A taxing phone conversation

Friday, June 16, 2017

Dear Readers: Today’s SOUND OFF is about the phone bill’s added charges and taxes. -- Heloise

“Dear Heloise: I recently moved into my first apartment and was shocked to discover that my phone bill, which includes a landline, my computer and cellphone, was about 25 percent to 30 percent taxes! I called the phone company and asked for an explanation of my bill, because there were things on there that I’d never heard of. The woman I spoke with didn’t seem to know what half of the charges were for, either. When I signed up for telephone service, no one told me about all these taxes and other charges. Why can’t the telephone companies tell us the truth about all these nuisance charges, and why don’t they pick up some of these expenses instead of burdening the public with them?” -- Roberta G., Dayton, Ohio

SEND A GREAT HINT TO:

Heloise

P.O. Box 795000

San Antonio, TX 78279-5000

Fax: 1-210-HELOISE

Email: Heloise@Heloise.com

FAST FACTS

Dear Readers: Button, button, who’s got the button? There are a number of uses for recycled buttons:

* They can be used in jewelry making to create interesting, new designs.

* Attach to the ends of drawstrings to keep from pulling through casings.

* Great for decorating picture frames, and for gift decorations.

* Instead of pebbles in a pot, try a couple of handfuls of old buttons. -- Heloise

HOW TO CLEAN A MATTRESS

Dear Heloise: My sister and I have been wondering how to properly clean a mattress. We both recently bought new ones, but haven’t a clue as to how to keep them clean. -- Tanya M., Elk Grove Village, Ill.

Tanya, the first thing you can do is spray a water repellent on the surface of a mattress on both sides. Wait until it is completely dry before covering it with a good-quality mattress pad to help keep out dust, dander and dust mites. After you’ve done this, try the following:

* Vacuum your mattress once a month.

* Wash the mattress pad once a month in hot water and soap to kill dust mites.

* If you spill any liquid on the mattress, soak up as much of the liquid as you can with a bath towel or paper towels. Use upholstery cleaners to shampoo out the stain left behind, but make sure your mattress is completely dry before putting the mattress pad back on the bed.

* Most mattress manufacturers say we do not have to “flip” our mattresses every six months anymore, but I still like to rotate mine every other month. -- Heloise

FEED YOUR PLANTS

Dear Heloise: I have an old home recipe for outside plants that works to kill bugs while feeding the plants. It’s simple and easy to use with a spray bottle that hooks up to a hose.

Mix together:

* One small can of beer -- any kind

* 5 tablespoons of liquid dishwashing detergent (or use baby shampoo)

* 2 tablespoons of commercial plant food in liquid or powder form

Once this is in the spray bottle and attached to the hose, water your plants as usual. The soap kills bugs, but not plants. -- Rhonda P., Lodi, Calif.

(c)2017 by King Features Syndicate Inc.