Dear Heloise: I just had the frightening experience of needing to EVACUATE MY HOME because of a fast-moving brush fire.

As soon as I saw the smoke and firemen, I gathered our five cats and put them in a small bathroom. I got out the cat carriers and got the cats loaded and stacked by the front door. Before I could gather up anything else, a fireman was insisting that I had to leave immediately.

If the cats weren’t already in their carriers, I would have had to leave them. They would have been hiding, and I never would have been able to get a hold of them.

Thank goodness all was well, and we all returned to our home that evening, but my ordeal would have been much worse if I had been worried about the cats’ safety. -- Judy W., Monrovia, Calif.

What an ordeal! Glad that everything was okay! Hopefully readers will see this and take to heart your words of wisdom. Thanks for sharing, Judy! -- Heloise


Dear Heloise: Cut brownies that have cooled about four to five minutes with a serrated plastic knife for clean-cut squares. Any of the disposable tableware types will do. I discovered this several years ago, but have never seen it in print. -- Carmen White, Clearfield, Pa.


Dear Heloise: Now that summer is here, I am looking forward to hanging my clothes outside on the line. It saves money, and I just love hanging the clothes up while enjoying the sun and warmth!

I live in the snow belt, and we have a very short summer. For those people who would like to hang clothes outside but think they don’t have the time, you could hang them out in the afternoon or early evening and then take them down the next day. Even if it should rain overnight, it won’t hurt. It actually adds to the wonderful fresh smell. -- Colleen in Pennsylvania


Dear Heloise: Each year, a ritual of separating my daily planner is carried out. The pages are torn out and shredded, or sensitive material is marked out. The binding and covers are recycled. -- Margarette in Texas


Dear Heloise: When walking down an aisle between two rows of cars, walk on the side closer to the driver’s side. You can see if there is someone in the driver’s seat who may be about to back out. The driver can more easily see you than if you are coming from the far side of his/her car. -- Polly Womack, Los Alamitos, Calif.


Dear Heloise: I took our old grill, after the elements had burned out, and made it into a planter. It works great, especially for me, as I have a hard time bending down. It can be wheeled around wherever you’d like some color. -- Dave, via e-mail

Heloise’s column appears six days a week at Send a hint to Heloise, P.O. Box 795000, San Antonio, Tex. 78279-5000, or e-mail it to

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