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Start the year on an organized note; not everyone does

Take a deep breath. You made it through the holiday season. Before it becomes a distant memory, however, take few minutes _ now _ to jot down what worked and what didn't. Armed with a list of what you gave to whom and who gave you what; which recipes were easy and delicious, and which caused endless frustration; which events you would love to repeat and which not. When you prepare for the holidays next year, you'll be able to coast into them.

Done? Good. As a reward, read on and chuckle at some of the more interesting questions and comments that passed across Action desks nationwide in years past:

+ I need information on how to contact Benjamin Franklin. I really want to talk to him.

+ My oldest sister is going to have a baby and doesn't know what to do. Can you tell us?

+ While working for a pickling firm, I sneezed and my upper dentures flew onto the conveyor and were crushed in the cutter. The company says I was imprudent to sneeze into a food product instead of turning my head and won't pay for my new dentures.

+ I always thought that when you work for a company the last one to be hired was always the first one to be laid out.

+ I am extremely fat around the middle and am looking for something that melts fat while taking a bath.

+ After waiting about four weeks with no reply, I sent a letter of inquisition . . .

+ I'm interested in having my sex changed and would like to know where to go. Also, how much does this cost? I have no allotment in my budget for this.

+ My son-in-law is being accused of welfare fraud by the food stamp people. I was always under the impression that food stamps were not considered public assistance.

+ I would like to know how to get an obituary on one William Lee Jr. He died on Nov. 25 or 26 in Michigan. He was 35 or 36, 6-foot-4 and was wearing a short camel coat with a wide-brim beige hat.

+ I have been disabled by the doctors and I can't work.

+ Please tell me how deep you would have to dig to get a constant year-round temperature and what that temperature would be.

+ I am writhing about my Social Security . . .

+ There is a wrecked automobile in the front yard that has been there for many, many months. In addition to the car being wrecked, it appears the people who own the car are now cannibalizing it.

+ To the best of my knowledge I believe I had a couple of airline tickets to Africa that either the police or my own family stole. Can you find or replace these tickets so my friend and I can get out of this town and visit Africa?

+ My lawyer was keeping the deed to my house for me, but he has taken off for Wyoming to become a crop duster. How do I get my deed back?

+ Please get a refund for me from Black's Hardware. I bought my husband a power saw for Christmas, and now he does not want it. Black says he won't give back the money because he sent in the warranty and my husband cut down a few trees with it. But I know we don't have to pay for something we don't want.

+ My landlord won't put a lock on my bathroom door. I live alone and can't do it myself. I like my privacy.

+ Please ask the Tennessee Nursery and Seed Co. to send my usual order this spring. I was very busy last fall and did not have time to answer my mail.

+ Is it true that Florida law prohibits a man giving his girlfriend less than a 50-pound box of candy?

+ In these days of women's lib, shouldn't manhole covers more properly be called personhole covers?

+ I'd like to know which freezes faster, hot water or cold water, and why.

+ This year they didn't send me what I ordered just like they didn't send me what I ordered last year. Should I order again next year?

+ I just wanted you to know I called every radio station in town at 2:20 a.m. and not one soul answered.

+ I mailed a letter containing a check Oct. 15 at the main post office. It was delivered to an address three blocks away two months later. Since all this occurred right here in St. Petersburg, is there any truth to the rumor that the last increase we had in first-class postage was to help defray the cost of storage?

+ Many years ago I was in a car accident. Since I was too young to remember, I've always wondered what happened to me. Can you find out?

Action solves problems and gets answers for you. If you have a question, or your own attempts to resolve a consumer complaint have failed, write Times Action, P.O. Box 1121, St. Petersburg, FL 33731, or call your Action number, (727) 893-8171, or, outside of Pinellas, toll-free 1-800-333-7505, ext. 8171, to leave a recorded request.

Requests will be accepted only by mail or voice mail; calls cannot be returned. We will not be responsible for personal documents, so please send only photocopies. If your complaint concerns merchandise ordered by mail, we need copies of both sides of your canceled check.

We may require additional information or prefer to reply by mail; therefore, readers must provide a full mailing address, including ZIP code. Names of letter writers will not be omitted except in unusual circumstances. Letters may be edited for length and clarity.

COMING MONDAY

It's a new year. Resolve to protect yourself and become a more savvy consumer.

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