Dear Heloise: I read your column in The (Baton Rouge, La.)Advocate about HOTEL RESERVATIONS made online and the hotel not having the information upon arrival.

I have had this same experience. Last year, I made a reservation through an Internet travel service for a nonsmoking hotel room. When my husband and I arrived to check in, they did not have a nonsmoking room available.

The desk person said that the Internet service has had problems like this several times. I spoke with the travel service on my cellphone while standing facing the manager. The service called the manager to confirm that there was no nonsmoking room available and was going to try to find another hotel/motel with my room requests.

While talking to the manager, a call came in canceling a reservation for a nonsmoking room for one night.

Next time, I will confirm my online reservation to prevent this from happening again. I got the room for the same price as quoted. A quick phone call can save the day ... or the room! -- Carolyn Miller, via e-mail

It’s worth a phone call to the hotel directly to confirm your reservation! -- Heloise


Dear Heloise: In response to a hint in your column about marking the balance on your gift card with a permanent marker:

Since I buy lots of gift cards at my grocery store to use for everyday purchases (I get great fuel perks by doing this), I may end up using one several times before it is used up. I keep track of the balance with a wet-erase marker that I keep in my car. I update the balance by wiping it clean with a baby towelette and printing the new balance as soon as I get back to the car. -- A Reader, via e-mail


Dear Heloise: I use my ironing board as a work surface all over my home and cover it with a sheet or towel for protection.

I use it when cleaning and straightening my linen closet and pantry to set items on to sort them. It is adjustable to your preferred working height and doesn’t take up much room.

Also, I use an inexpensive shampoo to clean my combs and brushes. The shampoo is made to remove all the styling products, hair oils, etc. I put about 1/4 cup of shampoo in the bathroom sink with warm water and soak these items for a while. Then I rinse them, and they are amazingly clean. -- Shirley in Humble, Tex.


Dear Heloise: When leftover food is placed in the fridge, we stick a price sticker on it with that day’s date. We are sure to use it up in a few days. We have “leftover sticker” meals in a “catchall casserole” or leftover “Borgasmord” dinner. “Waste not, want not,” and we almost never discard edible food. -- Carol Granaldi, Cream Ridge, N.J.

Send a hint to Heloise, P.O. Box 795000, San Antonio, Tex. 78279-5000, fax it to 210-HELOISE or e-mail it to Please include your city and state.

2012, King Features Syndicate