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Thompson: Get water out of your ears with these
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It's summer, which means it's time to hit the pool and the lake. If you or your children have a problem with water getting trapped in your ears, I've got the solution: Clear Ears. They're small sponge-like earplugs you put in your ears AFTER swimming. The plugs pull the water out of your ears in less than 10 minutes. You can find them at most drugstores or online at Cirrus Healthcare Products. By the way, this company also makes another product I really like. It's called EarPlanes. These cool earplugs help regulate the air pressure in your ear canals and reduce the discomfort of air travel. They also come in a smaller size for children.

Want to remove excess fat from the surface of your soup or stew? Just lay a piece of lettuce on top of it. The lettuce will absorb the fat and you can simply throw it away.

If a house plant gets a broken stem, just apply a splint made of toothpicks and tape ... preferably duct tape! Speaking of duct tape, I would like to send a shout out to Sandra for getting me a "Real Men Love Duct Tape" baseball cap. I get choked up thinking about it.

This is one of the best garage/basement storage tips I've ever been given. Take two scrap pieces of 2-by-4 wood approximately 16 inches long. Screw both pieces onto the sides of a wood stud in your garage, shed or basement. Angle the pieces slightly up. You can now hang your rakes and shovels on them.

Tim Thompson lives in Gainesville. E-mail Tim your ideas for tips, tools or tricks.