Wednesday, September 12, 2012

25¢ Valor

I promised The Swallowologist a follow up to yesterday's post. (I also promised a shout-out to my friend, Shadow. Hi Shadow!) 

A lot of people think The Husband's and my relationship came easy from the beginning, and has been nothing but smooth sailing. This is far from the truth. Husband and I have been through some very tough times; we've fought, and we've struggled, and we've shed tears and blood. We have not always been kind to each other, or to ourselves. Like many couples, we had to pay our dues to get where we are now, and those dues were steep. 

Was it worth it? Yes. But that doesn't mean it was easy.

There were times along the way my instincts were completely wrong. There were times I jumped to conclusions that were completely wrong. And there were times I know I expected too much from him, held him to unrealistic and unattainable standards, and basically, set him up for failure.  
There were times he did the same to me.
At the end of the day, we're human. We have to take responsibility for what we should, fix what we can, and accept what we must.

But the bottom line is, even with the best men in the world, even with the crème de la crème, you are going to have problems in the relationship now and then; it's unavoidable. That is why it is so important from the onset to make sure you're finding all the right signs he's the right guy for you, and not overlooking any signs he's the wrong guy for you.

That said, sometimes, little things you take as signs of what kind of guy he is can be understood completely inaccurately, and end up turning into some funny stories. Like this one:

Once Husband and I had established ourselves as a "dating couple," we began to spend a lot of our time together. During the week, this was hard, but on the weekends, I was basically living at his house. 

One day, he realized he was out of groceries, and we went to the supermarket together. Now here's what you have to understand: as a student in Israel, I had not been to a "real" supermarket in a really long time. 
In Israel, they have these little grocery stores called "Makolets" on practically every corner. These mini-stores sell a variety of fruits, vegetables, dairy products (Israelis are very into cheeses), grains by the kilo, and other staples. You grab a small basket, do your shopping, and carry your bags out. 
As a student, I was used to walking down to the local Makolet, getting what I could afford (often nothing but a kilo of macaroni and some ketchup) (did you know Israeli ketchup is much sweeter than American ketchup? Well, now you know) and carrying my stuff back to my dorm room.

Husband got a cart, let me pick out a whole lot of groceries (stuff I'd never tried before because I couldn't afford to take the chance on it), and after paying, pushed the cart to his car to load the bags inside. But after the cart had been emptied, I was ready to just wheel it to the side and leave it in the parking lot, as I was used to doing in the States. 
Husband wouldn't hear of it. "I'm going to go return it to the store," he said. "It'll just take a second."

As I sat in the car, waiting for him to return, I was filled with warm fuzzy feelings for him. He didn't want to make extra work for the supermarket workers! He wanted to be considerate, and not leave his cart where another would have to wheel it back to the store! What a polite man he was. To me, it was another sign of what a great guy I was with: if he could be that thoughtful to a supermarket employee, imagine how chivalrous he would be with me!

Years later, after we were married and son #1 was already born, I got the true story.

As I was recanting this little tale to my family, gushing on about all his good qualities, he stopped me. "I didn't return the cart to be nice to the supermarket workers," he said. "I wanted my shekel back!"
"What?" I asked him, dumfounded.
That's when he explained to me what I failed to understand at the time:
In many supermarkets in Israel, they have a system with the carts that you have to put a shekel into the line of carts to pull one out. Once you are done with the cart, if you return it, you get your shekel back. If you don't, you are out your shekel. 
A shekel back then was worth about a quarter.

So basically, Husband didn't return the cart out of any sense of chivalry or goodwill; he just didn't want to be out 25¢. 

Now, I laugh about that story. But at the time, when he explained to me the truth of what really happened? I was pretty pissed off.

(I have to add, though, that since we moved to the States, he does usually return the cart to the store, and nobody's giving him 25¢ for his trouble.)


  1. When I was 15 I fell madly in love with Hebrew and my lifetime dream was to move to Israel. But by the time I was 18 the reality of my life/family life led me down another path. Finally took a trip there when I was 40. The airport and flight were a nightmare, but being there was lovely. The flight home was a nightmare too. I'm so glad I made it there once in my lifetime. But I could never go through the traveling to get there part again.

  2. Got interrupted by a phone call last night in the middle of my post.

    I hope him taking the cart back wasn't the deciding factor in why you married him. Hee!:)