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Take me out to the home show

Head for Tropicana Field in St. Petersburg, Friday through May 3, not for a Devil Rays game, but for the first non-baseball event since the Devil Rays took over the stadium: the ninth annual Spring Suncoast Home, Garden and Remodeling Show. Kitchen and bath designers, builders and remodelers, and interior designers will be on hand, along with hundreds of vendors of every imaginable product or service for your home: windows, siding, shutters, appliances, insurance, investments, the pots-and-pans guy, the device that eliminates toilet rings . . . Admission is $6.50 for adults, children 12 and under free; seniors $4 Friday only. Discount coupons available at Winn-Dixie stores. Hours: noon to 9 p.m. Friday, 10 a.m. to 9 p.m. May 2, and 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. May 3. Information: (813) 563-0502 or (800) 741-2346.

Candles light up your leisure

A spring evening out by the pool, on the deck, on the porch . . . Whether it's a family cookout, a glass of wine with friends or just an end-of-the-day cup of coffee, brighten the surroundings with candles in dramatic holders. Set floating candles in a bowl of water with some flower petals, or place lanterns around the pool or along a wall. Mix and match sizes and shapes; tuck them into flower beds; set up a row of votives in Mason jars.

Save spring cleaning for next year

Here's one week we're glad we missed: National Spring Cleaning Week, which ends today. The folks at Maitland-based Damp Rid, maker of products that eliminate mold, mildew and odors, take this opportunity to remind us that Florida is the No. 1 mildew market in the country (a distinction we would be happy to live without, thank you very much). For a free Spring Cleaning Guide to Mold and Mildew Control, call this toll-free number: (888) 326-7743. Meanwhile, make of this what you will (we're just reporting the news here): A survey conducted for Pledge furniture spray shows that, when asked to guess which First Lady is most likely to keep the White House dust-free (we said dust, not dirt!), Americans named Barbara Bush (33 percent), Nancy Reagan (31 percent), Rosalynn Carter (17 percent) and Hillary Rodham Clinton (7 percent). Get a free brochure on removing dust and allergens at (888) 647-5334.

Penguin ladder offers cool features

The Penguin two-step model is $79; a three-step version is $100.

It's the Penguin! No, not Danny DeVito in his Batman Returns role, but a platform ladder that responds to consumers' complaints about step stools that were hard to store, too short for hard-to-reach places, and caused wood splinters. The Penguin can serve as step stool, ladder or chair and comes with a removable caddy to hold cleaning or home-repair items. The aluminum ladder has outward-facing "Penguin" feet, hence the name, to increase stability and strength. The top step is large enough to maneuver or sit on. It's available at Sears, home centers and hardware stores.

_ Compiled by Homes Editor JUDY STARK