Checking sandbox toys for dangerous creepy crawlies

Dear Heloise: I have learned so much worthwhile information from your column and, like most people, have more than one clipping that I have cut out and stuck to the fridge or stuffed in a drawer.
We have had a situation at our home that I thought others might benefit from knowing about. I would start by saying that we should listen to our children and grandchildren and not shrug off things they say.
Our grandson received a book on spiders. We read it to him and talked about the different kinds, which ones were OK and which ones to stay away from.
Our grandson's sandbox was outside on our back patio, and after playing, he came in and said there was a black widow in his sandbox. We all said that just because we looked at his spider book, it didn't mean he had to see spiders everywhere or that they were all black widows. Finally, I asked my husband to go out and take a look.
The sandbox is shaped like a boat, with the inside space usable as a small wading pool or a sandbox.
My husband looked and was shocked to find black widows nesting in the undersides of the trucks and other toys. He took them out, dumped the sand and turned the sandbox over to get a good look. Well, what he found on the underside was much worse. Far too many black widows to count had nested inside the walls. Apparently, they had crawled in through the drain holes in the bottom edge of the double walls and had been breeding there undisturbed for two to three years!
He used insect spray to douse the inside of the boat several times during the next few days and had an exterminator come to spray our home and everything inside and out.
Please tell others with sandboxes or pools to check for spiders inside the sandbox. Look inside the toys, especially the undersides, and everywhere else. This might save a child's life. Anette Lowery, Vista, Calif.
Yikes! Creepy-crawly "unfriendly spiders" are enough to make even a grown-up wary. Give your grandson a big Heloise hug! Heloise
Dear Heloise: My husband and I travel several times a year. I take vitamins and supplements, and organize a week's worth in a seven-day pill case. The pressure change in the airplane would cause the case to pop open, and the pills would spill out. I now cover the case with sealable plastic wrap. It peels off easily for use on the trip, but seals the case during the trip. Thia in Ohio
Dear Heloise: I read the item recently about substitutes for bread crumbs in meatloaf. I use stuffing cubes instead of bread crumbs in my meatloaf, and they add flavor. Diane, Sebastian, Fla.
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
King Features Syndicate

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