How to Buy and Install a Patio Umbrella

1.Take your choice - patio umbrellas can stand alone or top a table built for their pole to slide through. Table umbrellas set a shady table, but freestanding styles can go anywhere.
2.Find the perfect place for your umbrella. A flat spot that needs shade to be comfortable works for both kinds, but put table models between the kitchen door and the outdoor cooking area for convenience.
3.Measure your available space to decide what size and height umbrella suits you. Check that there's room for the table and chairs and that the open canopy clears nearby trees and structures.
4.Balance the size of the umbrella and its base, especially if you purchase them separately. Don't put a 4-foot umbrella over a table 6 feet in diameter if you want to dine in the shade (besides, it looks funny).
5.Be aware that single canopy umbrellas in solid sheet vinyl can topple in a stiff breeze and trap heat, too. Check out double canopy designs made from porous weaves.
6.Choose a pole made in one piece if you can, but in any case be sure the pole can support your umbrella, opens and closes easily and fits your table. Go for a taller pole, if space permits, to cast a bigger shadow.
7.Pick a heavy-duty base weighted with sand or water to make installing your patio umbrella a breeze - just put it in place and fill. If you choose a flatiron base, be sure its fittings fit your pole.
8.Look for canopy fabrics that resist mildew and rot. Fringes can be especially difficult to keep clean.
9.Think cool colors that reflect heat - avoid navy, black and deep purple for the canopy.
10.Get a friend to help you put the umbrella up - the contraption can be heavy and unwieldy. Put the filled base in place, connect the closed umbrella to its pole, insert securely into its base, open the umbrella and thank your friend. 
Clean canopy and repaint poles and bases as needed, but at least annually. Replacement canopy patterns let you customize the look to suit your style.
Fill vases that attach to poles with fragrant flowers and string twinkling lights in the canopy to set a party mood.
Umbrellas range widely in price and quality - expect to pay between $100 and $300 for a quality patio umbrella.    

How to Reply to an E-mail Message

1.Click on the closed e-mail message to select it, or open the message.
2.From the Message menu, click on Reply, or click Reply in the toolbar. A new message window will open. The recipient's address will appear automatically in the To field. The Subject will be the same subject as in the original message, and the content of the original message will usually be included, preceded by > signs.
3.Add your new content to the message. If desired, you can delete part or all of the content from the original message. You can also add new content at any place in the message so it resembles a conversation. This is called "continuing the thread."  
Tips: Depending on your e-mail software, you might be able to use a function called Reply To or Select Recipient. This will send the message to anyone whose name you select from your list of nicknames or from your Address Book. The name of the function may be different in various software programs, so look for a similar command. 
Warnings: Leaving all content from the original message is a waste of bandwidth and may hamper the recipient's ability to download the message if the e-mail is especially long. It's a good idea to delete much of the original content and leave only enough so the recipient can remember what was said in the earlier message.   

