, “There’s no way!” Even so, I did a quick search only to discover it was no typo at all. 111Skin Celestial Black Diamond Cream 1.7 oz. retails for $1,095.

All I can say is at that price, it better contain a miracle. Seriously. It almost makes Le Lift Firming Anti-Wrinkle Cream by Chanel 1.75 oz., $152 and Lancome’s Hydra Zen Neurocalm Soothing Recharging Night Cream 1.7 oz., $70 look cheap!

Okay, back to reality: High-quality and effective skincare should not be considered a luxury available only to the wealthy. If you are diligent, you can find high quality, reasonably priced skin care products that are equal, if not superior to their department store cousins—right in your drugstore or discount department store.

Cleanser. Cetaphil makes is an excellent line of affordable skin care products. For example, Cetaphil Gentle Skin Cleanser is less than $10 for 8 oz. ($19 in a 2-pack) 

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Six Reasons to Celebrate!

Celebrate? With all that’s going on in our economy, our nation—our world?  Given the challenges of the day, you may be thinking that’s the last thing you’ll be doing now, or anytime soon. If so, let me encourage you to think again. Now, of all times, we need to celebrate wherever and whenever possible.

In their book, Why Good Things Happen to Good People, authors Stephen Post and Julie Neimark tell us that celebration is one of the most important ways that we express gratitude. Celebration is gratitude in action, and celebration—like rest, seat belts, and green leafy vegetables—is good for us!

Jumping

Celebration creates joy. Feeling down in the dumps? Celebrate something or someone. The gratitude you feel as a result of celebrating others, or creation in general, will help you to be less materialistic and therefore more easily satisfied with what life brings your way. It’s a fact that gratitude actually creates joy within our souls. 

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Take the Sag Out of That Closet Rod and Other Useful Tips

Whether it’s a sagging closet rod, kale down the garbage disposal or premium fuel in the gas tank, EC readers are always anxious to share their best tips, tricks and ideas for ways to save time and  money—and avoid potential headaches!

SAG NO MORE. To fix a sagging clothes closet rod, buy a length of 1/2-inch galvanized pipe and a length of 3/4″ thin-wall PVC (plastic, polyvinyl chloride) piping, both the same length as t rod. You can get these at your local home improvement center such as Home Depot or Lowes. Remove the existing sagging rod. Now slip the pipe inside the PVC to create a new rod and slide this into the existing rod brackets. If you are bothered by the printing on the PVC, clean it off with rubbing alcohol. Bob

STICKY MESSY SAP. A cheap and safe way to remove pine tree sap from your car without damaging the finish is to rub it with a soft cloth soaked with plain 70% isopropyl (rubbing) alcohol, available at the pharmacy or drug store for a buck or two. George

SECRET INFO. When you finish refurbishing a room in your home, write down this important information on a piece of paper and tape it to the back of the switch plate: the brand and color of the paint, how much it took to paint the room and the circuit breaker number that serves this room. You’ll be happy to find the information next time. Trevor

KALE, NO!  I made a big mistake recently when I cut a bunch of kale up into smaller pieces and put it down the garbage disposal. I let it grind like crazy, followed by tons of water down after it, and still it clogged up the system in my apartment building for three floors down. It took maintenance four hours to clear it. They said, “The lettuce (it was kale) turned into something similar to glue/concrete!” Naomi

SUPER CUBE. This is a crazy simple tip, but it works for me. I love ice cold water and must have it at all times. However, at work the water is just cooled, not the icy deliciousness that I require. I solved this issue by taking a bottle of water slightly less than half full and laying it down sideways in the freezer. (We are lucky enough to have two refrigerators in our break room).  Later, I grab the frozen half bottle and fill it up with water. Voila!  Ice cold water for several hours. I just keep filling it up until its time to get out another one! Just make sure not to put too much water in the bottle, or you won’t be able to fill it with water. Laurel

STICK WITH REGULAR. Most gas stations offer Unleaded Premium for $.10 to $.12 per gallon more than Unleaded Regular. Many customers think they’re giving their car some kind of extra care or a “treat” by filling up with what they think is the best. Don’t do it. Virtually all automobiles run just fine on regular unleaded; so unless your vehicle’s owner manual specifically states that your car requires a premium grade of gas with higher octane, save your money and stick with regular. David

LEVEL PAY. What I’ve done with my electricity and heating bills, after consulting my yearly budget, is pay the same each month. Because I live on fixed income, I send each of those utility providers a flat $100 per month. This means I purposely overpay for heat in the summer when the furnace is not in use, and overpay in the winter to the electric company when I’m not running my central air conditioner. I’ve been doing this for years. No big bills in the summer for the electric, no big bills in the winter for the heat. This takes the mystery out of my budget and works for me quite well. Pam

FLIP THE PAINT. Store partially full cans of paint upside down. The paint will form an airtight seal, extending the useful life. Ted

Got a great tip you’d like to share? Use the comments below or send them HERE.

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