Helpful tips for July – a bit of everything for everyone

Hello there and welcome to our monthly feature of all kinds of tips.
We at the business desk are pleased to bring you our monthly feature of a
plethora of tips that cover a wide range of topics.
All of our tips are designed to help you save time, cut down on your
research, and help you get ahead.
So go ahead and read on.
This week we bring you our monthly tips.
It’s what we do for a living! We help you to help yourself!
From the business desk team at
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Helpful tips for July 2020

In this issue:

General tips
Articles of the day
* Simple tips to keep things beautiful and working Well Around the House
* Unclogging Stopped Drains

From the pages of Donna’s travel diary
* Protecting your passport

General tips
Courtesy of the research team at

Scams of the month:
Before giving you our scam tips of the month, here are some very valueable
You need to remember that scams come in the following formats:
As emails, as phone calls both recorded and via a live caller, and o yes!
It can even show up at your door and in your mailbox.
And now they are targeting us through texts being sent to our cell phones.

Before giving you the latest scams making the rounds; we have some do nots
to share with you.
Do not respond to emails that look strange to you.
Do not download attachments from unknown senders.
Do not share your username and password to your online banking and any other
online payments facilities with anyone.
Do not give out any banking or personal details on the phone to unknown
Do not pay any attention to threats from automated phone recordings or from
live persons with regard to your credit card or that you owe money to any
revenue agency.
Do not entertain any offers either via email or by phone from senders and
callers offering incredible service packages as they may pertain to cable
and tv services, prizes that you have won, or any sort of any type of
service package.
Do not answer the door to unknown callers.
Take extra caution to make sure that the details of your credit cards and
debit cards are fully protected when you make payments at restaurants or at
stores, pharmacies, and elsewhere.
Do not enter your password for Facebook or Twitter in response to a text
request on your cell phone.
The same if you are asked for your Apple ID.
Do not fall prey to a text message telling you that your banking details
have been compromised online.

The mask scam:
Be ware of those bogus websites and companies that are advertising masks
that you need to use to stay safe.
These are nothing but scammers looking to snatch your money in return for
either masks that do not work or they do not even ship what they promise.

The puppy scam:
These are online scams with persons advertising puppies and other pets for
Again, nothing but scams.
You pay for a puppy or other pet and the puppy or pet never shows up and
then your money is gone!

False advertising of cosmetics using names of celerities?
Well, here is the news!
These celebrities never gave their blessing to these ads so make sure you
check things out before purchasing!

Okay, here is a home remedy for dealing with unwanted faxes.
When the phone rings and you determine that it is indeed a fax; do this.
Start pressing the buttons on your phone’s keypad.
Press buttons at random and hold down each button for at least 3 seconds.
Or you can press buttons one after the other in quick succession.
Do this also for a few seconds.
This is guaranteed to interrupt the fax and confuse its beeps.

Want to grow nice sweet tomatoes?
Plant them together with herbs such as basel.
Intermingle these 2 plants.

A good way to relieve some of the stress at this difficult time?
Why not invest in some plants on your balcony or even indoors?
Believe it or not, plants help to relieve stress and create calm all around

Here is another way to instill restful sleep:
Buy yourself a white noise or sound machine.
They do not cost very much.

How to deal with those potent skunk smells!
Well, if you are unfortunate enough to smell these aweful smells, gently rub
some vix under your nose.

About your Gut!
It accounts for about 70% of your immune system so in this case you really
need to ensure that you take care of it!

Another way to keep cool during this warm summer?
If you are using a fan, then place a wet towel close by and the air from the
fan will become cooler as it works to dry the towel.


