Dear Heloise: I recently bought a new large-capacity washing machine. I was very disappointed to find that I cannot reach small items at the bottom of the washer. Plus, I have a bad back. So, I went to a pet store and bought a "pooper-scooper" for dogs. It is a one-handed spring-action claw. It works great to reach those items at the bottom of the washer. This has made my life so much easier. -- Debbie H., Springfield, Mo.
Send a great hint to:
P.O. Box 795000
San Antonio, TX 78279-5000
Dear Heloise: My husband and I got married three weeks ago. After pricing weddings, gowns, reception expenses, flowers and more, we decided to elope. We married in Houston, and that afternoon we flew to Maui, Hawaii, for a seven-day honeymoon. When we got back, we had a party to let everyone know we'd gotten married, and sent out notices to relatives to inform them of our marriage. Unless someone really needs a big wedding, it's less expensive and much more romantic to elope. By eloping, we saved $20,000 that we'll put down on a cute little house we've found. -- Meg and Brian R. in Houston.
And readers, here's another letter about weddings that was received the same day as the one above.
Dear Heloise: I spent an exorbitant amount of money on a beautiful wedding dress for my wedding last fall. We spent thousands on flowers, and the reception cost a fortune. Now I wish I had eloped. The cost of this wedding has prevented us from taking a vacation or buying a house. My parents helped us, but we took the responsibility of most of the debt. My expensive dream wedding is now a nightmare! -- Julie in Michigan
Dear Heloise: I read your column in The Free Lance-Star here in Virginia and liked the tea-light idea for traveling. But it occurred to me that if you always kept your night light in your toiletry kit when you travel, you'd probably never lose it.
Night lights are now available with LED lights, which would eliminate the possibility of the bulb breaking in transit. -- Matthew A., Locust Grove, Va.
Dear Heloise: Often I'll find an interesting story about someone or an event, and instead of saving the whole newspaper or magazine, I'll remove just the pages with the article I enjoy, staple it together and file it away. My children and grandchildren love reading about events I lived through, such as the moonwalk, the Kennedy years, the Vietnam War, the civil-rights struggle and other major events. -- Diane S., Trenton, N.J.
Air packing materials
Dear Heloise: So many companies now use those little air-filled pillows for packing, and while they can be reused for packing, I found out that they also can be used to wrap a wrist, elbow or ankle to protect an injured area and cushion it from being bumped into or reinjured. -- Maddie G., Lawton, Okla.
Maddie, thank you for that hint. Do any of my readers have any other suggestions for the air-filled plastic that's now commonly used for packing?