It seems that we are always learning new things from and/or about our spouses. Things that bring us closer to each other. Sometimes, these things are wonderful, and sometimes, these things are not-so-wonderful. My mother once told me that the things you don’t like about the person you are dating only become worse when you marry them. The habits you thought, once upon a time, were so adorable become fingernails-on-a-blackboard annoying. But you learn to live with it.
Marriage is hard work. Marriage is a challenge even when everything is seemingly perfect. And then there is a pandemic, and then you end up quarantining with this person. There is no one else at home aside from this person. You are expected to spend 14 days, 24 hours a day with this person. Eating every meal together. Reading together. Watching television together. 24 hours a day for 14 days. Is it a second honeymoon? Is it a chance to reconnect on oh-so-many levels? Or is it house arrest? A punishment for something you did in another life?
Ahh yes, these are questions that only you can answer because no one really knows what goes on in anyone else’s house. The grass might seem greener, but it could also be Astroturf. You just don’t know.
Husband #1 and I did survive quarantine together. How did we do this? I have spent the last 300 some odd columns playfully mocking my spouse. People have approached him over the years, some asking how he can put up with me. “Doesn’t the column bother you?” folks inquire. “That story cannot possibly be true,” others will comment. Poor Husband #1. Boo hoo hoo. Please indulge me as we delve into the second and last part of the “never-ending” quarantine.
Those of you who know Husband #1, either in real life or through my column, know that he is a picky eater. We have his mother to thank for that. Growing up, Husband #1 had the same dinner menu week after week after week. There was fish and spaghetti night, there was an “official” Shabbos leftover night, there was a hamburger night — I think you get the point. One of the consistent side dishes was pickles. Yes, pickles are a side dish. Not only that, but they are considered a food group. Technically, the pickle is a vegetable because its very essence is the cucumber.
The cucumber is officially the only vegetable that Husband #1 will eat. Sad, but true.
And, of course, true to form of being “selective” in what he likes to eat, Husband #1 will eat only half-sour pickles. And he will eat half-sour pickles only if they are a specific shade of green. For those of you who are pickle aficionados, or just a little odd, like my dear spouse, you know what I am talking about. The perfect half-sour pickle needs to be kelly green. That bright, slightly unnatural looking color that indicates that the pickle is at the perfect point between a cucumber and just becoming too pickled for people with a sensitive palate to endure. Just like wine (which, of course, Husband #1 does not drink because that might have made quarantine too fun), some people like to drone on about aging and breathing — fancy pants wine talk —well, that is what Husband #1 is like when it comes to half-sour pickles.
When you are in quarantine and are at the mercy of others for groceries and you ask them for donuts, you can send them a picture of the box. Or orange juice and you can send a picture of the container (because, heavens forbid the wrong kind of donut, or juice with pulp should enter our home, poor Husband #1 wouldn’t know what to do…). But when you ask for half-sour pickles, well, if you try to describe exactly what shade of green you need, you can end up sounding like a crazy person.
“Please buy us the right shade of pickle,” I say to myself as I put the request in to my kind neighbors who have offered to get us groceries. Yes, for those of you who still think I am a horrible wife who only likes to publicize the foibles of her dear husband, you are incorrect. I worry about him. I worry about getting the wrong shade of half-sour pickles because then he won’t eat them and he won’t have any vegetables to keep him healthy.
Thank God quarantine is over, because if this week’s column was about pickles, who knows what direction a third quarantine piece would have gone in. Stay healthy and stay sane people!
Banji Ganchrow of Teaneck now gets to also buy sour pickles because that is what Dil #1 prefers…