~Shopping With Your Man….  Better Known As Don’t Do It! ~

I have no idea why I am writing this.  I think it is part exercise to get me going again and part warning to those who have not yet ventured down this avenue with their spouse or significant other.  It’s a warning ladies, I’m tellinya… Don’t do it!

Opening Scene- My living room.  I stopped as I carried clean laundry upstairs, “What is wrong with the television, it looks weird?” 

It’s worn out.  We’ve had it since the first year we were married, it’s old,” he informs me.

I watch him fiddle with things in the back of the television.  I don’t go back there unless I’m dusting or need to dub a tape.  I let his words settle and debate whether that was a smart-ass comment toward our age, the length of our marriage, or the truth.  Today it feels like the truth.  I bought his prized television set that he is
messing with Super Bowl Sunday four months after we were married.  Back then, our local football team was actually in the big game, not that we won but that is another matter.  The television died one hour before the pre-game.  You have to understand the man is obsessed with football when they are winning and hockey all year round.  We had people coming over for a party. I had cooked all morning, I sent him and his best buddy off to the now defunct Silo.  Wow, did we get one massive television with all the bells and whistles.  I think he had sucker tattooed to his forehead when he walked in the door and they pounced on it.

Back to the present as I stare at him, “Can you fix it?”

“I don’t think so; it looks like we might have to buy a new one.” 

I stopped dead in my tracks, came down the stairs and looked at him.  I waited. I knew what I was looking for, it was 'the look'.  I held my laundry basket, “Hmmm, no look,” I said to myself.  It really must be dead this time.  “Oh Great! There goes the budget,” was the only thing that I said before he shot out from behind the television, called the kids, and grabbed his coat.  I was still standing in the living room wondering what the hell happened while they were out beeping the horn in the truck.  I looked down at my laundry basket and set it on the floor.  “This is not good,” I spoke to the clothes. 

After I did one little thing with my measuring tape, I was ready to go.  As I shrugged on my coat and headed to the truck, it dawned on me that he took my words to mean, he could buy anything he wanted.  “Not happenin’,” I whispered as I walked down the sidewalk to the truck. 

The kids were happy, he was happy; I was confused as we pulled into our local Circuit City.  Unloading the kids, I know that he is serious now.  Circuit City doesn’t have carts, they have one cart and it is usually filled with junk.  He wants to keep track of Zach and do some serious shopping; the stroller came out of the back of the truck lickety-split. Yep, he’s primed for this.

Scene Two- The hunt begins.

Okay for those who don’t know, I’m a closet computer geek.  I know I spend too much time at Circuit City when Jim, Brandon, Jason, and Mike are jumping in front of me as I walk in the door and calling me by my first name.  “Hello,” I say, as I smile to them.  The four of them begin to follow me but it shocks them when I turn left and head for the televisions instead of right to the computer section. 

“What are you looking for Kel?Mike smiles.  He’s the store manager better known as my personal shopper.

He knows I know, I can tell.  The dude wants my money and he knows it’s a sure sale.

“He needs a television,” I point to Curt.  I’m not really interested since I don’t watch a ton of television.  “I’ll be over there, narrow it down, and then show me. I turn to Curt,"No plasma, it's too expensive.”

“Okay,” my sweetheart grins at me. His fingers have a death grip on Zach's stroller.

I shake my head. I’m a little scared; he has the glint in his eyes.  This man has an appetite for expensive gadgets as much as I do. There is no need for him to ask where I’m going, he knows I’m going to the computer section and he’ll yank me back later when he needs me. 

I mill around for about an hour, now I’m annoyed, it doesn’t take that long, it’s a television.  I announce my annoyance to Jason, who through the lack of customers decides to hang with me so we speak computer geek together. 

“I have narrowed it down to three,” Curt announced as he grabs my arm and practically runs to the televisions. One hand is still wrapped around the handle of the stroller.