How to Use Caffeine Pills Safely

1.Use caffeine pills sparingly.
2.Drink eight glasses of water a day. Caffeine has a diuretic effect.
3.Take caffeine pills early in the day. Using them after 4 p.m. will make it hard for you to sleep.
4.Take extra calcium if you use caffeine pills more than once a week. Caffeine causes the body to underutilize available calcium.
5.Check your pulse while on caffeine pills. It should be less than 86 beats per minute. If your pulse is 90 or greater, don't use them again.
6.Taper caffeine pills slowly to avoid withdrawal effects, such as headaches and irritability.
7.Know that substituting caffeine pills for a good night's rest is a bad idea. There is no substitute for a good night's sleep. You may have a false sense of wakefulness, only to find yourself asleep at the wheel moments later. 
Caffeine is a major ingredient in many over-the-counter analgesics containing aspirin and phenacetin. If you're sensitive to caffeine or are trying to quit taking it, read the labels of your analgesics.
One of the larger caffeine pill manufacturers is the pharmaceutical company SmithKline Beechum. If you have more questions about caffeine pills, call the company on a weekday at (800) 245-1040. 
Avoid using caffeine pills if you are pregnant or suspect you might be. Caffeine increases the risk of a miscarriage.
If you are taking anti-coagulants or MAO inhibitors, check with your doctor before taking caffeine pills. Don't take them if you're under 18, if you have any history of seizures (even those caused by fever when you were a child), or if you have blood pressure or heart problems.
If you have any questions or concerns, contact a physician or other health care professional before engaging in any activity related to health and diet. This information is not intended as a substitute for professional medical advice or treatment.    Steps:
1.Take the diet pill whole, with a full glass of water. Never crush the pill and dissolve it in a beverage.
2.Drink eight glasses of water a day. Diet pills often have a diuretic effect - in other words, they cause you to urinate more frequently, which can lead to dehydration.
3.Take only the recommended dose. Taking more will not help you lose more weight. It will increase your risk of side effects.
4.Check your pulse while on diet pills. It should be less than 86 beats a minute. If your pulse is 90 or higher, stop taking them.
5.Follow the diet plan enclosed in the box of diet pills. You will not lose weight if you don't reduce calories.
6.Stop taking the diet pills after three months. Some studies have found that the common diet drug phenylpropanolamine is safe to use for up to 16 weeks. Other studies have shown that it can cause health problems in under a month. 
Your local pharmacist can help you determine whether diet pills are safe for you to use.
Be careful about "natural" ingredients; just because something is derived from a natural source doesn't mean it's safe. Ma huang is a botanical source of ephedrine, which is a stimulant, and guar gum. Both are being studied for potential side effects. 
Avoid diet drugs of all types if you have high blood pressure, thyroid or prostate problems, a mental illness, or an irregular heart rate. Don't take them if you have had strokes or seizures. They shouldn't be taken with cold medicines, especially those containing decongestants. Don't take them if you are pregnant or nursing.
Avoid taking diet drugs if you are allergic to sulfites or tartrazine.
Avoid caffeine pills if you are pregnant, or suspect you might be. Caffeine increases the risk of a miscarriage.
Check with your doctor before taking diet pills if you are under 18 or over 60.   

How to Make a Family Time Capsule

1.Determine how long you want to put your time capsule away. Is it something you want to look at in 5 years? 10? 20? Will you take it out for a special occasion, such as an anniversary or a 21st birthday? Or do you want to hide it away for the next generation to find?
2.Decide where to put it. Keep in mind that you may move before the appointed time, so think about putting it where you can easily find it.
3.Decide what container to use. You can buy containers designed for time capsules, or use any waterproof, airtight and preferably fireproof vessel.
4.Ask everyone in the family to contribute an item - clippings, photographs, letters, arts and crafts, toys or just about anything else that fits into the capsule.
5.Protect the contents from decay. Put them into individual, airtight plastic bags and store them in a cool, dry location. For extra protection, consider copying them onto acid-free paper first.
6.Store photographs correctly - ask at a photography or crafts store if you aren’t sure how to treat your photos.
7.Leave out any substance that could decay and damage the other contents of the box. This includes rubber, wool, wood, PVC, and any perishable or edible item. If you must include any of these, put them in an air-tight plastic bag.
8.Mark everything clearly so you or others will know where each item came from and who included it when the time comes to open the capsule. Don’t assume you will remember all the details. You may also want to include a detailed inventory of all the items.
9.Fill the capsule and seal it, then put it out of sight and out of mind. Make sure you store your capsule in a place where your kids won’t get impatient having to look at it every day.
10.Leave yourself a reminder about the time capsule in a place where you are likely to find it if you move or if your home suffers any damage. 
Black-and-white photos last longer than color photos and will not fade as much - use them whenever possible.
Have each family member include a letter to the older version of himself or herself, or to future generations, if the capsule will be stored that long. Mention favorite foods, music, books, movies and hobbies.
If you plan to seal the time capsule away for more than a generation, include instructions for using any equipment or recordings you include. Your compact discs and videocassettes may very well be obsolete 100 years from now.   

