TV shopping can come back to haunt you

Sunday, September 26, 2004 | 12:00 a.m. CDT; updated 8:37 a.m. CDT, Thursday, July 3, 2008

I think my husband has finally run out of patience with me. He actually raised his voice yesterday and said, “Enough already!”

  You have to understand that in our almost 30 years of marriage my husband has raised his voice no more than 10 times, and eight of those were aimed at the children.

The cause of his consternation was the pile of boxes neatly stacked on our kitchen table, all items I had purchased from a shopping channel. We had been out of town for the weekend, and one of our kids always comes by and collects the mail. Usually I’m home to intercept any packages that I don’t want discovered by my husband, but this time I was busted.

I have been labeled as moderately compulsive, and normally I can pace myself. But a week ago, I became enthralled with a gadget show and just couldn’t help myself. Within a span of three hours, I’d purchased 10 items. At the time I thought these neato doodads would change my life. But when I opened each box, with my husband scowling behind me, they somehow lost their luster.

The first item I unwrapped was a set of three silicone brush and baster combos. I explained to my husband that these brushes could come in contact with very high heat, like the grill, and not melt.

“Just what we need, now that summer is over,” he snorted.

Next, I opened a box that contained a gadget that I had ordered just for him. It was a project calculator.

“What am I supposed to do with this?” he asked, not very politely.

“You know the bedroom that we want to re-carpet?” I began. “Well, all you have to do is punch in the measurements of the room and it will tell you how many yards of carpeting you need.”

“And all I have to do is call the carpet store and they will send someone out here to measure for free,” he said, emphasizing FREE.

While he was examining the calculator and grumbling to himself, I had the opportunity I had been waiting for. I slipped two boxes off the table and kicked them under the table without him noticing.

My husband decided to open the next box himself. Pulling out two metal cans he read the label on one.

“Remover? What pray tell are we removing?”

I was hoping that this particular product was one of the boxes I had hidden.

“Remember when we tried to strip that dining room table we bought at auction?” I knew I was in trouble. “Well, you’re not going to believe how easy it is to strip old paint or varnish off of any surface.” I was beginning to sound like the host on the shopping network who convinced me I HAD to have this item.

“We bought that table right after we got married.” He was starting to raise his voice again. “We haven’t stripped anything since.”

“Well, now we’re prepared if we ever want to strip again,” I mumbled.

He did agree that we needed the next item — a two bottle combo that cleaned and moisturized leather. And when I told him we could use it on his old leather coat and even on his shoes, he seemed mildly impressed.

That emotion vanished when he opened the last box (he still hadn’t spotted the two I’d hidden.)

“What in the heck (this is a family column) are we going to do with ANOTHER waffle maker?” He was definitely raising his voice. “You never use the one we have.”

“I’m going to give the old one to one of the kids,” I answered meekly. “This one is for professionals. It’s just like the one I saw when we went out for brunch on Mother’s Day. It’s so easy to use — it beeps when it’s ready so I’ll never burn the waffles again.”

“Sharon (he NEVER calls me by my first name), how many times do you make waffles a year?”

“Well, I’m going to start making them every weekend — as soon as I buy the wheat germ that the recipes call for,” I proudly announced.

That’s when he said “Enough already!” and stomped out of the kitchen. Thank goodness I’d hidden the deluxe garnish maker. I don’t think he would be impressed with how I can turn radishes into roses.

If you have a comment or want a deluxe garnish maker (they came in a set of two), please e-mail me at

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