“Okay,” I follow like a lamb being lead to slaughter.  He is way too excited over this.  The warning buzzer is sounding in my head and I see the flashing read lights, ‘danger, danger,’ chimes in my head.

The first stop is a huge 60-inch television, rear projection, HDTV Monitor, all the toys a boy could want.  “Are you kiddin’ me?  Where the hell are we going to put that?  We’d have to put the love seats on the porch!”  Okay so maybe I shouldn’t have been so obnoxious about it but geez, the thing was worth more than my 95’ Lumina, I think it costs more too.  I shake my head no at him.  (On a side note, never use two love seats in your living room.  It looks cute in the decorator magazines.  In real life, owning them is a pain in the ass.  There is nowhere to lie down, especially when your husband is 6 feet tall and you have booted him out of your bed.)

“But you can watch movies formatted the same size as you do at the theater.” 

His voice wasn’t shrill but I did register the whine in it.  “The last movie I watched on our TV was Finding Nemo and it looked just fine to me.”

“But…” Curt said as he turned to Tony, his sales guy. Tony looked like he was going to cry along with Curt.  “It has picture in picture,” my hubby whines.

“That is what the back button is for.”  Sorry I’m the dead-pan queen and I couldn’t resist.  He drives me nuts with that surfing crap as it is. Just what I need, to have watch two TV shows at the same time.  Hell I can’t even get enough time to watch one.

“She doesn’t get it,” he shook his head at Tony.

“Let me show you what else he has picked out,” Tony motioned me down a few televisions.  “This has all the same features as this one but it’s only 45 inches instead of 60 inches.”

The only thing I could think of was, oh goody, I get to keep the chair my mother sits in.  “It’s still too big for my living room.”

“Well how about this one?” My honey is now standing on the other side of the display. The disgust fully registered on his face.

I walk up and I knew exactly how pissed he was because I squashed his little television wet-dreamI am now looking at a 13” color television with a crappy picture.  I cannot even see the writing on the screen with my bifocals on and it’s only a commercial.  “What no black and white?” the remark was sarcastic, it was meant to be.

Mike, the store manager, steps in. He has a small bead of perspiration on his forehead, he knows me as well as you can know a customer who is in your store at least once a week.  I’m getting pissed and he is going to try and save the sale.  “Okay let’s look at some other options,” he begins to show me different televisions while my beloved stares at the television he wanted and sulks because he knows he can’t have it.  Tony is lost and Mike is trying damn hard to please me.  I was surprised I didn’t get the “How much do we spend on computer stuff?” argument.  That one is a standard in Curt's book when he doesn’t get his own way.

I pull a piece of paper out of my pocket, my dear hubby flys up the aisle to stand by me.  This could be something that could foil his plans completely. 

I hand Mike the piece of paper.  “These are the measurements of my old television.  Find me a set that fits in that space, nothing larger.”

“Okay,” Mike smiles and pats my man on the back.

I swore I heard him say, “I got you covered.”

I disappear again to go check out a new hard drive that I really wanted.  It’s so pretty!  A USB plug in, 120 GB, hot swappable, media center, and spinning at a lovely 7200 rpms.  “What’s the hubby doing?”  I hear over my shoulder, it’s Jason again. 

“New television,” I answer as I tell Zach to sit down for the hundredth time since we came in the door.  I took Zach with me sparing the other customers the usual three year old conversations.

“They are giving out gift cards with the televisions.  Depending on how much you spend, you can get up to two hundred bucks back.”  Jason speaks and smiles. 

The man is no dummy, he now has my full attention.  I’m already calculating mail time and if I can beat hubby to the mailbox.  The machine in my hand with tax is slightly less than the max gift card amount.  Adding up to free for me plus a rebate on the drive. “Really,” I reply with just a little too much zeal.  Jason is laughing now.

