Dear Mary: I inadvertently placed a glass mixing bowl in another bowl of a similar size that was still damp. Now I can't get them apart. Do you have any ideas how to get these two bowls apart? — Sarma R., e-mail
Dear Sarma: Gather the kids around because you have the perfect opportunity to show them how to use science in everyday life — specifically the way that heat causes things to expand and cold makes them contract.
First, fill the inner bowl with cold water. Now fill your kitchen sink (or a larger bowl that is big enough to accommodate the glass bowls) with hot water. Float the stuck bowls in the hot water, and press down so that as much of the outer bowl is submerged as possible without getting any hot water between the bowls. This should release the seal between the bowls.
Make sure the two temperatures are not too extreme, or the bowls could break — unless you are dealing with Pyrex or similar types of bowls that have been tempered and will not break under extreme temperature changes.
Dear Mary: We have just built a new home and got our loan through a local bank. They say they don't report our loans. Is there anything bad about that? — Bettina A., South Carolina
Dear Bettina: I assume you mean this lender does not report its customers' loan activities to credit bureaus, such as Experian or Equifax. This is not all that unusual because they are not required by any law to do so. The only reason this might be of concern to you is if you will be relying on your payment history with this company to improve your credit score. Because you got this loan, I am going to assume that your credit score was satisfactory, so you don't need to worry at all that they will not be reporting your activity in the future.
Dear Mary: Is there any way we can do dry cleaning at home? — Vici, e-mail
Dear Vici: There are several home dry cleaning kits currently available for purchase in most groceries and discount stores, including FreshCare from Clorox, Dryel by Procter & Gamble and Dry Cleaner's Secret. At about $10 per kit, all of these promise to clean and/or freshen dry-clean-only or hand-wash-only fabrics without using industrial solvents used by dry cleaners. These kits' basic steps mirror those of commercial dry cleaning, without immersion in a solvent or the need for specialized machinery.
While these kits are not good substitutes for actual dry cleaning, they may be useful for removing spots and freshening dry-clean-only garments, extending the time between professional cleanings. But if you are looking for the crisp, freshly pressed look from the dry cleaner, you will be disappointed. User reviews often say the kits don't remove most stains well and often leave circles around the stains.
Your best bet, in my opinion, is to avoid buying garments that require dry cleaning. And for those that you cannot avoid, make sure you treat spots immediately with a solvent-type cleaner, such as Afta or EverBlum. Then be sure to air out wool, linen and silk garments after you wear them to increase the time between professional cleanings.
Do you have a question for Mary? E-mail her at firstname.lastname@example.org, or write to Everyday Cheapskate, P.O. Box 2135, Paramount, CA 90723. Mary Hunt is the founder of DebtProofLiving.com and author of 17 books, including "Debt-Proof Living." To find out more about Mary and read her past columns, please visit the Creators Syndicate Web page at www.creators.com.