It seems that I haven’t made fun of husband #1 in a few weeks. Some of you probably have been happy about this — particularly his mom, his lifelong friend who lives in Englewood, and some other random readers. Since writing for the Jewish Standard, a job that I absolutely love because I absolutely love my editor, mentor, and friend, I haven’t been privy to any of the complaints I had received in the past about referring to my spouse as “husband #1” instead of “the absolute love of my life” or “Ari,” which is his actual name. Have I ever revealed that before? His real name? Was it worth waiting for if I haven’t?
Anyway, one of the things I often say about husband #1 is that he is, stingy/frugal, let’s be honest, he is cheap. Now you might ask, “If he is so cheap, why did you marry him?” Well ladies and gentlemen, I was duped. When we were dating, he wined and dined me. Well, not actually “wined” because he doesn’t drink any alcohol of any kind, but he definitely dined me. And that isn’t a euphemism for anything else. I am a big girl and I love being dined.
We went out to eat all the time and he always paid and it was never an issue. And it was lovely. Right before we officially started dating, he had come up to the Concord Hotel for July 4th weekend to visit me and he stayed for lunch. For those of you not familiar with this hotel, their lunches were epic. They were scrumptious. They were really, really good. On this particular day, I ordered the lasagna, the vegetable loaf with hollandaise sauce, and a third main dish that I seem to have blocked out of my memory. And I ate every bite on each plate. Husband #1 was very impressed. “That gal can really put it away,” he thought to himself and then said out loud. And I didn’t take offense to it because he was right. Food is love and I love food.
So the “cheap” element didn’t really start until after we were married. One of the many delightful characteristics that you learn about your spouse after the wedding is over and it is just the two of you to fend for yourselves for the rest of your lives. The cheapness has played out in different ways. Only buying Fanta when it is on sale — which is a reasonable thing to do. I was a big fan of double coupons — which I don’t think the supermarkets do anymore. Shopping for $15 shoes at Burlington Coat Factory-it might pain me, but if he is OK wearing them, let him wear them in good health. For that price, he could buy five pairs of shoes. So certain things are OK.
The things not OK? When it is 82 degrees in the house and you won’t put the air conditioning on. That is bad and possibly unhealthy. Keeping the heat at a temperature that enables you to see smoke come out of your mouth when you talk, and if you throw a cup of water in the air, it comes down as snow. That is very bad. (OK, I am embellishing with the snow, but not the smoke out of the mouth. That actually has happened.)
But when do you know that you have hit bottom? When do you really realize that man oh man is your husband cheap? I will tell you. For son #3’s winter break, we were fortunate enough to be able to go to Florida for a week. Just the three of us, heading down to sunny weather and a boardwalk that makes me as happy as a dolphin in water. (I am assuming that a dolphin is really happy in water because I am really happy on the boardwalk.) Husband #1 had told me that when you book the flight, there is an extra charge to pick your seat. Well, assigned seats are over-rated so just put us wherever you want. After all, the baby we were to travel with is 18 years old, and I am pretty sure he can handle sitting next to strangers. So I was fine with that.
Then we get our boarding passes at the airport, and I notice husband #1’s face going a little paler than usual. “Is everything OK, honeybuns?” I ask out of deep concern. Well, he shows me the boarding pass and on the bottom of it, in big block letter, it says, “NO CARRY ON LUGGAGE.” I am sorry, what did you say? NO CARRY ON LUGGAGE. Hmmm, this is quite the dilemma. And it is also, um, really really cheap.
But I took it in stride and I started emptying out my carry on and putting things in different pockets — now that’s classy! OK, I am embellishing again and we were able to sneak our carry-ons on the plane…
But in the end, we had such a lovely vacation, that I let the no carry on thing go, well sort of, as I have just written about it and shared it all with you…
Banji Ganchrow of Teaneck wishes to be Banji Ganchrow of Florida. Maybe one day when all of her boys leave her she will get her ocean view…