Because you NEED an antelope

me with Sophie Hudson and Melanie Shankle at dotMomI discovered blogs way back in 2006, and since then have found lots of good ones.  But only a handful have remained steady favorites, and Melanie Shankle’s blog Big Mama is one I’ll read as long as she’s game to write it. Her sense of humor is priceless–in my next life, I want to be as funny as she is.  I had the fun of traveling to the Dominican Republic with her on behalf of Compassion International several years ago, and also attended a dotMom conference where she and fellow blogger Sophie Hudson (A Little Salty to Cut the Sweet) spoke. (I begged this photo with them at the end of that conference.)

Anyway, Melanie’s SECOND book was just released:   The Antelope in the Living Room: The Real Story of Two People Sharing One Life.  It’s a delightful story of married life that I think a lot of us can relate to, even as we’re chuckling over some of the funny moments. I read it in two days and loved it.  My husband is currently reading it, which is a testimony to how funny it is– he rarely reads the same books I do.  Several of our teens have read and enjoyed bits of it too. SO!  I am delighted that I get to give away a copy of this fun book to one of YOU!

All you have to do is comment below and tell me the funniest or most shocking or most controversial item that you or your husband brought home, to the dismay of your partner.  For John and me I think it would have to be a plush recliner that we found next to a dumpster at the nursing home where I worked, and brought home as newlyweds.  One of us (OK, it was me) naively thought a good scrubbing with baking soda would get it smelling like roses.  Ah, notsomuch.  Let’s just say that chairs residing next to nursing-home dumpsters are there for a good reason.

So what was it for you? Tell us your stories.  And by all means, if you have more than one funny story, comment twice and share both stories for two entries.  You can have another entry by tweeting or sharing this contest on facebook, and commenting yet again.  I’ll announce a winner on Monday!


  1. ginny jolin says:

    When we were first married the town had no trash pickup so we needed to haul our trash to the dump. I think it was the highlight of my husband’s week as he always brought something home. Funniest thing was a ride on truck for our three year old that was missing a wheel. He did have fun sitting on it though.

  2. My husband gave me a humidifier for our first Christmas!

  3. I’m a very practical girl and love practical gifts. For almost every holiday I am guaranteed a new appliance to replace one that has bit the dust the previous year. I got a steam mop for my birthday, a new faucet for Valentines, and a new DVD player for Christmas this year. Love gifts like that!

  4. I bought (at a bargain!) an early 1980s era, very pink loveseat from a retired gentleman my parents knew to spruce up my dorm room when I headed off to college in the late 1990s. It’s uncomfortable. It has many uncleanable stains. And I must admit, it’s extremely ugly. I am the only person in the world that loves it. When we got married, I brought it with to our first home. My husband has threatened to “take care of it” on many occasions, but three apartments and two houses later we still have it.

  5. We bought a set of encylopedias back in the day when we already had NO money!

  6. A few years back a Kerby door to door sales man sold an extremely expensive vacuum to my super frugal salesman for a living husband. I stood there and laughed the entire time because I was in shock. I couldn’t help but tease him that our new vacuum cost more than his car was worth!
    I’ve been wanting this book, thank you for offering one up!

  7. Carol Gloetzner says:

    My husband and I started doing foster care about a year after we were married. One spring, we decided to take our six teenage girls on a camping trip from Michigan to Florida. The first stop was Ron’s aunt in the mountains of Kentucky where we spent the night at her house before continuing on the big adventure. When we woke up in the morning, Ron opened his eyes wide with alarm and said, “We forgot to pack the tents!”

  8. I once bought a $40 bottle of cleaner from a very sweet door-to-door saleswoman. My hubby was less than pleased… and yes, it was a scam. My hubby once decided to buy a second pistol during a black Friday sale, but at least consulted me first. 🙂 I’m hoping to read this book soon!

  9. I learned early on that my sleeping husband could wake up, have a phone conversation that sounded perfectly normal, and in fact not be awake at all. How did I learn this? When I found some puppies being given away and called to ask if we should bring one home. Little puppy, very large breed, and hubs was not at all pleased even though it was a breed he normally loves.
    (I kept her for about 2 months before my neighbor became her new owner. That was a God-thing, as I was walking the dog and my neighbor two doors down stopped me to say how much she loved the look of the dog, wanted one just like it, and did I know if there were any left from the litter. Ha!)

