Wit and wisdom about domestic life from Dispatch columnist Joe Blundo.

Today, Mr. Housebroken will answer your questions about remodeling, decorating and investing in real estate. Mr. Housebroken accepts no responsibility for advice that results in bankruptcy, divorce, embarrassment or small explosions.

Dear Mr. Housebroken,
I have seven Siberian huskies, six kids under 10 and a husband whose hobby is repairing motorcycles in the living room. Also, our house is situated between a strip mine and a cattle feed lot, so there's often dust in the air. Do you have any tips for keeping the house clean?
A: Keep cleaning products handy and organized so they're easy to find. Clean on a regular schedule so nothing ever gets too dirty. And encase the entire house in an air-tight cube of Lucite.

Dear Mr. Housebroken,
I've read a lot about how color can affect mood. Do you think painting my bedroom bright yellow will lift my spirits?
A: Those stories about color affecting mood really oversimplify a complex subject. For example, they usually leave out the fact that the people made happiest by a new room color are paint salesmen.

Dear Mr. Housebroken,
I have a Shaker-style dining table with Danish Modern chairs, a Victorian chandelier and Elizabethan wine goblets. What can I do to make sure this odd mix doesn't ruin the atmosphere at my dinner party?
A: Keep refilling the goblets with wine.

Dear Mr. Housebroken,
We'd like to invest in real estate in an outlying area that has low unemployment, high property appreciation and a young, energetic population that doesn't mind making a few sacrifices in order to secure a better life. Where would you look?
A: China.

Dear Mr. Housebroken,
When someone rings my front doorbell, the lights in the house dim, all the smoke alarms go off and the toilet in the half-bath flushes itself. We've spent thousands of dollars on plumbers, electricians, technicians and consultants who have attempted to solve the problem, but they can't figure out what's wrong. I'm at my wit's end. What would you suggest?
A: Have a printer make you a sign that says: "Doorbell out of order. Please knock."

Dear Mr. Housebroken
I'm enclosing the shriveled remains of a small mammal that I think has been damaging my lawn. Can you identify it and tell me what I can do to prevent more damage?
A: It's a mole, and at this point I'd say it poses no further threat.
By the way, should you notice a much larger mammal with antlers nibbling on your shrubs, just send a photograph for identification. Otherwise, the postage will cost you a fortune.

Dear Mr. Housebroken,
My husband is buying fireworks on sale now and storing them in our attic for the next Fourth of July. It gets really hot up there in the summer. How does this sound to you?
A: It sounds like a good way to make the Fourth of July come early.



Joe Blundo's column So to Speak appears in the Life section of The Columbus Dispatch. Visit his blog at Dispatch.com