Ric and I got married 10 months after meeting. I am an only child and he was raised an only child. When we met one of us was an Independent Fundamental Baptist. The other was a hard-core Roman Catholic. I drank Coke, he drank Pepsi, amongst other things. It seemed we were doomed from the start. Somehow, in those short 10 months, we came together on the big stuff. Some of the smaller things took more time. The first year of our marriage was…………..interesting. It was hard. It was also rewarding and fun.
The first thing I learned was how to buy off-brand food. I grew up in a world where we only bought brand name things. My mother’s words of wisdom to me were “spend the extra dollar and buy the name brand”. When Ric came home from the grocery store with off brand spaghetti noodles, I wasn’t sure what to think. There were other things he got that didn’t have familiar labels. Where was the Mott’s label on the applesauce? Why didn’t I see Tony the Tiger on our Frosted Flakes (this was before my BHT revelation)? What was going on?????
He told me that it was the same thing. I really had a hard time believing it. I was even a bit mouthy about it…..hard to believe, I know. I reluctantly ate those non-Barilla noodles and came to a realization. They were the same. Maybe this guy knew something after all. So I tried the fake cereal. Huh. Close enough it was.
He opened up a whole new world to me. The next time I went to the store I compared ingredients. They really were the same thing. He was wise enough to let me keep a few name brand things. Heinz ketchup, Northern toilet paper, Maulls barbeque sauce, and my beloved Peter Pan peanut butter – these are all things on which we do not compromise.
The second piece of wisdom I gained in that first year was that I could actually trust Ric’s gift buying skills. We are all familiar with my birthday drought situation (if not, read my earlier post), so when December 1 rolled around, I attempted to present Ric with my list of acceptable presents. He said he didn’t need it. I thought he was kidding, so I tried again. He refused again. Maybe he wasn’t as smart as I thought. He then said something that shook me to the core. He told me he liked to surprise me with the gifts he purchased. WHAT??? What if I didn’t like it? What if it wasn’t my size or color? What if he got me that horrible whipped cream icing instead of the good sugary stuff? What if he didn’t know me well enough to know what I wanted?
I fought back, still not realizing how much of a control freak I
am was. Long story short, he won. He surprised me with flowers at my work, birthday dinner at Gianinos with my grandparents, presents that were absolutely perfect and my white cake with white icing. I decided to trust him with my gift needs in the future.
The third thing I learned was the most important, but it also took the longest. 364 days to be exact. I realized we were on the same team. Before that epiphany I thought that every time he left the toilet seat up, it was just to make me angry. I thought because he didn’t jump up the very second I asked him to take out the trash that he did not love me. When he said that expired eggs were ok for human consumption*, I was certain he just wanted to see me puking.
As it turned out, he wasn’t this cold, mean spirited person. He loved me and didn’t want to see me in the hospital ill with salmonella. He just was raised differently than I had been. They ate expired eggs. We didn’t. If I wanted the trash to go out on a Sunday afternoon, I should probably ask while football was on a commercial. The toilet seat thing? That’s just a man thing, but he learned. Although it took almost a whole year, when I got it, I said to him, we are on the same team. It made all the difference in the world. We still fought a little, but that was over more important topics, like whether to buy Coke or Pepsi.
*For the record, I still do not think it’s ok to eat expired eggs.