Articles of the day
Chosen by the Business Desk team

Contributed by Dan Thompson
Simple tips to keep things beautiful and working Well Around the House
By Mary Hunt
FABULOUS FIXTURES. So you splurged on some really beautiful—dare I?say
expensive—sink fixtures for your kitchen or bathroom. Here’s a fabulous way
to keep them looking
beautiful for many years to come.
Once a month or so, wipe the faucets down with a rag that you havesprayed
with a wax-based furniture polish. This will keep mineral deposits from
building up and staining or
pitting the surface of even the most exquisite fixtures.
DUCT TAPE REPAIR. Got a shower curtain with a ripped ring hole that makes it
sag? Don’t throw it out quite yet. Instead, get out the duct tape and cover
the entire hole on
both sides. Using a hole punch or craft knife, re-create the ring hole. Now
it’s stronger than new. But maybe not so attractive. Not to worry. These
days duct
tape comes in loads of colors and even patterns. You may even want to
reinforce the entire top strip of the vinyl curtain with a bright color or
design and redo all of the
holes while you’re at it, not just the torn one.
BLOW-DRYER LONGEVITY. The intake area of a blow-dryer does more than
draw in air to cool the heating element. It also sucks in dust, hair,
makeup, hair spray, powder and anything else around it. That’s hard on the
motor and can cause it to
overheat and burn out. To keep your blow-dryer working for years, make sure
to vacuum the holes at the back of the dryer every time you vacuum the floor
in that room.
AUTOMATIC POTATO WASHER. When you have to wash a lot of potatoes (like
for Thanksgiving, which will be here soon), just put them in your
don’t add soap! Set it on a short wash cycle and “air dry.” The clean
potatoes can go right into the oven or pot.
HAPPY MOUSE. If you use a rollerball computer mouse—one that has a ball that
you can see when you turn the mouse upside down—then you need to clean the
inner workings at least
every month to keep it working smoothly. Otherwise, you’ll be paying for
replacements more frequently. Here’s how to clean it:
1) Unplug the mouse and turn it over. You will see the tracking ball as well
as a round ring that holds it in place. 2) Remove the ring by pressing down
and rotating it
counterclockwise until you can lift it off. 3) Flip the mouse over so that
the ball drops out. Wash the ball with warm tap water and mild soap, then
thoroughly dry it with a
lint-free cloth.
4) Before replacing the ball and ring, look for three small
rollers (each about 1/16th-inch wide) inside the mouse cavity where the ball
sits. They will likely be covered with built-up dirt. Use cotton swabs or a
toothpick to scrape
off the dirt. Gently knock the still-open cavity down into the palm of your
hand to get rid of loose particles.
5) Replace the ball and ring cover.


