Products solve problems you never even knew you had

February 25, 2007|By SUSAN REIMER

I AM DEEP INTO NESTING these days, a familiar annual state brought on by the promise of a fresh start that January brings and the onset of cabin-fever-inducing cold weather.

I can't gin up any interest in new spring fashions, because all I want to spend money on right now are new sheets and a fresh coat of paint. I want to have my kitchen floor refinished and send my slipcovers to the dry-cleaners.

When you are trapped inside your house, everything starts to look like it needs cleaning or replacing or a raging fire and a check from the insurance company.

So the catalogs that draw my attention are not the ones from Talbots or L.L. Bean, with their rushing-the-season offerings of swimwear and cute cotton dresses.

I am into catalogs that come from what might be called the household solutions category. Solutions for the problems-you-didn't-know-you-had category. Catalogs that are actually called "Problem Solvers," "Solutions" and, improbably "Whatever Works."

Among the offerings that I am considering purchasing are:

Special light bulbs that simulate the sun, reducing seasonal affective disorder without increasing UV.

Rechargeable battery-operated votive candles, though it is hard to imagine the nature of the mood those things might inspire.

Special pillows in special shapes for all the parts of your body that actually hurt worse when you wake than when you crawl, sore and tired, into bed.

You have to see the range of shapes and sizes to believe it. We knew not sleeping was an issue for us grown-ups. Who knew sleeping could be such a problem?

Voice-activated controls for the television and the DVD player, so you don't have to keep track of the remotes. You just bark orders. (There is also a remote you can buy that is the size of a cereal box and, therefore, impossible to lose.)

Enzymes that keep the birdbath clean, picnic tables that fold up to the size of a briefcase, electric garlic roasters and a computer keyboard that you can roll up and throw in the dishwasher.

Special laundry clips that keep pairs of socks together; a toilet light that illuminates the water with a soft green light when the seat is raised, to prevent accidents; triangular brooms for the corners and special sunglasses that help you spot your lost golf balls against the background of the rough.

And I don't even golf.

I'd like an outdoor grill cover emblazoned with the name of my favorite sports team, a black light that can illuminate the source of organic odors and filters to attach to the blades of my ceiling fan to help clean the air.

I want the special spray that will freeze dog poop for easy pick-up, and I don't even have a dog. I want the fake panoramas for my basement windows, and I don't have any basement windows.

There are all sorts of products to drive away all sorts of pests. Furniture that vibrates against every part of your body. A dozen products that promise you will never have to clean your toilet again.

But my favorite might be the special adhesive pad that prevents chest wrinkles caused by sleeping on your side after a certain age.

Didn't know you needed one until now, did you?

susan.reimer@baltsun.com

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