Dear Heloise: Is there a universally accepted hand signal to say "thank you" to drivers who do you a kindness? When a driver slows down and allows me to merge into a lane of traffic, I am grateful. I wave my open hand high back and forth.

Yesterday, I made a wrong turn. It was rush-hour traffic, but a car stopped, flashed the hazard lights and let me into the proper lane. I was grateful, and I did the hand wave, but I don't know if that was understood.

Joanne R., via email

Joanne R.: You handled it perfectly. Very nice of the other car to let you in; an open-hand wave into the rearview mirror is understood and appreciated. Courteous driving is always the best way to go.


Pork Chop and Mr. Primrose are the Pets of the Week. (Family photo)

Dear Readers: Meet Pork Chop and Mr. Primrose. These adorable guys are brothers. Pork Chop (orange cat) and Mr. Primrose are 9-month-old domestic shorthairs and live in Springfield, Ohio, with owner Jo B.’s loving family.

Jo reads the column every day in the Springfield News-Sun. To see Pork Chop and Mr. Primrose, visit Heloise.com and click on “Pet of the Week.” Do you have a furry and funny friend? Email a picture or two and a description to Heloise@Heloise.com.

Dear Heloise: I stepped in gasoline at the gas station. Can you tell me how to remove the smell from my rubber-soled shoes?

Vicki B., Warsaw, Ind.

Vicki B.: The first thing I’m going to tell you is what NOT to do. NEVER put any article with gasoline or petrol products in the washer or dryer.

For rubber-soled sneakers, fill a dishpan with hot water, a glug of dishwashing detergent and a cup of baking soda. Stir until the baking soda dissolves.

Add the shoes and let them soak for several hours — preferably overnight. Rinse thoroughly and air-dry, with paper toweling inside to maintain the shape of the shoe.

Baking soda is a workhorse in the home. Nontoxic, safe, cheap and readily available, I keep boxes on hand. I’ve compiled a collection of my favorite baking soda hints, recipes and helps into a handy pamphlet. Would you like to receive one? It’s easy. Send a long, stamped (70 cents), self-addressed envelope, along with $5, to: Heloise/Baking Soda, P.O. Box 795001, San Antonio, TX 78279-5001. Or you can order it online at Heloise.com. FYI: To remove strong odors from dirty clothes, add ½ cup baking soda to the rinse cycle. Be sure to not overload the washer — the clothes need to move around. The bad odors should rinse away.

Dear Heloise: I would like to make some suggestions about parking lot courtesy. It takes very little time to make shopping nicer for everyone:

● Return shopping carts to the spaces reserved for them, not behind someone's car, in a parking spot or in a walkway.

● When someone is backing out, stop and wait for the person to do so.

● Spaces reserved for those with special needs are meant just for that.

● Pedestrians should always have the right of way.

Shopping can be stressful. Let's try to make it less so.

Nancy F. in Houston

Nancy F. in Houston: I am with you. Readers, take heed!

Heloise’s column appears six days a week at washingtonpost.com/advice. Send a hint to Heloise, P.O. Box 795001, San Antonio, TX 78279-5000, or email it to Heloise@Heloise.com.

2020, King Features Syndicate