Mary Hunt: Divorce decrees do not faze lenders
DEAR MARY: When I divorced four years ago, the judge ordered my husband to remove my name from his truck loan (this was included in the divorce papers). My husband did not remove my name, and the truck was repossessed. I immediately called the finance company and explained everything, but nothing changed. They eventually wrote off the balance, but the repossession is still on my credit report. — ROSE, ILLINOIS
DEAR ROSE: I am not an attorney, but my understanding of the law is that your divorce decree did not bind the lender for the truck note. Your husband could have done everything, and it would not have made any difference. You were still responsible as a co-signer on the truck note, no matter what the divorce decree stated. The only thing you can do at this point is to use the order to help defuse your negative credit history should you need to apply for credit.
DEAR MARY: I joined a debt management program. The program takes out one lump sum from my checking account each month, plus a $30 fee. They did get some of the credit card companies to lower my APR, and one company lowered it to zero. I am thinking about doing this on my own, but I'm afraid that some of my creditor's will increase the APR. None of my credit card accounts have been paid off. — LINDA, EMAIL
DEAR LINDA: I would be very cautious if I were you. It sounds to me as though you are making great progress on your debt. I suggest you stay at least until several of your balances are paid off. At that point, if you still feel like you want to go it alone, be open with your counselor. Call a couple of your creditors, and ask them the consequences if you were to leave the program. Then take all of the information under advisement. Now is not the time to become overly confident.
DEAR MARY: How can I remove the grease and grime from the shop rags our mechanics use? I would like to degrease them enough so that they can be reused. — JULIE, MONTANA
DEAR JULIE: The secret is to presoak those towels in baking soda. Fill a bucket with clean, warm water and toss in the towels. A 5-gallon bucket can hold up to seven shop towels. Add a half cup of baking soda, which will help break up the grease and oil that has been ground into the towels. Soak for an hour or two. Dispose of this water as you do other contaminates in your shop.
Refill the bucket with hot water and add Goop or whatever grease-remover soap you use. Allow the towels to soak for another hour. Rinse the towels. Any oil and grease should be removed at this point. If not, repeat the process until all contaminants are removed. Once they are free of grease and oil, they can be rinsed in the sink or run through a washing machine.