Dear Readers: Today’s Sound Off is about guests who arrive late for every function:

Dear Heloise: My brother and his wife never show up on time and never call to say they are running late. At Thanksgiving, I hosted a family dinner, which took hours of work. I told them we would be sitting down to dinner at 2 p.m. If they weren’t there, we would go ahead without them.

“And that’s exactly what we did. They showed up at 4 p.m. expecting to have Thanksgiving dinner, which I refused them since we all had eaten and had just finished cleaning up the kitchen. In the past, I’ve tried telling them we were having dinner at 1 p.m., thinking I’d actually prepare dinner for 2 p.m., and they still showed up two hours late.”

 — A.D. in Maine

A holiday dinner is expensive, time-consuming and takes a lot of planning and work. Showing up late on a continual basis is inconsiderate to the host.

— Heloise

Fast facts

Dear Readers: Here are some additional uses for safety pins:

• Pin socks together before washing so pairs stay together.

• Pin a scarf to the back of a coat collar so it stays in place.

• Use to keep skirt hems up in an emergency.

• Pin gloves to a child’s sleeve so they won’t get lost.

— Heloise

Pre-wash spray

Dear Heloise: You had a pre-wash mixture that worked well, but I’ve lost the instructions. Would you reprint that for me?

 — Kate W., Reno, Nevada

Kate, you’ll need to mix equal parts water, household ammonia and dishwashing (not “dishwasher”) liquid. Put the mixture into a clean spray bottle. Be sure to label it, and keep it away from children and pets. Once you apply this to a stain, wash the garment immediately.

This pre-wash recipe is included in my Heloise’s Handy Stain Guide for Clothing. If you would like a copy, send $5, along with a long, stamped (70 cents), self-addressed envelope, to: Heloise/Stain Guide, P.O. Box 795001, San Antonio, TX 78279-5001. Or you can order it online at www.Heloise.com. FYI: When using a spray-type laundry stain remover, turn the stained item inside out and spray the stain from the “wrong” side.

— Heloise

Address labels

Dear Heloise: Every year I get lots of address labels from various charities, and I use them in a number of ways. They go on the back of my phone, in books I lend to friends, on my address book and on platters I take to potluck dinners. This has made it easy for people to return things to me.

 — Claire U., McPherson, Kansas

Handy chip bowl

Dear Heloise: When my husband and I watch a movie in the evening, we usually munch on some chips and dips. Recently, I saw my daughter roll down the sides of the bag, then push the bottom up, and it made a bowl out of the bag. Very handy for all of us.

 — Marybeth S., Fresno

Send a money-saving or timesaving hint to Heloise, P.O. Box 795001, San Antonio, TX 78279-5001, or you can fax it to 1-210-HELOISE or email it to Heloise@Heloise.com. I can’t answer your letter personally but will use the best hints received in my column.

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