How to Go Wild and Splurge on Valentine's Day

1.Buy ads on local television and radio stations declaring your undying love.
2.Show up at your Valentine's workplace in a stretch limousine.
3.Make sure the limo is stocked with champagne, caviar and strawberries.
4.Drive your Valentine past the billboard where you've proclaimed your love for the whole world to see.
5.Drop in at a designer shop or two to pick up appropriate travel and evening togs. Donna Karan and Armani wear well anywhere.
6.Remember you'll need luggage, too. Louis Vuitton matching sets will be perfect.
7.Tell the chauffeur that the airport is the next stop.
8.Take time to offer a bauble - men like Rolex watches, women like jewelry from Tiffany.
9.Call ahead so the hotel concierge can have a limousine waiting at your destination - Mercedes or Rolls-Royce should be specified.
1..Whisper to your Valentine that the penthouse, presidential suite will be carpeted in rose petals.
1..Order room service and dine by candlelight on the suite's patio. Perhaps cauliflower soup with caviar, herb salad, and duck with coriander and orange, with a tarte Tatin with quince for dessert will appeal.
1..Place tickets to the symphony, opera or ballet in the box with the next bauble. Pearls for evening wear are nice for her; he'll prefer carved gold cufflinks.
1..Follow up with drinks and dancing at a trendy cafe.
1..Leave an 11 a.m. wakeup call, followed by breakfast in bed.
1..Make sure the chauffeur has fresh flowers and champagne in the limousine for the return trip to the airport.
1..Order a personal picnic basket to be waiting at your first-class seats. In Paris, ask owner Claude Terrail of the La Tour d'Argent in the Latin Quarter to prepare something special.
1..Top off the perfect getaway by having a having a new car awaiting your Valentine upon arrival home. Men should like the new Corvette. Women will go for a BMW 5 Series Touring Sedan. 
Tips: You can often do something wild and unusual for your Valentine without blowing your bank account. Limousine rentals are generally affordable. Fill one with balloons and send it to pick up your Valentine for dinner at a fine restaurant. 
Remember to pocket those passports.
Following this script carefully might be hazardous to your credit-card balance.   

How to Play Jelly Bean Hunt

1.Purchase a big bag of jelly beans.
2.Hide jelly beans in a specific area inside your home or yard (living room or family room, for example) and tell the players what that area is so they don't wander too far.
3.Give each child a bag or have each decorate a small paper basket as a party activity.
4.Set a time limit, such as three or five minutes.
5.Tell the children to find as many jelly beans as possible during this time.
6.Explain that the jelly beans might not be in plain sight and might be hidden underneath or behind things.
7.Send the players off.
8.Assist younger players by pointing out where they should look.
9.Call that time is over when it has expired.
1..Help the children count their jelly beans when the time runs out.
1..Award prizes to the winners. You may wish to give one prize for each age group. Let all the children keep their jelly beans.  
Vary this game by assigning each child only one color jelly bean to find.
After the jelly bean hunt, let the children glue some of the jelly beans to paper to make Easter pictures.    

How to Select a Gift for a 7-Year-Old Boy

1.Ponder his tastes: Is he hooked on reading? Computer games? Swimming? Kite flying?
2.Browse a toy store, real or virtual, and find something that seems likely to fit his fancy.
3.Consider software, books, music, sports equipment, board games, puzzles, activity kits and action figures.
4.Check in with his parents if you're in doubt. They're in the best position to know what might please him - and they also know what he already has.
5.Be practical: Give clothes, school supplies or a lunch box.
6.Give a gift certificate if you're out of time, out of space or out of ideas - that way he'll get the joy of choosing his own gift.
7.Take him on a one-on-one outing: His parents will get a break and you'll get quality time together. 
Tips: Make sure whatever you settle on is returnable so you're not a contributor to that stack of unused items in the garage. 
Warnings: Check labels and packaging to make certain your gift is safe for a seven-year-old - you don't want to be an unwitting contributor to an accident.   

