Four rings brings the answer

Dear Heloise: I let my phone ring four times, and then the answering service comes on. If it is someone wanting a donation or taking a survey, the person will hang up.

If I recognize the voice, I pick up the phone. Or if I recognize the number, I answer it. Sure saves time and steps! — Leo D., Little Rock, Ark.

Leo, thanks for your letter! You can register your phone number with the National Do Not Call Registry through the Federal Trade Commission. Call 888-382-1222 from the phone number you want to register. A lot of annoying calls will stop after 31 days of registry. This won’t stop all calls, but it should cut down on them. — Heloise


Dear Heloise: Social media has made contact with companies easier and faster than ever before. I was in the market for a good used car, so I “friended” a woman whose family owns a group of dealerships in town.

She has a large presence on this social-media site, and she promotes sales and special deals that her family is offering.

Of course, I still researched the makes and models I was interested in, but I like the family aspect of knowing the dealership on a new level. — Cindy M. in Dallas

Cindy, sometimes things do work out for the better! — Heloise


Dear Heloise: Spring is a good time to remind everyone (especially teen drivers) that texting while driving is an absolute no-no. It’s also against the law in most areas. In fact, all “distracted driving” takes your focus away from the road, the cars around you, pedestrians, stoplights, etc. Your focus needs to be on driving — nothing else.

According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (www., distracted driving includes, but is not limited to: texting, eating, applying makeup, fumbling with the radio, singing, using a GPS system and other activities. Do none of these while you are driving.

If you need to text, make a call or do any other activity, pull over to a safe place. — Mike N. in Pennsylvania


Dear Heloise: If talking to someone on Monday and you hear: “Come over next Thursday,” does that mean the immediate next Thursday or the Thursday of next week? How about “Come over Thursday”? Here’s the hint: Always ask for a calendar date! — E.L.Y., Villa Park, Calif.


Dear Heloise: I love fresh floral arrangements, but they don’t last forever. As the flowers start to droop, I replace them with silk flowers. This way, the artificial arrangement looks almost as beautiful as the original fresh bouquet. — Harriet N. in Indiana


Dear Readers: Try not to leave clothing in the car for long periods of time, either in or out of plastic dry-cleaner bags. The hot temperatures in the car and sunlight beating in can fade fabrics and/or set stains. — Heloise


Hints from Heloise run occasionally in Lifestyles. Readers may send a hint to Heloise, P.O. Box 795000, San Antonio, Texas 78279-5000, fax it to 210-HELOISE, or email: Letters won’t be answered personally.