The leading cause of broken marriages

I’m going to put a block on The Home and Garden Channel. I don’t care what Dr. Oz says, I think it’s the leading cause of arguments between spouses in America, not money. Usually I get to the remote first, although right after the evening meal, we’re both interested in watching the news. After the news, I can usually find some program on one of the neutral channels like The Food Network, The Discovery Channel or Create that captures The Queen’s attention. She usually reposes on the couch and rarely lasts more than a half an hour or so.

Once her eyes close, the whole world of electronic entertainment is mine, all mine. I turn the sound down a little and click over to The Speed Channel or The History Channel. Sometimes I even watch some of the tattoo shows. The Queen disapproves of them, saying in her own sweet little way, “How can you watch that junk! It’s gross!” I try to convince her that I’m interested in the art work and the artistic ability of the artists on the show, I stopped saying this though when I realized how much like a friend of mine I sounded like. He tried to convince his wife that he got Playboy Magazine because he likes to read the articles, it just didn’t work for either of us.

There are those evenings that I dread, The Queen is wide eyed and alert and she gets to the remote before I do. She checks PBS and if nothing interests her, she heads for The Home and Garden Channel, I head for the kitchen and take another blood pressure pill. I really don’t mind watching many of the programs, in fact, some are very informative and quite entertaining. I find many of the ideas useful on some of the low budget shows — redoing a room for under a hundred dollars or decorating by moving some of the junk you already own from room to room.

The ones I just can’t stand are the ones where people are talked into redoing their kitchen or bath or living room or dog house or whatever just because they’re outdated. One that had me foaming at the mouth the other night had a middle aged couple who should have known better, hiring a decorator to redo their outdated 1990s kitchen. Right there, I could feel the hairs on the back of my neck rising, I live in a house built in the 1840s and some of the rooms haven’t been changed since the Civil War. They proceeded to dive into the project.

The designer felt a little limited with a budget of only $65,000 but felt that they could accomplish most of his goals by using a little creative ingenuity. The first house I owned, I bought for $20,000, I started to chew on a sofa cushion. Part of the plan for keeping the cost down was that the couple would do most of the demolition work themselves. $65,000 and they had to do the dirty work themselves! I spit out the sofa cushion and started chewing on the coffee table leg, The Queen asked me to please do it more quietly.

They gutted the kitchen, then in pulled several Mercedes wagons filled with skilled craftsmen and craftswomen. Through the miracle of time lapse photography, the three months to rebuild the kitchen just flew by, I finished the coffee table leg without making any derogatory comments that The Queen could hear. I wondered where the by now about to be divorced couple had prepared food in the interim. It was kind of touching when they revealed the finished product to homeowners who wept tears of joy and kissed the hem of the designer’s high priced jeans. It was beautiful, I had to admit and did do much to stimulate the economy, why, the 38 acres of granite countertop must have kept several quarries busy for months. The happy couple must have thought it was worth it, they didn’t even complain about the $30,000 cost overrun. The Queen found a British comedy she liked on PBS, I unclenched my fists, picked a few splinters out of my teeth and went to check the refrigerator. I left the remote in the freezer and returned to the living room.

Thought for the week — Whatever happened to Preparations A through G?

Until next week, may you and yours be happy and well.

Reach Dick Brooks at

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Johnson Newspapers 7.1


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