Dear Heloise: I enjoy all your articles, and I was fortunate to hear you speak in Beaumont, Texas, a few years ago. A car travel tip I have is to check the Department of Transportation for the states you will be driving through to find out if there are detours around road construction, etc. It's also a good idea to have a state map for where you're traveling in case you have to detour from your main route. Linda Land, via e-mail
Linda, I truly enjoyed my time in Beaumont speaking on behalf of the American Heart Association, sharing heart-healthy hints and humor.
Thanks for the reminder about this extremely useful resource. Check for road closures or construction where a detour might be necessary at www.fhwa.dot.gov/trafficinfo, or dial 511 to get current information on local traffic and weather for the state you're in. The 511 phone service isn't available in all states -- check the above Web site for more information. Travel safe, be prepared and be aware. Heloise
Dear Heloise: I like to use 32-gallon plastic trash cans with lock-down lids to pack those items I would definitely want to take in the event that I had to evacuate for a hurricane.
I keep several of these handy, and if a hurricane is beginning to move in our hometown's direction, I pack up our photo albums, disc copies of all my albums on our computer, some clothes, jewelry, keepsake and irreplaceable items, financial papers and anything else that would be hard or impossible to replace.
After being threatened by several hurricanes last year, I am prepared this season. A Reader in Florida
Dear Heloise: My husband and I use our two-sided countertop grill frequently. However, we dislike cleaning it. We have an original model that doesn't go in the dishwasher.
After removing food from the grill, I take a damp paper towel and put it on the grill while it is still hot, close the lid and let it sit while we are eating. The cooked-on food comes off easily even after the grill has cooled. It's a real timesaver for me. Karen Tjelmeland, Ely, Iowa
Be sure the grill is turned off, or you will have a real problem! Heloise
Dear Heloise: I have a terrible time reading my alarm clock at night, but the answer came on a visit to my daughter's. My grandson had an alarm clock that projected the time onto the ceiling.
Now I have one that is an atomic clock and resets itself all the time -- you only choose your time zone. It even adjusts for daylight-saving time. I thought this would be a great service to everyone with poor eyesight, or for the elderly. Hope you can use it in your column. Betty Lanzendorfer, Belgrade, Mont.
Dear Heloise: If you are hesitant to hide your spare house or apartment key outside, switch keys with a close neighbor -- i.e., place your key under the neighbor's doormat and vice versa. An intruder discovering "your" hidden key will find that it does not open your lock. Mary, via e-mail
XSend a money-saving or timesaving hint to Heloise, P.O. Box 795000, San Antonio, TX 78279-5000, or you can fax it to (210) HELOISE or e-mail it to Heloise@Heloise.com.
King Features Syndicate