Unclogging Stopped Drains
Gil Johnson
Sometimes, sink, shower, tub, and toilets will become stopped up and will
only drain slowly or, worse yet, not at all. This may
cause a messy overflow. In sink, shower, and tub drains, the blockage may be
caused by accumulation of food particles, grease,
soap, and hair. In toilets, it may be due to large wads of tissue, wash
cloths, or other materials which have fallen into the toilet
bowl. Although it is not the most pleasant household maintenance project to
tackle, it can bring good results, sometimes more
quickly than spending the money to hire someone like a plumber to take care
of the problem. It can also be very satisfying to
accomplish this. Persons with limited vision or no vision at all can open
plugged drains just as successfully as someone with good
vision by using the “right” tools and following the steps outlined below.
Tools you may need to unplug sink, lavatory, tub, or shower drains:
Drum augur (sometimes called a “snake”)
Channel lock pliers or 12-inch pipe wrench
Straight or philips screwdrivers
Tools you may need to unplug toilets:
Toilet plunger
Closet augur also known as a toilet augur
Any of the tools listed above are available at hardware or building supply
For those who may not be familiar with the drum augur or toilet augur the
following description may be helpful.
Drum augur: The drum augur consists of a flat bottomed cone shaped canister
with a 1/2-inch tube coming out of the middle of the
top of the dome. A plastic handle slips over the tube allowing the canister
and tube to rotate while the handle is being held still. At
the end of the tube is a thumb screw. Inside the canister is a coiled 20-25
foot cable 1/4-inch or 3/8-inch in diameter. The cable is
like a stiff but flexible spring that can go around fairly sharp corners.
To operate the drum augur, insert the end of the augur into the drain line.
Slide it forward until the end of the augur encounters a
turn in the pipe or the debris. Leave about 6-8 inches of the cable between
the end of the tube and the opening into the drain line,
lock the cable in place with the thumb screw, turn the canister clockwise
with the round knob on the bottom while holding the
handle on the tube at the top of the canister. The augur will turn around
and around as you rotate the canister and by applying
forward pressure, you can work the cable further into the drain line. When
the top end of the tube is close to the opening of the
drain line, loosen the thumb screw, pull out more cable, tighten the thumb
screw, and work more cable into the drain line.
Toilet augur: The toilet augur consists of a tube (usually plastic) about
3/8-inch in diameter and about 30 inches long. One end
makes a sweeping 90-degree turn and extends about three (3)inches. A steel
rod protrudes out of the other end of the tube which
is attached to a crank handle. The other end of the steel rod is attached to
an augur which is about 24 inches long. The augur is
like a stiff but flexible spring which can go around turns in the toilet
bowl or sewer drain line.
To operate the toilet augur, insert the end of the tube into the bottom of
the toilet bowl and begin turning the augur handle
clockwise while holding the tube and pressing forward to work the end of the
augur around the turns in the bottom of the toilet
bowl. When the end of the augur encounters the blockage, it may push through
or the debris may get hooked by the augur. In that
case, you can attempt to withdraw the augur with the debris attached to the
augur by continuing to turn the crank handle
clockwise while you withdraw it.
Steps to Unplug Sink or Lavatory Drains
Step 1:
You may first try to unstop the drain line by using a measured amount of
chemical or herbal drain line cleaner which you can
select from a variety of types and strengths from most hardware stores or
building supply centers. Before choosing the drain
cleaner, review the directions and cautions carefully as some of the
chemical drain cleaners are quite caustic and can damage the
drain line pipes and may also emit hazardous fumes. The drain line cleaner
can sometimes loosen the stoppage which then can
be flushed away with warm water.
Tip: Manufacturers recommend not putting chemical drain line cleaners into a
garbage disposal unit as this may cause damage to
the disposal.
Safety tip: If you use a chemical drain line cleaner and the blockage is not
cleared, run water into the drain line and let it drain
away before using the drum augur. If a chemical solution remaining in the
line splashes out on you, particularly your face or eyes,
it can cause a chemical burn. If it does, rinse it off immediately.
If the chemical or herbal drain line cleaner doesn’t open the stoppage or
only allows slow drainage, you can follow the next steps
to eliminate the blockage.
Step 2:
You should first put on a pair of thin surgical gloves to protect your hands
from infection. The thin gloves allow you to detect your
work by feel. You may be able to insert the end of the drum augur into the
drain opening at the bottom of the sink or lavatory.
Many bathroom sinks have a stopper which is activated by a knob or handle.
In these cases, you will need to remove the stopper
by reaching under the sink, detaching the trip leaver that raises and lowers
the stopper, and then removing the leaver and stopper.
Sometimes, the blockage occurs where the trip leaver connects with the
stopper. Clearing this debris may solve the problem.
If that is not the case and you can not insert the end of the augur into the
drain opening, you will need to remove part of the drain
line called the “trap” from below the sink or lavatory. The trap looks like
the print letter U. It helps keep fumes from the sewer from
coming into your home because it holds a small amount of water that blocks
the sewer gas. You can remove the trap by using a
channel lock pliers or pipe wrench to loosen the chrome or plastic hexagonal
nuts that hold the drain line together and also
compresses the gaskets that prevent leakage. Sometimes the blockage occurs
because debris gets lodged in the trap but more
often it is further down in the drain line.
Tip: if the drain has been in place for a long time, the locking nuts
(particularly metal ones) may be rusted and break into pieces. If
so, you will need to replace them with nuts of the correct diameter. The
gaskets may also have deteriorated and need to be
replaced so there will be no leakage. You can get an assortment of gaskets