How to Guard Yourself Against Con Artists

1.Beware of free vacations, sweepstakes prizes, quick cures and get-rich-quick schemes.
2.Avoid revealing your credit card number, social security number, phone card number or bank account numbers over the phone. Some con artists pose as law enforcement officers to request such information.
3.Avoid 900 numbers, which charge you for the call.
4.Ask for financial reports if a caller requests a donation for charity.
5.If you receive items in the mail that you did not order, you are not obligated to pay.
6.Request written information by mail, research the proposition carefully and get second opinions before agreeing to anything.
7.Read contracts before signing anything. 
Be suspicious of high-pressure sales and cash-only demands.
If you find yourself a victim of mail fraud, keep all letters and envelopes involved and contact the U.S. Postal Service or district or state attorney's office.
If you've been cheated, contact the police, a consumer advocacy group or your city or state consumer protection office. 
Many con artists target older people.
When in doubt, refuse to provide any information or to continue talking with the individual or individuals on the phone or at your door.   

How to Save a Macintosh Document in PDF (Acrobat) Format

Print to a PDF Using Distiller
1.Open the file you want to turn into a PDF.
2.Choose File, then Print.
3.Choose Save As File from the pop-up menu usually displaying General in the Print dialog box.
4.Choose Acrobat PDF from the Format pop-up menu.
5.Choose File from the Destination pop-up menu.
6.Click Print or Save to close the Print dialog box. In some programs, such as QuarkXPress, you may return to another Print dialog box. If so, simply click Print again.
7.Fill in a file name and location, then click Save.
8.In some programs, such as QuarkXPress, you may need to fill in a file name and click Save, then click Print. Follow the dialog boxes as they appear, and respond accordingly. 
Be certain that the full version of Adobe Acrobat (not just the Reader) is installed.
If you can’t choose Save As File from the Print dialog box and you have the Distiller installed, you can still create a PDF. Follow the steps in the next section.  
Choosing PDFWriter Manually

9.Choose Chooser from the Apple menu.
1..Choose Acrobat PDFWriter from the Chooser, then close the Chooser window.
1..Go back to the application you were using, and choose Print from the File menu to display the Acrobat PDFWriter Print dialog box.
1..Be certain Prompt for Document Info is checked if you want to complete document information, such as a creator name, then click OK. Click OK in the Document Info dialog box to be prompted to enter a file name.
1..If you don't want to be prompted for document info, uncheck Prompt for Document Info and click OK. You'll be prompted to provide a file name and location for your new PDF. Fill in the desired information, then click OK. 
Tips: When you're finished making PDFs, go back to the Chooser and re-select your usual printer.    

How to Pay Taxes With Your Credit Card

1.Complete your federal income tax return. If you have a balance due, consider using your credit card to pay the tax bill.
2.Use a MasterCard, American Express or Discover card. Visa does not participate.
3.Include your credit card information when you are filing your tax return electronically.
4.Call (888) 2PAY-TAX (888-272-9829) if you're mailing in your return or if you've already filed electronically. This is a toll-free call.
5.Provide the requested information as well as the date you want the payment made. You have through April 17, 2000 to pay.
6.Note the confirmation number you are given on the phone. This (and your credit card bill) is your proof of payment.
7.Expect a "convenience fee" based on the amount charged to be added to your credit card bill. The fee averages 2.5 percent; it is $3 for up to $100 and $68 for $2,000 to $2,699.
8.Pay the bill in full when received or be prepared to pay the credit card's usual interest charges. The charge will be labeled "U.S. Treasury."
9.Rest assured that the IRS does not receive or want your credit card information. 
Use your credit card only if you filed a tax return last year and, if you filed a joint return, were the primary taxpayer - the first one listed.
You may use your credit card to pay another person's tax bill.
Pay estimated taxes by credit card if you wish.
Get an automatic extension to file by charging additional taxes owed by April 17. You won't need to send in Form 4868.
Some credit cards may give you bonus miles and other perks.
Use the same toll-free number to pay an income tax balance due California, Connecticut, Illinois, Minnesota, New Jersey, Oklahoma or the District of Columbia. 
Warnings: Once you authorize payment through your credit card, you cannot change your mind and retract your decision.