“Hey babe,” comes from across the store.  I recognize the voice and the set-up.  He only calls me that when he wants something.  LOL   I wander over as I once again deal with Zach squirming out of the stroller and Brie asking for an Eminem CD.  She gets a resounding no for not being age appropriate and she knows it.  We have done this before.  As we trail to the other side of the store, we get in the argument familiar to all parents.  “But Josh has it; his Mom bought it for him.”

“I’m your Mom, not Josh’s, and I say no.”  Off she goes to find something else.  I shake my head as she slinks off like her old man.  Two peas in pod those too.

I now am presented with three new choices.  All of them are HDTV televisions, none of them are the projection type, and they are all smaller.  I’m seeing a theme here.  We go through the list of features of each one and compare which has what.  My head is swimming when the conversation turns to, the HDTV part.  I guess from my understanding regular television will be broadcast in HDTV by FCC requirements by some specific date looming in the future, which I missed because I wasn’t really paying attention, I was looking at the televisions.  I see something I don’t like, it’s annoying, and bordering on driving me nuts.  “What is that black box around the screen?”

Okay the two men snicker, I’m not happy and if this keeps up we’ll all be watching television in our bedroom.  Wait, I don’t want that.  Mike launches into his speech about the new standards and it boils down to what the television can and can’t handle.  “Okay, well I don’t like the black box, I want one without it.”  There goes the snickering again.  I’m maneuvered to the end of the aisle to see a television that doesn’t have the black box. 

“This is the same as those only it’s wide screen,” Mike smiles at my husband.  I look at my husband; his eyes are dancing, he's almost salivating.  I push the stroller towards him because this has now been a two hour ordeal with a whiney ten year old who is not getting her own way and a three year octopus that I wish I had the roll of duct tape out in the Blazer to tape his rear into the damn stroller. 

“And this means what?” I look at Mike.

Dear husband never missing the opportunity to be as sarcastic as I am spreads his arms.  “It means it’s wider,” he grins.  He sees the look on my face and drops his arms.  Twenty-yard penalty and he knows it.  He’d better shut up now or he is out of luck.

“It means, no black box,” smiles Mike.

“Fine I’ll take it.”  I look around.  “They don’t sell console TV’s anymore do they?”

“No those are dinosaurs,” Mike smiled as he pulled the tag and almost danced away.

Now I was offended, that was a good dinosaur and I loved it.  “Hey, wait a minute,” I grabbed Mike by the arm.  “We have Direct TV so I don’t think the receiver we have will work on that television from what you told me.  Will it?”

My husband’s mouth fell open, he didn’t think I knew about that. Haha, I got you sucker.

“Oh it will work but you won’t get the HDTV part except for local channels and only if you have an antenna on the roof.”

I’m gaping at him now.  I did a boogie dance the year I booted that archaic sucker off my roof. It wasn’t going back on, over my dead body.  “I’m not paying for something I can’t use.”  I look at my honey; he looks like he’s going to cry again.  “Find me a receiver to match the televisionOh and I need a stand too.”

“You need to subscribe to the service for the HDTV.”

“Whatever,” I replied as I watched my husband waiting for the glorious little Touch Down dance they do at the end of the field but he did well in containing himself.  We won’t talk about the weight of the monster, the two hours it took him to program all the shit, or the cord they forgot to sell him and he had to go back for.  Of course, they were out so he had to drive thirty miles to a Best Buy to get it.  Some things I just have to hold onto for future use, snicker, snicker.

I did get to pick the stand out, how nice of him, even if they are all ugly silver and don’t match a damn thing in my house.  So, we now are the proud owners of a 34” wide screen WEGA television, sitting on an ugly stand, but damn Backstreet looks good on it. 

By the way, I did beat him to the mailbox to get the gift card.  He was looking for it everyday.  It took him awhile, when he finally figured out that there was a new portable drive attached to one of the computers, he called me his standard name for me.  “Witch!” and laughed.

Ya snooze, ya lose bud!”  I laughed as I fired up my computer.  “Go watch TV with the kids.”

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