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The Honolulu Advertiser
Posted on: Sunday, July 20, 2003

Home improvement leads to body's deterioration

By Michael C. DeMattos

Cable TV is ruining my life. I remember researchers in the late '70s informing the public that we simply watched too much TV.

We were cautioned that it was passive entertainment that killed the imagination. We were told that too much TV would lead to a sedentary lifestyle and unnecessary weight gain. We were counseled to reduce the amount of news we viewed as it could lead to

depression. They were right, these are all very serious problems, but they are not my problems. My problem is much more insidious. I am being done in by the do-it-yourself stations.

There is the garden channel, the homemaking channel, the repair and remodeling channel, even the too-expensive-living channel. It seems like a new channel is born with each number pressed on the remote control. They are like roaches; for each one you see, there are a hundred more lying in wait.

I suppose I have no one to blame but myself. I'm addicted!

It started innocently enough. I was sitting at home cruising the remote when I stumbled across Home & Garden Television.

I remember it like it was yesterday. They were remodeling a child's room. She had grown up and her "baby room" had become dated. She needed something more sophisticated that reflected her more mature self. My daughter, who was sitting next to me, said that she would like to do that to her room.

"Sure," I said.

It was a great idea. For just a few dollars, we could remodel her room. It would be a fun family project that we could all do together. This was TV as it was meant to be. Bringing families together. A month of planning, two weeks of heavy labor, a brief visit to the emergency room, and several hundred dollars later, my daughter has her new room.

Then came the master bath. Then the storage system in the garage. It has been nearly six months, and I have not had a peaceful weekend since that fateful day.

We have reframed pictures, decorated shoeboxes, built hat racks, changed electric sockets, and painted light switch plates. I am tired.

The worst part is that now my family is addicted too, which means double work for me. It never fails, just before I am about to doze off, my wife will say something like, "I've been thinking about upgrading the lighting in our living room."

So much for a good night's sleep.

I used to look forward to the weekends. Now I find myself daydreaming about work.

That's just wrong.

I am spending way too much time and way too much money on home projects that look way too simple on TV. Inevitably, the job is bigger than advertised.

Wholesome TV? Not in my books. I'm thinking that a little sedentary lifestyle could do me some good. In the time it would take to turn my brains to mush, my muscles could get a much-deserved rest.

The 6 o'clock news couldn't be as depressing as removing water rot from ceiling joists.

And what's a few more pounds? I hear chubby is in.

Family therapist Michael C. DeMattos has a master's degree in social work.