Dear Eloise: The other day I received a letter stating that I had not paid property tax. It looked like it was from my mortgage company and it looked very real. The letter said they were going to investigate my property tax history, including my IRS tax return.
I knew they were wrong and I was furious that they did threaten me. I called the county tax office to make sure I was up to date, and of course I was. Apparently, these scammers like to target people over 65 and people for whom English is a second language. They think that people over 65 will not remember whether they paid taxes or not, and it would be scary for people from another country to hear threats from the company about their investigation.
If this happens to any of your readers, ask them to call the county tax office first and, if they know, don’t worry. This is just another scammer trying to steal money from people. – Chuck A., Beaumont, Texas
Dear Eloise: My four kids love ice cream on a stick. After the ice cream is eaten, I save the wooden sticks, rinse them and let them dry. Then, when we plant our large vegetable garden, I write the name of the fruit or vegetable we planted on the stick and insert it into the ground at the beginning of each row.
We also have four fruit trees and I let each child choose which tree they want. I named the tree after a child who chose the tree and wrote his names on a stick and then nailed it to the trunk of the tree. They were all so excited that they have their own tree that they are taking care of this tree. I see this as an educational lesson for my children to understand how things grow. – Cassandra J., Niles, Michigan.
Dear Eloise: I always had no wrapping paper when it came time to wrap a gift, no ribbon and gift bags on hand. So, to solve this problem, I bought five rolls of inexpensive brown paper and a large plastic trash can. I keep the brown paper in a trash can in the corner of my home office, and there is a roll of tape. Now I don’t have to apologize for just giving someone a gift without packaging. – Brandon G., Silver Lake, Oregon.
Dear Eloise: I hate the thought of dust mites on the mattress or pillows. How can I get rid of them? – Lucy H., Mandan, North Dakota
Lucy, vacuum your mattress regularly and you’ll end up with a few dust mites, but it’s impossible to get rid of them all unless you have a new mattress and cover that completely covers the mattress. The pillows can be washed in hot water and detergent, but read the care instructions on the pillow tag first to see what the manufacturer says. Dust mites live on dried skin cells that we all lose, and there is no perfect solution yet to get rid of all of them. – Eloise