February 20, 2020

Meant2Be: Diva disorder

The first time I learned my husband, Robbie, has super powers was the day I revealed my ugliest side. We were apartment hunting in New York City, where we would spend our first year of marriage together, and I came with dangerously absurd expectations.

The good news was we found a beautiful one-bedroom apartment with hardwood parquet floors and 12-foot ceilings surrounded by crown molding. The bad news was that it came with a bathroom that was Pepto-Bismol pink. I really hated the thought of applying makeup as the fluorescent lights glared a Barbie halo around my face, making my skin the color of Miss Piggy. 

The fact that the apartment was situated down the block from a corner where hookers and alcoholics congregated didn’t bother me at all — that seemed “cultural,” part of the New York scene. However, I wasn’t about to move into a fifth-floor Brooklyn apartment that had one door with 18 locks and no bars on the windows. I didn’t care if they cost a thousand dollars; that was just the price you paid for living in New York.

Robbie really needed to get with the program on that. Apparently he thought that was “ridiculous.” I can still remember having my first temper tantrum at the carpet store over the issue after Robbie learned window bars were going to cost him as much as my diamond ring (we were engaged at the time). 

But there was more. The master bedroom had beautiful hardwood flooring, but New York gets cold in the winter and I felt it would be prudent to buy carpeting for our rented apartment, even though we were planning to live there for less than a year. My bubbe warned me every time I spoke with her on the phone to keep warm, lest I catch cold. 

So Robbie and I spent hours looking at different kinds of carpet colors and carpet textures. Finally, we agreed on a beautiful hunter green carpet, middle grade, plush enough to leave vacuum lines, but not overly plush to make messy foot prints if you stepped on it. 

The carpet salesman then asked us the one question that led to my ultimate downfall: “Would you like wall-to-wall carpet or the less expensive option, a carpet remnant?” To which Robbie and I replied simultaneously:

“Wall to wall.”

“A remnant is just fine.”

I looked at him like he was an alien who just fell out of space and had no idea how real humans lived. He wanted a remnant? A sloppy remnant which would move around the room and cause our bedroom furniture to slide all over, and crease the carpet, causing a large lump to form in the middle, which I might trip on in the middle of the night when I got up for the umpteenth time to pee because we drank too many milkshakes, since New York had the best ice cream shakes of all time?  That remnant? 

What sort of man was I marrying? Was he a crazy person who did weird things like squeeze almonds to make milk or drink herbal tea to kick a perfectly appropriate overpriced Starbucks habit? Who buys a remnant of carpet … even if we could possibly take it with us when we moved, which would probably be before the sunrise of our first anniversary? Who does such practical things? Who?

Who doesn’t lay down wall-to-wall green beautifulness in a brand new palatial Brooklyn apartment … even if that apartment happens to be attached to a very scary and ancient elevator, which led to the Nightmare on Elm Street basement that had three washing machines for an eight-story building?  For God sakes!  A remnant?

One week after our wedding, we drove from my husband’s hometown of Pittsburgh to our new apartment. Along the way, I thought about that ugly pink bathroom, the 8-by-12 carpet remnant that I’d have to pull flat every time I opened the closet door, and all the unpacking and cleaning that lay ahead.

After eight hours of driving to our brand new home, I walked into my apartment and nearly passed out in shock. A large banner hung in the dining room that read, “Welcome home my beautiful wife, Chava!” The bathroom had been painted white, bars were on the windows, the apartment was magnificent and sparkling clean, and the master bedroom had wall-to-wall green carpeting.

We stayed in that apartment for nine months. I added Spoiled-Brat-Diva to my last name and knew I had truly married a superhuman.

Dedicated in memory of the real St. Valentine — Rabbi Shlomo Schwartz — the ultimate love guru.

Chava Tombosky is an executive producer and a director at Deer-Vision Motion Pictures, a recording artist and an ongoing writer for The Huffington Post and for her blog, “Thelma & Louise,” which can be read at jewishjournal.com.

Do you have a story about dating, marriage, singlehood or any important relationship in your life? Email us at meant2be@jewishjournal.com.