Thursday 18 December 2008

Stupid things my wife has bought

I feel this easily has the potential to be a long-running series, such is the almost total lack of consumer sense that both myself and my wife are capable of demonstrating.
However, I'll limit myself to just five examples for today - and all from Nini, as it's far, far easier to mock someone else for their poor purchasing decisions than it is to own up to bidding on Space Lego on eBay.

1) Square-shaped mugs
"Ooooh, they look cool", she said. "Funky and modern. I love the shape - let's buy six of them immediately. I wonder why nobody has thought of making mugs like that before?"
As it turns out, it's because they're impossible to drink from.
If you hold them up to your face and try and sip from the
flat side, the liquid within gushes down either side of your chin and all over your collar. The only way to successfully transfer the contents into your mouth is to hold them at an awkward angle and drink from one of the the corners, with all the grace and elegance of a chimpanzee drinking from the spout of a teapot.
Their time in our household was short and unpleasant, and their journey - from 'our best guest mugs', through to 'just mugs' and finally on to 'stuff for Oxfam' - was swift and unlamented.

2) Washable breast pads
Before Nini started breasfeeding, I has no idea that there was such a thing as a breast pad, much less a washable one. However, I feel I can now say, with some authority, that the washable ones are a false economy. Stick with disposables, or you will regret it. I wish I didn't know this, but I do: this is hard-earned knowledge.
If you do buy washable ones, this is what will happen: while they are in the washing machine they will somehow break free of the drum and work their way into the main filter, where they will break up and wind themselves around the motor. You will probably not even notice they have gone missing - my own wife certainly didn't think anything untoward when an odd number came out the wash, even though she clearly has an even number of breasts.
What you will notice, however, is the washing machine stopping dead and flooding the whole floor with dirty water. You will certainly notice the £150 repair bill. And you will also notice the expression on the repair mans face, when he shows you what he has pulled out the back of your machine and you explain it's a stray breast pad. Meanwhile your wife, in the grip of post-pregnancy hormone attack, will be stood behind you tearfully explaining it's not her fault, and lactating everywhere.
Good times, no? Exactly: no. Just say 'no' to washable breast pads....

3) Belgian chocolates
Here's the thing: although regular readers have no doubt come to associate me with elegance and refinement, I am in many (oh, so very many) ways a simple man. And, it must also be noted (as I have perhaps concealed this fact rather well) that I am a fussy man.
Which mean when it come to confectionery, I'm pretty much a Dairy Milk/Mars Bar/Twix kind of guy - you know, fist-sized bars and chunks: the kind of manly sweets that are issued to the SAS as rations, who can then choose to consume them as a source of vital killing energy or even whittle them into a point for a makeshift weapon
I am much less enamoured of fancy Belgian chocolates. It may well be described as 'an individual hand-sculpted bonbon, consisting of a praline centre within a dark brandy ganache, enrobed with white chocolate and dusted with crushed almonds', but to me its just a 'big cloying glob of over-fussiness that tastes of baby sick'.
Imagine, then, my delight when my girlfriend (this was in the days before what she describes as her 'demotion' to wife) bought a small, exquisitely packaged box of top quality Belgian chocolates as a gift during our first Christmas together.
I tried, I really did. I forced one down, and then left them untouched for days, until she finally remarked on the fact that I wasn't eating them - at which point I gently explained (yes, gently - our relationship was still at the point where I actually tried to hide some of my worst character flaws) that they weren't my cup of tea, at which point she expressed mild regret that I hadn't enjoyed them and scoffed the lot.
At this point, you may be thinking "What's so wrong about that? That's just unfortunate. It's not really a 'stupid thing your wife has bought', as per the title of this post..." And you would be right, that first box of chocolates does not qualify.
What does qualify is the second, identical box she bought me the following Christmas, having either (a) completely forgotten that I loathed them or (b) decided that she would buy me a present that I wouldn't want that she would then get to eat for herself.
To this day she maintains it's the former but I don' t think I believe her anymore....

4) Glitter.
Scientists have apparently proved that 75% of household dust is human skin. I take issue with that on a number of fronts.
Firstly, the universe is vast, complex, glittering puzzle, and every day the boundaries of our collective knowledge are pushed back a little further, revealing whole new realms of mystery that can be explored. That being the case, I am left wondering what kind of massive failure of the imagination
would lead a scientist to decide that the most useful area of study they could devote their life to would be evaluating the contents of their vacuum cleaner.
More pertinently,
the 'scientists' who came up with that 'fact' clearly didn't live in a house with two little girls under five years of age. If they had, they would know that almost 50% of all household dust is in fact glitter. Our house is full of the stuff - almost every day somebody says to me "Ha, you've got glitter on your face', and I sigh resignedly because it's bound to be true: the only way I could escape having glitter on me somewhere would be to not come home at all.
There is glitter in my hair, on my clothes and in my bed; I see a trail of it left in the bath when I have a shower....Please - and this is really a direct plea to my wife, who will doubtless be reading this - stop buying the kids sodding glitter.
They have enough glitter. We are maxed out on the glitter. Thanks very much in advance.

5) The 'Spirit of Christmas' room freshener spray
Clearly my concept of 'The spirit of Christmas' is different to my wifes - in fact I am not sure we have a single point of reference in common. When I think of the 'spirit of Christmas' I conjure up mental images of unwanted gifts, crippling financial outlay, gastric discomfort following the excessive consumption of mince pies, and the uneasy calm of a family in enforced close confinement that have argued themselves to a standstill.
However, her idea of the spirit of the season would seem to involve coughing, dry heaving, a nasty chemical sheen settling over the furniture, and the vile, vile, smell of moulding winter fruit.
Nothing apparently says 'Christmas' to my wife more than the very real risk of triggering an incapacitating asthma attack in her husband. Unless, of course, the idea is to simply spray the stuff around so lavishly that I am forced to leave the house and spend the entire festive period sitting in the car...perhaps that's her idea of a Christmas worth celebrating?


Anonymous said...

Reusable Breast pads are up there with reusable nappies.
can you write a post about badminton emails and the cold eastern front?

Anonymous said...

To my mind, 'The spirit of Christmas' comes in a bottle labelled 'Highland Park'.

Bah, humbug!

Misterimpatient said...

You don't know Christmas spirit until you've shoveled 12 inches of snow just so you can sit in 3 hours of traffic to travel 15 miles to family you don't even like.

Now THAT is Christmas spirit!