Stylish new clocksdecorate the home
This is definitely not your grandfather's grandfather clock -- nor your grandmother's wall clock. These are sleek, fashionable and functional new styles of floor clocks, tabletop clocks and wall clocks from Howard Miller.
More than just a timepiece, each clock was designed to be used as a decorative piece in the home. Among the column floor clocks is the Coliseum ($1,590), standing 811/2 inches high, 20 inches wide and 171/4 inches in diameter, and featuring Greek and Roman architectural references. It plays Westminster or "Ave Maria" chimes.
A contemporary wall clock, the Bergen ($99.95), measuring 35 inches in height, 12 inches side and 3 inches deep, combines a cherry merlot finish with brushed nickel accents on pendulum and bezel. The hourglass design gets an update with the tabletop clock Time and Temperature ($89.95). At 71/2 inches high, 43/4 inches wide and in diameter, this silver-finished clock with shatter-proof acrylic glass has a round, silver engraving plate for personalizing.
For more information or to find retail stores that carry Howard Miller clocks, refer to www.howardmiller.com or call (800) 873-0506.
Vacuum cleanerdesigned as backpack
Forget that you'll look like George Jetson. There could be worse things. Just keep thinking how the new VX2000 Backpack Vac will ease your vacuuming chores. The press release describes the vacuum as lightweight and explains how the 8-pound vacuum is worn like a school backpack or baby carrier and distributes the weight of the vacuum "comfortably on the hips via a padded waist belt" (if 8 pounds can qualify as comfortable).
The Backpack Vac's manufacturer, ProTeam Inc., maintains that the vacuum will clean vinyl, carpeting, tiles and hardwood floors faster and easier than cumbersome rolling vacuums. And with its long, lightweight wand, reaching corners and above-floor areas is far simpler.
The Backpack Vac retails from $399 to $499, and is available at independent vacuum dealers and specialty furniture appliance retailers. For more information, call (800) 541-1456.
Don't use plastic jugsfor long-term storage
Q. I want to use empty plastic milk jugs to store water for potential emergencies. My wife says "not a good idea" because the jugs retain milk bacteria. Assuming this is true, could one wash thoroughly, then rinse with bleach or do something else to sterilize them?
A. The Federal Emergency Management Agency discourages reusing milk jugs for storing water for the very reason your wife cited: It's just too difficult to remove all traces of milk and sterilize the containers properly. Besides, the plastic in milk jugs breaks down over time, so the containers aren't adequate for long-term storage.