Readers Offer A Cornucopia Of Advice


November 17, 1990|By Rob Kasper

With Thanksgiving approaching, it seems like a good time to say thanks to all the people who have given me advice on my home repair projects.

Thanks to Marie Nodeland, who wrote in telling me how to tame the washing machine's drain hose. Tape it down with duct tape, she said. I did and the hose no longer surprised me by jerking out of position and spraying water on the floor instead into the laundry tub.

Besides, taping the hose down with duct tape gives my laundry center a much more finished look than my previous method of subduing the hose, holding it down with a brick.

Thanks to the anonymous electrician who called me after reading my story about my unsuccessful attempt at installing one four-way and several three-way light switches. He eased the guilt I felt about paying $12.50 for a new, four-way switch. That price, he said was lower than what he, a real electrician, pays for four-way switches.

He also made me feel good by telling me that to do the job right I needed a $12 tool called a continuity tester. I sighed with relief when he said that. I had already bought the tool and wasn't sure I needed it. It really helps us weekend fix-it types when a pro gives us tool approbation.

I also send out thanks to the fellow mousetrap purchaser who told me, as we were standing in line at the hardware store, that bacon was sure-fire mouse bait. She was right. Last mouse-catching season, I batted two for three using bacon as bait. Whereas I averaged well below .500 with peanut butter.

Thanks as well to the handful of people -- at last count I tallied six -- who told me that other wood-stripping products were cheaper than those sold by Homer Formby. People started telling me this after I wrote a column relating how Homer had worked his way through our home. When Homer headed back to Florida, I was left with a long list of half-started projects.

That was months ago; now most of these projects have remained in what I call the planning stage. Other people call them half-finished.

I have passed on all these price tips on wood-care products as well as all responsibilities for half-finished furniture to my wife.

Thanks to the legion of lint fighters who sent me missives on what to do when you can't vent your clothes dryer to the great outdoors. I've tried most of the tips, from putting a lint-snagging sock on the end of the dryer's exhaust hose to attaching the hose to water-filled bucket. They work. But the most effective, if tiresome, tactic is to clean the dryer's lint screen after every use.

I wish to thank a woman whose name I couldn't decipher. She sent me an envelope containing several mechanical, or automatic, pencils. She sent the pencils in response to a column I had written describing how hard it was at our homestead to find a sharp pencil. Manual pencil sharpeners keep breaking. And the tiny pencil sharpeners keep getting lost. I'm too cheap to buy an automatic pencil sharpener.

The woman thought she had solution, and put several plastic, automatic pencils in an envelope and mailed it to me. Unfortunately, the pencils were smashed in the mail, rendering them useless and making the the name of the sender unreadable. Thanks, Ms. Pencil Lady, wherever you are.

And finally thanks to Boots Heidenreich, who, after I wrote about the pair of parakeets we keep in our kitchen, passed along a magazine clipping. The clipping warned that fumes from non-stick pans could harm pets residing in kitchens.

Thanks, anyway, Boots, but all the pans in our house are total-stick variety.

As for the parakeets, they are, much to my chagrin, thriving. Every time we sit down to enjoy a meal, they squawk up a storm.

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