and locking nuts from any hardware or building supply
center. Occasionally the drain line itself will have deteriorated and need
to be replaced.
Tip: You should place a pan or other container under the trap to catch
contents from the trap and the drain line to keep spillage
from the floor or bottom of the cabinet.
Once the trap is removed, insert the end of the drum augur into the drain
line and follow the operating directions in the above
description. When you think you have loosened the debris, pull the augur
cable in and out a few times while continuing to turn it
clockwise and then withdraw the augur from the drain line. You can either
reconnect the trap and drain line or insert a garden hose
into the drain line to test whether you have penetrated the blockage. Once
you get water to flow through the drain line, you may
want to run the augur in again to further dislodge the blockage.
Step 3:
Reassemble the trap or reinstall the sink stopper. Be sure the brass or
plastic nuts holding the drain line together are snugly
tightened with a good gasket in place, but do not over tighten.
Tip: Before replacing things you may have stored underneath the sink or
lavatory, run water threw the line and check to see if
there are any leaks. If there are leaks, slightly tighten the nut where the
leak is found. This usually will stop any drips. If dripping
persists, it may mean that the gasket needs to be replaced.
Tip: before storing the drum augur, rinse the augur cable off with warm
clear water as contents from the drain line will sometimes
adhere to the cable. Allow the augur to dry before returning it into the
canister to prevent it from rusting.
Steps to Unstop Tub or Shower Drains
Step 1:
You can try to clear the stoppage by using the chemical or herbal drain line
cleaner as described above. If this is not successful,
follow the next steps.
Step 2:
Before you begin, put on the protective thin surgical gloves to protect your
hands. The procedure is much the same as for
unstopping sink or lavatory drains except that the trap underneath the tub
or shower is usually not easily accessible. For the tub,
you will need to remove the stopper and run the augur into the drain line
where the stopper was. For showers, you will need to
remove a slotted covering over the drain at the bottom of the shower. These
are usually held in place with a couple of screws
around the outer edge of the drain cover. Insert the drum augur as described
above, and if the blockage is not too severe or too far
down the drain line, you should be successful in unstopping the drain line.
Tip: Before putting the tub stopper or drain cover back in place, run some
warm water through the line to wash away as much of
the debris as possible and to make sure the water is draining away at a
sufficient rate.
Tip: As above, rinse the drum cable and allow it to dry before putting it
away for storage to be certain that any debris has been
washed off and the cable does not rust.
Unclogging Stopped-up Toilets
Step 1:
Begin by putting on thin surgical gloves to protect your hands. Often times,
using a toilet plunger will open the blockage by
dislodging the contents if they are stuck in the trap at the bottom of the
toilet. Depress the plunger, place the plunger over the
drain at the bottom of the toilet, then, pull up on the plunger handle. If
the debris is not too compacted, this may loosen the
blockage by pulling the clog back toward the plunger rather than compacting
the clogged debris into a solid mass. If this
technique does not loosen the blockage after you have tried several times,
place the plunger against the bottom of the toilet bowl
keeping the handle as near to vertical as you can. Work the plunger up and
down. The plunger will tend to form a seal with the
toilet bowl which helps increase the downward pressure on the blockage. If
after a number of vigorous attempts this doesn’t work,
follow the next step.
Step 2:
Use the closet augur as described above. This will most often, but not
always dislodge the blockage. If it does not succeed, it may
mean that the blockage is further down the drain line than the augur can
reach. You may have to try to find a “clean out” opening
to the sewer line which should be located somewhere below the pipe coming
down from the toilet. You would need to remove a
cover with a wrench and would most likely need to use a stiffer cable.
Tip: Be sure to rinse off the plunger and augur and let the cable dry before
storing it.
If the line was installed a number of years ago and there are trees in the
surrounding area, tree roots may have grown into the
sewer line. This usually requires a powered cutter blade inserted into the
line. It may be more practical in that case to hire a
company like Roto-Rooter to do the work. Also, in older installations, the
sewer pipe under ground may have been broken which
would mean that the sewage might be leaking into the ground which could
contaminate the soil surrounding the pipe. In this case,
the line might have to be repaired or replaced.
If you have been successful in unclogging the drain line, you can feel a
great sense of accomplishment knowing that you have
solved a significant problem. And, you will also have saved some money. Best
yet, you will come away with a sense of satisfaction
in knowing that you have accomplished something that many have been fearful
of attempting.
By Gil Johnson at Vision Aware


From the pages of Donna’s diary
Protecting your passport

There are two major things that you need to protect when it comes to your
First your date of birth
Next your photo ID.

These are the two things that scammers grab when it comes to your passport.
They use these two pieces of info to create fake passports for others.
This is called identity theft.
You are always asked to produce your passport whenever you travel
and it is the main piece of photo ID when travelling by air domestically.

Another piece of important passport info is your passport number.
Always guard this with your life.

I’m Donna J. Jodhan enjoying my travels.

To learn more about me, visit

On your next trip you could enrich your down time with some of my audio
mysteries. Take them with you wherever you go!
In the car, on the plane, on the bus or train, at the beach, anywhere!
Affordable, portable, (computer or i device) and you could either purchase
or Subscribe for unlimited access to my library at
and you can now take advantage of our free downloads here.

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