  10. When we were newlyweds we moved from single student housing into an adjacent complex for married students. One of my old roommates had abandoned a loveseat in my old apartment, so one night I went over and convinced my husband to help me carry it home. While it was snowing.

    I sat next to it with a hairdryer for an hour or two trying to get the thing dry again.

  11. A ferret. Yes, my DH brought home a live ferret, complete with cage, toys, food. It was free, everything needed to care for it included. Mr Ferret was rehomed after 2.5 days. I never had to say a word, because thankfully, my husband’s nose is finickier than mine!

  12. Tracy Stanley says:

    My husband never saw an item for “free” that he didn’t think was a good idea to have in our home. Among other things, he’s brought home a 3-foot wrench, non-working moped and the ugliest (scariest) gargoyle I’ve ever seen!

  13. Jamie Bishop says:

    A yellow couch I bought on Ebay. We were actually in college and dating at the time. The couch was located in a small town about 45 minutes away. Neither of us had a vehicle capable of transporting the couch. We had to borrow a truck to go pick it up. We tried to cover it with moving blankets for the ride back and ended up loosing the blankets on the highway. We had to pull over so I could retrieve them. We stopped and bought duct tape to secure the blankets. I did not want my yellow couch getting dirty. Once we finally got it safely back, the two of us (I’m 5’2″, he’s 6’4″) had to carry the couch up several flights of stairs to fit it in my dorm room. Buying the couch in the first place was very uncharacteristic of me. I don’t know what I was thinking. We’ve been married almost 5 years and we still have the yellow couch.

  14. My husband came into our marriage with a deer skin and stuffed bobcat which he wanted displayed in our tiny seminary apartment. 🙂

  15. I’ll be the second one to admit to buying a Kirby vacuum in the early years of marriage. My husband still teases me of how he told me I would make a good decision (he assumed I’d NOT buy it)! But 13 years later we still have it and it sucks great!!

    • ha, we bought a kirby too! I console myself with the fact that we talked him down to $700 and then used the thing for 18 years. But still. Yikes! 🙂

  16. When we moved from one church, my husband traded some bookshelves for a hideously ugly bright yellow couch. We had that weird couch for years! It was indestructible!

  17. Oh, I’m so excited! I’ve been dying for a chance to win Melanie’s book. 🙂

    Most controversial thing… Probably the bags of junk that my husband brings into the house every time he cleans his car. It’s stuff he doesn’t want to throw out, but after sitting in the house (usually in the way) for months, untouched, I usually do a quick glance through the bag and toss it. I tell you, never once have we missed one of those bags of junk. 😉

  18. I shared via Facebook for a second entry. 🙂

  19. Another time, my husband had been wanting a cat who could produce a litter of kittens. We already had two cats and both were fixed. One day he called me and told me there was a surprise waiting in our bedroom at home and to be very careful when I opened the door. I was sure there was a cat inside! When I got home, I cautiously went to the bedroom and very slowly opened the door, watching the floor.

    In our bedroom was a brand new flat screen TV, all hooked up and playing some brightly colored Pixar movie, so as to show it off adequately. 😉

  20. We, together, picked up a dog out in the middle of no-where Texas, a tick(100s) infected puppy dog. We took her home and claimed her as our own. This of course happened before kiddos. Thom and I both love animals.

  21. A friend said that her neighbor’s hens were going to be supper if nobody took them.
    So I came home with 5 chickens…

  22. I went to a benefit.
    They were selling craft supplies and fabric.
    At the end of the event it was my understanding that the leftovers would be thrown away.
    I have an allergy to waste. A big one.
    So I came home with 50 boxes of fabric…

  23. My husband bought an end table at a consignment sale right before we were married that I just never fell in love with at all. We used for several years, {first married, young, ownedverylittlefurniture, ya know!} before it finally found another home.

    When we moved to our second home there was an old metal tea cart that was left there, I painted it and hauled it into my kitchen to use for some shelf space. Pretty sure my man never exactly loved it, but he put up with it.

