With Pride Comes the Fall // All I wanted to do was make a good impression

By Rivky Jaffe

“What in the world are you doing?” my husband, Tzvi, asked as he walked through the door on Thursday evening.

“Washing the walls,” I explained, dabbing a stubborn black mark with a shmatte.

“That much I figured,” he said as he walked towards the kitchen counter. “But since when do you wash walls?”

“Since now. Don’t eat anything!” I cautioned as I jumped off the stepstool. “It’s for the guests.”

“What guests?” He asked as he eyed the food hungrily. “Oh, you mean Shaya and Mimi?”

“But they’re not guests; they’re family!” he protested. “Besides, there’s so much food. Can’t I have a little taste?”

“Hmm,” I eyed the row of cooling aluminum pans. They’d taken me hours to produce, peeling and chopping and standing over a hot stove while holding a screaming baby. “Okay, just a taste,” I warned as I cut him a sliver of Yerushalmi kugel and a tiny piece of fish.

“Yum! This is delicious,” Tzvi sighed with pleasure as he licked his plate clean. “They should come more often.”

“Are you kidding me?” I groaned. “I’m exhausted. I only washed half a wall so far. I still have tons to do.”

“You mean you were actually cleaning the walls?” he asked incredulously, “for Shaya and Mimi?”

“Yes,” I replied defensively. “Shaya may be your brother, but he’s my brother-in-law, and I hear that his wife Mimi is a total neat-freak-slash-Martha-Stewart-type person. I want to make an awesome impression.”

My husband opened his mouth. “Don’t say anything,” I warned him.

Men! They just can’t understand the need for a woman to put up a good front. My newly married brother-in-law and his wife were visiting Eretz Yisrael for a week, and we were having the privilege of hosting them for the Friday night meal.

“I was only asking if I could help.”

In response, I handed him a shmatte.

Tzvi cleared his throat. “I have one more question.”

I looked at him.

“When are we eating supper?”

Supper?! I’d completely forgotten about it. “In a few minutes,” I said as I quickly popped some frozen slices of pizza in the toaster oven.

We ate the pizza with the smell of roast beef wafting from the oven.

“Sure smells good in here,” Tzvi said, chewing on his hard crust.

“Just wait till you see what I cooked!” I said. “Boy, are our guests going to be impressed!”
After supper we got down to work. Every cabinet was emptied and cleaned. The fridge got a scrubdown. Every chair was washed and cleaned with a toothpick. Even the ceiling got a quick swipe of the dust mop.

“Are you sure this is necessary?” Tzvi asked as he went over the couch with a brush.
“Extremely necessary,” I replied.

“Did I say that they should come more often?” he groaned as he collapsed on the now pristine couch. “No amount of kugel is worth this labor.”

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