Dear Readers: Today’s Sound Off concerns the downside of having a beachfront house:

“Dear Heloise: Summer is drawing to a close — thank heavens! My husband and I have a beach house, which we thoroughly enjoy. We bought it so my husband of 48 years could recover from a serious heart attack. What we don’t enjoy are drop-in visits from people who think that they’re staying the week or weekend. So, to people who feel free to drop in, please wait to be invited. This is a home, not a hotel. Show some respect for our privacy.”

A Reader in California

Reader in California: I hear this often from folks who own a beach house or a lake house. So, readers, what do you think?

Dear Readers: Here are some items to take along as a hostess gift besides the standard bottle of wine:

● A basket of something you’ve grown, such as tomatoes or flowers.

● A book on a subject the hostess enjoys, such as gardening.

● A bouquet of flowers or a pretty serving dish.

● A cake or a homemade pie.

Dear Heloise: When sorting my family's laundry, I could never tell which were my son's socks and which were my husband's, because they both wear the same size. Now I code the socks by using a few stitches of red thread for one and blue or yellow for the other. I just sew an "X" on the toe of each sock.

Becky A., Claremont, N.H.

Dear Heloise: I have a sticky substance that is stuck on my electric griddle. How do I get it off without damaging the surface?

Abby M., Cumberland, Md.

Abby M.: First, always clean your griddle after each time you use it. Use a wooden or plastic spatula (not a metal one, which could scratch the nonstick surface) to gently scrape off any stuck-on food into the collection tray or into a corner, then scoop it out. While the surface is warm, pour water on it so that it bubbles. Use the scrubbie side of a sponge (never steel wool) with a little dishwashing soap and water to gently clean the surface. Finish by wiping first with a damp paper towel, then a dry one.

Dear Heloise: It seems that every time I reach into my sewing basket, I stab my fingers on my scissors. Help!

Lennie S., Escanaba, Mich.

Lennie S.: Stick the pointed end of your scissors into a piece of cork.

Dear Heloise: I love growing tomatoes, but in my tiny yard, there's no room anymore. Any ideas?

Barb O., Middlesboro, Ky.

Barb O.: You can always grow cherry tomatoes in a hanging basket, or the larger varieties in a pot with a tomato cage.

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

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