DEAR READERS: With the start of spring begins many home-improvement and cleaning (garage and window) project. With many spring projects, you need a ladder, but before you drag the ladder out, here are some hints for staying safe, from the American Ladder Institute:
• Do not use a ladder that has any missing parts or is damaged in any way.
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• Do not use a ladder if there are high winds or storms nearby.
• Make certain the ladder you are using is the correct size for the job you are doing. You should never have to stand on the top rung to reach the area you need to work with.
• Never allow more than one person on the ladder at a time.
• Do not place the ladder in front of a closed door that can be opened into the ladder (essentially knocking a person off).
DEAR HELOISE: I tried to dust my plasma-screen TV with a multipurpose-cleaner-covered washcloth, and now I have streaks. Any suggestions?
– Sharon in West Sacramento
DEAR SHARON: Plasma screens can be damaged by wet cleaning, and unfortunately, as you found out, it can cause severe damage. Sorry to say, there is nothing I know of to help fix your situation. You can try the manufacturer for hints, but I’m afraid you are stuck.
For my other readers, please take note: To clean, simply dust them with a soft, dry microfiber cloth. If you have streaks from a previous cleaning, fingerprints or other stubborn spots, you can try wipes designed specifically for electronics.
DEAR HELOISE: I love to entertain my girlfriends for coffee and tea, but we are sick and tired of cucumber sandwiches. Do you have anything I can make to add variety to our get-togethers?
– Debra in California
DEAR DEBRA: I do have something you can make. It is one of my all-time favorite recipes. Try my Fast Shrimp Spread. It can be made quickly and served with crackers or veggies.
You will need: 8 ounces cream cheese, 1/2 cup mayonnaise 4 ounces tiny cocktail shrimp, drained and rinsed, preferably fresh, 2 tablespoons seafood cocktail sauce, 1/2 cup finely chopped onion (yellow, white or red), 1/2 teaspoon garlic salt.
Mix the cream cheese and mayonnaise until blended. Mash or chop the shrimp and add to the mixture. Then stir in the remaining ingredients. Refrigerate until you are ready to serve.
I have put together all of my favorite recipes in a pamphlet. To order, send $5 and a long, self-addressed, stamped (70 cents) envelope to: Heloise/Recipes, P.O. Box 795001, San Antonio, TX 78279-5001.
DEAR HELOISE: I enjoy your column in The (Colorado Springs, Colo.) Gazette. I wash out my used plastic mayo jars, oleo tubs, etc. Then I fill them with a variety of doggy treats. I keep these in the car, and when I see a homeless person with a dog, I give them one, and sometimes a few bucks, too.
– Joan M., via email
DEAR JOAN: You almost got me. I thought you were giving the doggie treats to the person, not the dog. I’m sure both of them appreciate your kindness.