Hello, this is me, Helen.

Well hello there everyone, my name is Helen Gunther and I guess I am new here. Boy, I sure am bad at introductions, so let me try this again. My husband Lou once said, "Helen, you make sure you get a job and make some money after I'm gone because I don't want to look down at you and see you sitting around the house all day like you've been doing for the past 36 years. Your caboose is getting mighty fat and there are no fatties allowed in Heaven." Lou was such a dear; it's a shame the way he had to go, what with his aversion to plumbing equipment and all. I hope he's looking down at me right now, although maybe not right this second because I have been sitting in this chair all day eating chocolate marshmallow ice cream and trying to think of someting to write. Naturally I have ice cream all over my face now, so if he is looking down at me he'd probably tell me to "stop being such a fat sow" like he always said when he was alive. He cared about my health so much. Anyway, I decided that I'd better get to work like he said because I always did try to make Lou happy. When Lou was happy I was happy - like that time I made him that special chicken he liked. Boy, that was good chicken and Lou was sure happy. I guess I just like to make people happy and that is why I decided that I would start writing a nice little article every week so that people could ask me for advice and talk to me about their problems. At the same time I can also offer some helpful household tips so that people's lives get just a little bit easier. I think that Lou would be proud of me.

These are shoes like the shoes that I told my niece to wear only hers were black and didn't look like these shoes.

I'm good at giving people advice. I don't like to brag, but it's important that you know this so that you trust me with your problems. Once my niece asked me whether she should wear the blue shoes or the black shoes, and I said, "Sweetie, those black shoes really bring out the color of your eyes." She wore the black shoes! I was so proud that I was able to do something good for someone. Another time, the people who lived below me complained that some sort of strange brown liquid was coming through their ceiling and making puddles all over the darn place, so they were pretty put out. I was scared at first because I thought that maybe the liquid was coming from my large collection of locusts that tend to regurgitate brown liquid when they are nervous or threatened, just like you or I. In any case, I told the neighbors to put some gasoline on the puddles and then set them on fire. That way, the puddles would be burned up in the fire. As far as I know, problem solved, because I never heard from them again. I didn't ever figure out where the liquid was coming from, but I sure felt happy that I could help someone. A third time my advice helped someone was a year or so later when my husband Lou decided that he wanted to make some improvements in the bathrooms of our apartment. Our toilets had been backing up for some time and Lou had been putting off fixing them because he hated bathrooms and bathroom fixtures. I sure didn't blame him, but it was a little awkward doing our business in the kitchen sink, so eventually I convinced him to try and fix our problem. He was down on his hands and knees behind one of the toilets when a pipe burst and yucky-smelling water and maybe a little bit of poop started gushing out. He tried covering it with his hands, but it didn't work. He tried banging on the pipe with a hammer, but that didn't work, either. Eventually, when we were up to our knees in sewage-water, he panicked and shouted, "Dammit, Helen, what do I do?" I thought for a split second and then said, "Put your mouth over the leak! Eventually the water will run out and if you swallow it all it won't make a mess everywhere." Well, he did it, God bless him. He put his mouth over the hole and just started sucking. I guess the neighbors downstairs must have called the police or the medical people or something because in an hour or two they showed up and hauled Lou away on a stretcher. One of them used some sort of wrench or something crazy like that to stop the water. I looked down at Lou and knew right then that he wasn't going to make it. When he opened his eyes a final time and said, "Helen, you waste," I knew that he was telling me that I was wasting my time and that I should use my gift to help as many people as I could. And here I am!


Before I get started on this week's tips, I just want to thank the friendly folks at somethingawful.com for publishing my weekly article. I'm not sure how many people read the internet, but if I can help just one of them I will feel that my job here is done and then I can go and be with Lou in Heaven. I have that part all planned out, right down to the chicken wire that will hold me in place as the car rockets toward the cliff's edge. I also ask that any of you with questions that you think I could help you with, whether they be about household stuff, pets, relationship troubles, or anything, really, to write to me at helengunther@somethingawful.com. I will do my best to put your question in my article and hopefully help you! I still have to learn how to get my e-mail off of the computer machine, so if I might be slow getting back to you but be sure that I am reading your letter and trying my hardest to think of the best possible solutions. The last thing that I would want would be a repeat of what happened last summer at my sister's cottage up on the lake. They were all out of life jackets and so I, without spending very much time on the problem, suggested that as an alternative one of the kids put a tire from the old tractor around his waist with a rusty chain we had lying around. That didn't work out so well. Sometimes I still wake up screaming.

Now, time for Helen's Household Tips of the Week!

Problem:I don't know how many times people have come up to me and said, "Helen, I have a problem. There are ants all over my house!" A good many times, I can tell you that much. Well, ants can be a problem, especially if you don't have one of those dogs that eat all of the ants. I used to have a dog named Speckles who just loved ants. In fact, we didn't feed that dog anything else, ever. He seemed so happy eating the ants in our house that we neverbought dog food at all! What a silly ant-eating dog.

My doggie, Speckles, before we had to shoot him in the shed out back.

