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Thompson: This handy step gives dogs a lift
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If you have a large dog, then you know the hassle of getting them into the back of a truck or an SUV. If you don’t hurt your back lifting them, they’ll hurt their hips jumping up and down from the vehicle. Well, now there’s a neat solution and it’s called the “Otto Step.” It’s a super strong piece of plastic that can fit into your trailer hitch receiver. After your dog has used it as a step, simply remove it. You can get more information on it at

Do you have a brick mailbox? If so, you need to check out the Web site Mike Blasdel, an inventor from Oklahoma, came up with this little gem. It’s a stick-on postal flag for your mailbox. (Most brick mailboxes don’t have flags to let the postal carriers know there’s any mail in the box). No tools are required for installation and it can handle temperatures well below zero and winds more than 40 miles per hour. Mike said he gets letters from postal carriers saying how much they love this flag. The best part is it only costs $6.95 and the shipping is free.

I love this tip. Take a scrap piece of carpet and cut it so that it fits between your washer and dryer. Make sure that it sticks at least two inches out in front of them. Why? The next time you drop a sock between the washer and dryer, simply pull the carpet scrap out like you’re opening a drawer — voila!

Do you know someone who has a fat wallet that sticks out from their derriere? If so, give them this Web address: This company has the thinnest wallets in the world. They’re actually made from parachute material. Check ’em out!

Last week I had a tip on how you can keep squirrels and critters out of your attic. Simply install a strobe light and it’s guaranteed to keep them away. A number of you e-mailed me asking for more specifics on what kind of strobe light to use. Helen Stell, who originally gave me the tip, uses what’s known as a “Curtain Strobe.” You can search for this online and find a number of online retailers who have them. The price seems to run from $11 up to $20 and the wattage runs from five to 15. You might need to buy multiple ones to make sure that the strobing light is covering your entire attic. You can also use a remote control light switch to make sure the strobes are off before you go into the attic (some people can get ill looking at them for even short periods of time). Let me know if you have any other questions.

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

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