Dear Heloise: My husband and I al­ways plan a vacation far enough ahead so we can read up on the local customs, learn a few words in the native language and find out where things are and how to get there. By learning what is acceptable and what is not, we’ve saved ourselves a lot of embarrassing moments.

 — Tom and Joyce M., Tampa, Florida

Send a great hint to:


P.O. Box 795001

San Antonio, TX 78279-5001

Fax: 1-210-HELOISE

Does that fire extinguisher work?

Dear Heloise: We re­cent­ly had a fire in our kitch­en. I pulled out a fire extinguisher we had in a cabinet, and it didn’t work! Please advise your read­ers to make sure they have a fire extinguisher handy AND that it works prop­erly. Here are some other things we have learned:

• Check online to see if you have a fire extinguisher model that’s been recalled. Some have been recalled due to clogging.

• Make sure you have the correct size and type for your home.

• For a rechargeable extinguisher, have it serviced once a year.

• Always pull out the safety pin before operating the squeeze handle.

• Aim at the base of the fire, using a sweeping motion.

— Fred A., Lahaina, Maui, Hawaii

Tattoo removal

Dear Heloise: It’s not uncommon for people to regret getting a tattoo. They should know that they will get the best results with a laser removal, but it will take more than one session, especially if there is color, such as green, red or yellow. Yes, it’s painful, due to the impact energy from the laser pulse, and laser removal can be quite expensive. Think before you ink!

 — Ginger H. in San Francisco

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