How Soapmaking Turned Me Into an Addict


I work a full-time job during the day, and I make soap in the evenings or on the weekends. During Christmas season, I spend a lot of time wrapping and packing soap to fill orders. I live alone so I get bored when I’m wrapping 62 bars of soap or making 10 loaves of new soap. So I turn on the TV to occupy my

Now, before anyone berates me for mentioning online that I live alone, I have a very good alarm system, there are cameras recording anyone who drives into the private road leading into my tiny neighborhood, and I have one neighbor who is a cop and is also in the military, and I have another neighbor who is ex-military, and they are both packing. And I don’t mean those horrible assault rifles either; their weapons are the kind that really are weapons of self-defense. I live in a rural area and it is a good idea to be prepared, so I will soon be taking a class to learn self defense and to learn how to manage a gun myself. Besides, I may not be living alone much longer anyway.

So any burglars or axe murderers who are reading this post can just move on to an easier target. And if I still somehow manage to get burgled or axe-murdered in the near future, someone please tell CSI to check internet records to see who has read this blog post. You may all become suspects ;-)

So where was I? Oh yeah, I make soap in my kitchen where I can listen to the living room TV while I’m working. I’m a bit of a science and nature geek, so I tend to especially like the Discovery Channel, History Channel, National Geographic, Animal Planet and The Learning Channel, but I watch other channels too. It keeps my mind entertained while I’m working with my hands.Nat Geo

But when I’m watching a show and it goes off and another one comes on, the next show might be something I have no interest in, but I am usually busy so I can’t change the channel so I get stuck watching it.  I don’t even have a few seconds to spare to change the channel because timing is crucial when making cold process soap. I can’t even use the remote to quickly change the channel because I have gloves on my hands and the gloves are sticky with soapmaking ingredients.

So that means when I’m listening to Alaska: The Last Frontier, a show about homesteading in Alaska, and that show goes off and American Choppers comes on, I’m stuck listening to giant tattooed men arguing about motorcycle handle bars. (One of my brothers read this blog post and informed me they aren’t called ‘handle bars’ when they’re on a motorcycle. What do I know. I have no street cred) Choppers

It’s the same with other channels. I start off listening to something good, but end up watching golf, an infomercial, or political rants.

But every once in a while, I get interested in the next show despite myself. And that’s how my shameful addiction began . . . my addiction to reality television.

It began innocently enough, as addictions often do. One day when I was making soap and one of the good shows went off, another show came on. It was about a group of housewives.

The Real Housewives of Beverly Hills

This show was about the lifestyle of a group of thin, beautiful, wealthy ladies. They had adorable little dogs, pretty high heels, cool hair and stylish clothes. That seemed very interesting, so I kept listening. I say ‘listening’ instead of ‘watching’ because I really am working – I only occasionally look up at the TV.

The main occupation for these extremely thin and well-dressed ladies seemed to be mostly to get up in the morning, get dressed and go lounge around in gorgeous homes, exotic pools or expensive restaurants, while sipping cocktails and gossiping about the other members of the group who were not present (I never saw them actually eating, I don’t think they are allowed to eat. It must be in their contracts: No Food. Ever. No, really; EVER!).

Then there was a show about teenage moms. I am decades past my teen years but this show caught my attention one day because of the bizarre actions of one of the mothers who kept screaming at her daughter in a strange accent. I did not yet know the daughter had just gotten out of jail – again – and thoroughly deserved her mother’s anger.

Teen Mom - BarbaraThere was also a show about realtors selling New York apartments and getting such huge commissions that I thought I must had heard the figures incorrectly. There were reality dating shows, hidden camera shows and cooking competitions. There were shows about Amish people, truck drivers, mobsters, hoarders, exterminators, lumberjacks and movie stars. Shows about people who collect junk, people who make moonshine or people who put pageant dresses on their pet pigs.

There was a show about models who wore things like this:


There was a show about a really mean man who stood in a kitchen and shouted at chefs until they cried, and another show about a man who stood in the middle of a pond and yelled war whoops at snapping turtles while onlookers applauded.

And there were some people who had their own reality shows for no discernible reason that I could ever figure out.

There was even a show about a bunch of kids in New  Jersey who went out to clubs every night and drank and drank until they ran around in a circle and bumped into each other and then all fell down in a heap. That seemed to be how they knew it was time to leave the bar.

SnookiTime went on. I made more soap. I watched more TV. Before long I felt a strange compulsion to set my DVR to record these ridiculous shows.

I am ashamed to admit just how deeply I have sunk into my addiction. But I will tell you anyway. I woke up one day and realized that I MUST catch the next episode of Jersey Shore to see why Jionni wasn’t visiting Snooki when she was pregnant, and to find out if Mike was going to break up with Paula, and whether Sammi and Ron were still together.

I also felt a strange urge to watch The Real Housewives of Beverly Hills to see if Adrienne was going to sue Brandi for spilling a big secret, or if Kyle was going to do another split in the middle of party.

Then came the day when I couldn’t resist the temptation to watch The Real Housewives of  New Jersey, because I had to find out if Teresa was going to straighten up and fly right, and to find out if Joe was really talking to another woman on his cell phone while he was in the middle of a family vacation.

Table FlipWell, things continued to deteriorate. I found I needed to watch the shows more often. I couldn’t get through the day without watching Teen Mom 2 to see if Jenelle had really gotten arrested again and, if so, what her mom had to say about it.

Then I hit rock bottom. I began to lie to family and friends to cover up my addiction. One day I told friends that I couldn’t stop for a drink after work because I had to visit a sick relative. But the truth was, I just wanted to go home and lock the doors, pull the shades and watch Alaska: The Last Frontier, because I simply had to find out if the Kilcher family had solved the mystery of their rogue cannibal chicken. (There really was a cannibal chicken. I didn’t make that up. Riveting TV for a nature nerd like me.)

And A&E’s Duck Dynasty, where do I begin? How could anyone not like a show where the following exchange is heard?

Character 1: “Uhh . . . didn’t that (speed limit) sign say 35?”
Character 2: “Oh, that’s just a suggestion.”

duck-dynastyEven if you hate reality shows, you have to check out Duck Dynasty. Don’t let their looks fool you. They are hardworking family with good morals. Even the critics like this show. These guys are smarter and  funnier (and cleaner) than they look. Come on  .  .  .  indulge in a little reality television. Everybody’s doing it. It’ll make you feel good.

So there it is, folks, it’s finally out in the open. I’m an addict and I can no longer hide this dirty little secret. I need help. So I’m admitting to my addiction right here and now because, as we all know, you can’t get help until you first admit there is a problem.


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