Dear Mary: Somehow, bacon grease spilled onto my Trex board patio. It seeped in and has spread inside the board. It's extremely noticeable. Is there anything I can do to get the grease out, or at least help the stain?
- Anna, email
Dear Anna: Trex, a popular brand of durable wood-plastic composite material lumber, does not require specific stains or sealants for protection, but should be cleaned periodically using cleaning agents containing bleach and detergent. As for this stubborn grease stain, I would hit it with a good degreaser like original blue Dawn dishwashing liquid, hot water and a stiff scrub brush. The secret with Trex, like any household surface, is to treat that stain as quickly as possible.
Dear Mary: When black clothes come out of the dryer covered in excessive lint, how can I remove the lint?
- Elaine, Pennsylvania
Dear Elaine: I'd concentrate on eliminating the problem in the first place. Dry your black items only with other similar dark-colored things (no towels or white T-shirts that give off lint). Make sure that the lint trap is cleaned out as well. Rather than try to pick off all that lint, rewash and dry the items.
Dear Mary: I have a 1958 Barbie doll in her original case, and all of her original clothes, shoes and accessories are in excellent condition. I also have her friend Midge, and she is in excellent
- Carmella, email
Dear Carmella: I would go to eBay.com and research. Just remember that the listed price does not always indicate the value of something.
You need to discover what people have been willing to pay for these types of collectibles by searching "completed auctions" or sales. Another source, CrazyforBarbie.com, will help you establish a selling price and also offers help from Barbie collectors for people like yourself who are looking to establish value.
Dear Mary: My daughter is covered by my health insurance. She got married last year and recently found out she's pregnant. We also just learned the insurance does not cover maternity. We have called several insurance companies to get supplemental maternity or a "rider," but everyone has said to cancel her current insurance and let her get her own coverage. That just sounds like a stupid solution. Is it?
- Lynda, Missouri
Dear Lynda: I am not an insurance professional. That, plus the fact that I have so little information on your daughter's current coverage, makes it impossible for me to give you any kind of advice. However, in that her pregnancy is now a pre-existing condition, I can only imagine that if there is such a rider as you suggest, it is probably more expensive than what it would cost her to get her her own coverage as "everyone" is advising.
Even then, she and her husband might be better off forgetting about insurance and instead finding a doctor and hospital that will give them a substantial discount for cash payment. And by the way, congratulations! You are going to be a grandma, and that's a wonderful thing.
Dear Mary: I went through an awful divorce that left me flat broke. My house payment is affordable, and I can pay utility bills, but my problem is almost $20,000 in credit-card debt that there is no room in the budget to pay. I can take out a fixed-rate loan for the entire amount. Or, Discover is offering a debt consolidation loan, for which I qualify. I am 56 years old and have no savings, and I really need to start saving for my future.
- Vivian, email
Dear Vivian: If there is "no room in the budget to pay," how will you take on either of these loans? I'd rather see you talk with a credit counselor certified by the National Foundation of Credit Counselors. You can find one near you by visiting NFCC.org, or pick up the phone and call 800-388-2227. You will get help you can trust and a payment plan you can handle. Please do this soon. Like today.
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