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

I hear this often from folks who own a beach house or a lake house. So, readers, what do you think? -- Heloise



P.O. Box 795001

San Antonio, TX 78279-5001

Fax: 1-210-HELOISE



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.

-- Heloise


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, 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. -- Heloise


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, stick the pointed end of your scissors into a piece of cork. -- Heloise


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

Barb, you can always grow cherry tomatoes in a hanging basket, or the larger varieties in a pot with a tomato cage. -- Heloise