    For the most part we choose things for our home that we both like. We compromise, keep looking and eventually find something we both like. 🙂

  24. I tweeted! {And I’d really love to win~wouldn’t we all?} 😉 I have Sparkly Green Earrings and want to own this one as well sometime.

  25. Angela Stone says:

    My lovely husband dumpster dived for a stinky down sleeping bag. So. Gross. It was ripped and stained so he cut out the feathers and vacuumed them into our 3 foot tall custom shop vac (made by a neighbor 60 years older than us). There was down floating around the garage for weeks. AND you ask? And, they are still in that shop vac 3 years later. He still plans to make his own sleeping bag with them….

  26. My husband isn’t a shopper, but wants to come up with a nice gift that is a surprise. Early in our marriage, he bought me an “epilady” type hair remover. He thought the gift was a great idea. I thought it was torture, but didn’t want to hurt his feelings. I couldn’t stand just putting it in a drawer and wasting the money, so I told him it had to go. He thought I wasn’t using it right and needed to keep trying. So, I ran it up his back a few inches to share the joy.

    It went right back in the box and back to the store the next day.

  27. In the early years of our marriage, the local stationary (Hallmark like) store was going out of business and had a big markdown. I bought enough stationary to last us until our golden anniversary. My husband was very kind but pointed out: did I really have a plan for all of this stuff? I had to eat a little humble pie as I returned some of the merchandise to the store not long after. I think I still have some of those items; we’ve been married 15 years!

  28. My husband brought home an old cowboy mannequin which we named Luke. Luke even sat in the corner of our den for a while. He was so real looking that my elderly MIL walked by him and said “How do you do?” Luke has been in our family 13 years now and moved to husband’s deer ranch several years ago. I believe Luke has scared away many a burglar as he sits by the window with the TV remote in his hand!

  29. My hubby brought home the ugliest dining room table. It cost $350 too!! I lived with it for three years but I vowed to NEVER agree to a furniture purchase before setting my own eyes on it again! LOL

  30. A few days after our wedding, I had to return to work before my husband had to go back to school, so he thought he’d be “helpful” and go shopping with our wedding money. He proudly presented me with a Sauder (you know the particle board “furniture” you put together yourself) computer desk and a set of shelves made from cinder blocks and laminate covered particle board (had we not progressed beyond college furniture?!). I was less than thrilled, but he stood by his purchases as “practical”. After 25 years the shelves are long gone, but the desk is still hanging around . . . and my husband has yet to live down his last shopping trip without me!

  31. I guess since I shared my husband’s worst purchase, it’s only fair to “tell on” myself. Not long after he went shopping with our wedding money, I enjoyed a trip to a local flea market. I came home with a unicorn statue (yeah, I was one of those girls who loved unicorns) that was clearly NOT his idea of proper home decor. He badgered me for a few years to get rid of the thing, but finally gave up. My unicorn statue graced our home for over 20 years until I relinquished my possession of it 2 years ago at a garage sale. I think my husband secretly did a little happy dance when that thing left our garage, although he very sweetly acknowledged my “sacrifice”. 🙂

    Love reading all these stories, Mary, and thanks for the opportunity to win a copy of The Antelope in the Living Room.

  32. I guess we are pretty boring or I just have a poor memory. : ) The craziest thing I think my husband brought to our marriage has been a middle sweatshirt that he can still wear and a variety of high school t-shirts…. : )

  33. About two weeks before my husband and I got married, my mom and I drove the six hour trip to his apartment to unpack wedding gifts and set up the house. We walked in the apartment to see a gorgeous crystal vase with white roses in it from my fiance, displayed on top of my piano to welcome me. Around noon, while putting up pictures, my mom and I realized that the roses were silk ones, but there was water in the vase. We assumed he put water in just for the look (and it did look pretty through the crystal), but emptied out the water so the stems wouldn’t rust and ruin the crystal.

