HELOISE: Sound Off: Turn the sound off
Dear Readers: Here is this week's Sound Off, about loud music in restaurants and stores:
"Why do almost all stores and restaurants have music that is so loud that you cannot think straight? How do you enjoy dinner with others if you have to shout at each other? One chain-restaurant manager claimed he could not understand my complaint (about the volume) due to the music! It is just not enjoyable. -- A Reader, Sacramento, Calif."
How ironic! The manager couldn't hear you! Many times restaurants keep the music loud to "turn tables," as people won't linger. I say go a family-run restaurant and try your luck! -- Heloise
Dear Readers: Other uses for shower caps:
• Have workmen place them over their shoes before coming into your house.
• Place over food dishes at a picnic or barbecue.
• Cover a seedling for a mini greenhouse.
• Place on the bottom of plant pots to catch drips.
• Cover small lamps or figurines in guest rooms to keep dust off. -- Heloise
Dear Heloise: What is the easiest and best way to clean the grout in my shower? -- M.A., via email
This is one of the most often asked questions that come in! To make a cheap cleaner, mix 1/2 cup of baking soda and 1/4 cup of borax. Add just enough hot water until it makes a thick paste. Put the paste mixture on the grout and scrub with a brush. Let sit for 30 minutes or so, then rinse. If the grout is really discolored, you may need to repeat the steps.. To clean that pesky bathroom mildew in the shower, mix 1 tablespoon borax with 2 cups water, and apply with a sponge. -- Heloise
Dear Heloise: Sometimes I get caked-on grease and food spots on my stovetop that are hard to remove. I have noticed that when I warm the oven up to bake something, it also warms the stovetop a little and helps loosen the grime. It is much easier to wipe and clean off. So every time I bake cookies or other baked goods, I do a quick wipe of the stovetop. -- Jean in Vermont
Dear Heloise: While on vacation, I found that most restrooms lack the little paper potty covers. (Heloise here: She means the tissue toilet-seat covers.) I solved the problem by making my own with tissue paper that is used in gift bags. I folded one piece of the tissue paper and cut a slit right down the middle. Problem solved. -- A Reader, Lufkin, Texas