Solution:Ants, while annoying, are a simple problem to take care of as long as you have patience, rum, and a large jar of mayonnaise. Simply make a trail of mayonnaise that leads from the place where the ants are living into the trash can or garbage disposal. The ants will follow the trail and soon you will be able to either throw them away with the garbage or grind them to tiny bits. Mix the rum with the mayonnaise so that when the ants eat it, they get drunk. This way it's more humane because the ants won't be in pain when they die! Plus there's always a little rum left over afterward so that you can have some for yourself, maybe even mix it with the mayonnaise like I do. To make sure that the ants don't come back, cover the area where they used to live with pieces chewed mint gum. I saw a program on the television a couple of years ago about how ants don't like minty things, so this way, you get to eat some tasty gum as well as clear up that ant situation. Problem solved!

Problem:Some people out there have children. I wanted children once, but Lou said, "Helen, there is no way in hell I am ever putting that thing in there again, so you can just make do with a fricking cat." I assume that he meant that he was concerned that I would have health problems during pregnancy. Any problems I would have had would have been a result of me being kicked in the uterus by a horse when attempting to collect a sperm sample for a friend of mine who had an interest in genetics. But that is neither here nor there. In any case, some people have children, and we all know that children sometimes have dirty hands. This can present a problem in that they run around the house touching things and getting their germs and child-dirt all over the place. For things like glass curio cabinets or windows this can be especially bad because they leave finger prints all over the place. And we all know that glass with finger prints all over it is bad and embarrassing when people come over to the house for cocktail wieners or for those parties that Lou used to have where everyone would go into the bedroom except me.

Solution:Well you might think that kids with grimy hands leaving prints all over your glass goods is an unsolvable problem, but leave it up to old Helen to figure out a way to solve it! I spent a long time on this one and I ended up relying on personal experience to help me out. When I was 17 years old I had a favorite pet frog named Horace. We went everywhere together and he slept with me every night. One day, I woke up and found that Horace had crawled into my pantleg and suffocated. I was so sad, but I thought of a way that I could keep Horace with me forever. I went down to the local craft store and bought a bottle of that liquid latex stuff that people use to make things out of latex. I then went home and covered Horace's body with it. I still have him, and he's as good as new! He sleeps with me every night and we still go everywhere together even though I really don't leave the house except for when I have those dreams and then when I wake up I'm in the parking lot with a length of rubber hose. But anyway, fingerprints on glass are easy to take care of! Just put a layer of liquid latex over the glass. Then, put a layer on the kids' hands and all over the rest of their bodies if you're really concerned about dirty little children tracking their grime all over your house. That way, dirt falls right off of them before they even get inside and the glass in your home remains sparkly-clean. As an added bonus, you don't have to bathe the kids nearly as often and the glass you have acquires that antique look you see in all of the glass magazines these days. Problem solved!

I think this tastes good. And it's a pretty white color.

Problem:Dirty dishes that smell bad are always a problem unless, like me, you're one of those people who like the smell. I remember once I just stood in the kitchen next to the sink and breathed for hours. That was one of the days when Lou had a couple of his friends over to the house for cards and they were smoking those funny cigarettes that smelled like feet and that made me feel all woozy for hours. I remember asking Lou why I felt all dizzy and he just said, "Get back in the kitchen, Helen." He knew what I needed to do. For some reason, the smell of dirty dishes always made me feel better. Sometimes I'd even think that they were saying things to me. It was comforting, and in a couple hours time that dizzy feeling would go away. Ever since then I've loved the way dirty dishes smell. But some people disagree with me and the smell of dirty dishes can therefore be a big problem indeed.

Solution: Wait! You don't have to throw all of your dishes away! I made that mistake so many times because Lou would always complain about the smell so I'd just throw the whole shebang into the trash can. But as the years went by I started to realize that there was another way to deal with the bad smell without having to get rid of all of the dishes. You can also make sure that they never smell bad again. The answer is simple: baking soda. Just pour a few boxes of baking soda onto the dishes in the sink, and ta da! No more bad smell. They are as good as clean, and you can even eat off of them without having to bother with all of that pesky soap and water. To make sure that they never smell bad in the future, for every meal you eat, serve it on top of a nice layer of baking soda. This takes some getting used to, but eventually your family will enjoy the crisp, powdery taste at the bottom of each plate of food. The only time that this is not a good idea is when you are serving salads that have vinegar dressing. Once I gave a plate of salad to Lou that had a combination of vinegar and baking soda on it. He was burping and breaking wind like crazy for the next month and he kept saying, "You are trying to kill me, aren't you, devil woman?" That crazy Lou. But baking soda is a miracle for dishes. Problem solved!

Well there you have it! I hope that you have enjoyed my advice and I hope that it has been helpful to you. I will see you back here in a week, but in the mean time, feel free to email me at helengunther@somethingawful.com with any problems or questions you might have for me. Whew, that writing was hard work. Now I'm going to go and see what that banging and yelping noise coming from the closet in the bedroom is. It's really loud and it's been going on all day. If I didn't know better I'd say that there was an angry cow in there or something!

– Helen Gunther

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