    Fast forward two weeks to the week after the wedding. We arrive home as Mr. and Mrs. for the first time and enjoy our first few days together. We’d been married four days when I realized there was water in that vase again. I thought there must be a leak directly over the vase, but no. I began to get suspicious and asked, “Honey, why is there water in this vase?” “Well, to water the flowers, of course.” Assuming that he knew they were fake (since he was the one who bought them), I asked him why he was watering them. I’ll never forget the look he gave me. It clearly said, “OMG, I married an idiot and just now realized it.” and he carefully responded in the voice one uses with a 3 year old, “Because, if you don’t water the flowers, they will die.” I laughingly explained that these flowers were special and required no water whatsoever. It took some convincing, but he finally believed that they were made of silk and not real. Apparently he walked in on the side of Walmart that had the aisle of silk flowers instead of the aisle of fresh ones and never knew the difference. He thought they were just really long lasting flowers that drank a lot of water (because I had dumped it out). LOL! We still keep those white roses in that vase on top of the piano. It’s a useful reminder to both of us that my husband loves me, even if he doesn’t express it ‘correctly,’ and that sometimes, your wife is not an idiot — she’s right!

  34. Last year on Valentine’s Day I woke up at 2 am to the sound of a newborn (still slimy!) calf on my laundry room floor – bawling and nearly dead! Help! 🙂

  35. Shared via Twitter!

  36. We had just moved to Mauritania and I sent Donn and Elliot, 5, off to the market to get some much needed household items. We had nothing. They came home with a 3-foot African drum. JUST what we needed, instead of dishes, towels, couches, beds, etc. 🙂

  37. Kaleena Edwards says:

    Nothing too exciting, just old electronics for projects.

  38. Donna Dorsey says:

    I have two, both animal related. I am a true animal lover and we have many household pests, I mean pets :), but I was not really all that happy when my husband and son came home with a new addition to the family……. a tarantula!

    The second unconventional animal my husband brought home one day was a pigeon with an injured wing. Of course he brought it home on my son’s 8th birthday so he thought it was his present. Pigeous stayed with us for a few weeks, but once he was all healed up we let him go free. We were all actually sad to see him go–he was a friendly little guy!

  39. My husband can not say no to a free thing. But he some how was given ten non working lawn mowers. He moved them with us to two different rentals. Thankfully he has fixed all but one and given 8 away. We are down to two lawn mowers.

  40. I don’t know how in the world you will choose. Some of these are hilarious.

    My hubby came home from “yard saling’ all proud of himself. He had bought me a stair stepper (I wanted a treadmill) and the thing was so rusted out that it was completely seized. He had also picked up a pond with all the parts for a fountain. The thing languished behind the barn until I convinced him to throw it away. Seems like there was one other useless thing from that escapade into yard saling. I’ve never let him go again.

  41. My husband’s parents are, ahem, *quite* proud of his college accomplishments (we are in our 30s now!!!) and kept every single college newspaper that even mentioned his name once. He was student body president for two years, so you can imagine they amassed quite a few. 😉 Well, one day, he went to visit with the kids and came home with 11 boxes of 12 year old college newspapers that all mentioned his name. And he REFUSES to get rid of them “in case the kids want to see someday”. ARGHHHH!!! 🙂 🙂

  42. Well, last week my husband bought me a torch; the kind you screw a camping gas tank onto and it breathes fire. I guess that’s sort of unusual. 🙂 But it’s because he saw how much fun I had burning weeds.

  43. michele says:

    My husband often brings home free items he finds at his job. Most of the time they are great finds that we either find a place for in our home or find someone who needs it. One time he brought home a very broken grand piano which needed a place until he was ready to scrap it for the brass/metal that was inside. So the only place we had available that day was the already tight family room. And there it sat on the floor (no legs any more) with most keys not working for two months! It became part coffee table, place to race hot wheels, sitting bench!

  44. One day, a few days prior to Mother’s Day, a delivery man arrived at the door with a brand new Vitamix blender. I was BEYOND excited and had NO idea this was coming .. and we really couldn’t afford an extravagance like that. I was so, so happy and my dear husband knew how much I had dreamed about owning a Vitamix someday.

    At work, after Mother’s Day, all the guys were standing around having the “what-did-you-get-your-wife-for-Mother’s Day” conversation and when my husband said, “a blender,” they all booed and hissed at him!

  45. My husband brought his black velvet Clint Eastwood painting with him into our marriage. Fortunately he doesn’t mind that it hangs in the basement. I was just down there with one of my boys clearing out clutter and my son said that the painting was creepy.