Sunday, January 13, 2008

Wife told me to accept defeat.

I feel betrayed by my wife. All this time, I have thought about nothing other than how to protect us and the terms of the lease that my wife expressed that were so important to her. This afternoon, our landlord walked in with his family and told us that the lease I suggested we sign was not acceptable. He slammed it down on the table and said that he’s the landlord, he’s the boss, and whatever he says is what we have to agree to, or we could move out. Knowing that my wife told me that morning that she would really like to stay and that she doesn’t want to move again, I decided to be a bit softer and to save us from moving out.

We spoke about the lease, and how important it is for the terms of the lease to match our agreement. We arranged to look at the second version of the lease that they gave us (still a one-sided lease, but not as extreme as the first) and to sit down with them tomorrow and perhaps to sign it.

The interesting outcome is that my point of view of the landlords changed because I understood the family dynamics for the first time. The father is in charge. The son likes to think he’s in charge, and the father has a difficult time controlling him. The mother is the typical Israeli. It was interesting to me to see the son speak in front of the father and to interrupt his father – perhaps the way I interrupt mine. At the time, I only paid attention to what the father said, but after reflecting on it, I realized that I identified with the son because I often have a difficult time respecting my father the way I am supposed to. One interesting outcome is that at one point, the father got annoyed at his son for interrupting him and negotiating for him and he said to his son, “I’m here. Let me talk.”

All in all, the conversation went well. By the end of it, my wife was seduced into thinking that they were good people and she had forgotten everything they had done to us until now. Further, I was also convinced, but I still wanted to be careful by making sure that the lease properly reflects what we want it to say. One thing that I felt was resolved, however, was that at least we know now who is in charge of the lease terms and the decisions; the father.

So I spent the rest of the day shopping with my wife. I wanted to get some tools and nails to put up the Mezuzahs on the house, because even if we were leaving within the month, Jewish Law says, “he who has fringes (Tzitzis) on his Tallis, Tefillin on his arm and on his head, and a Mezuzah on his doors is protected by the Holy One, blessed be He.” I had the first two of those requirements, but so far the mezuzahs were not yet unpacked or put up on our doors. I thought that maybe because we had no mezuzahs up (even though they are not required until we live here for 30 days) this was the reason we were having all these problems in life; namely, that there was no mezuzah protecting us during our travels. So I went to pick up a new toolkit with a hammer, a wrench, and some nails. Unfortunately, the nails that I used to put in the Mezuzah cases were poor quality and my hammer broke the plastic cases for the Mezuzah where the screw is supposed to go. So while they look unsightly, at least they are up.

Anyway, with the new tools, I put together my grandmother’s dining room table (may her soul rest in peace in Gan Eden) and I sat there going over the lease for our discussion with the landlord tomorrow. After discussing my findings with my wife, I found her to be unexcited about my arguments. She felt that I was nit-picking the lease to death and that I was lawyering the whole thing to death. She said that she was tired of fighting the landlords and that she just wanted to give in to their requests. She said that if we broke any term of the landlord’s lease, she’s fine with the landlord keeping the security deposit. She said she was fine moving out and risking the landlord keeping the security deposit for himself. She said she was fine with giving the last month’s rent just to make peace with the landlord and get the lease signed. In short, she gave in to EVERYTHING we have been fighting for daily for almost a month now. In short, she told me that she just wants to live here and that she wants to give in to all of the landlord’s terms. I felt betrayed because all this time I was under the impression that I was fighting for us, and tonight I find out that I was fighting for a cause she didn’t believe in.

I feel that I wasted so much time on this issue for the protection of myself and my family, and now she doesn’t even want me to fight for what we were originally promised. She would rather just have the apartment as it is and risk losing the security deposit. This is the eve of tomorrow’s meeting with the landlord. As far as things stand, and as far as I understand, she just wants me to give in to everything and sign the lease. I feel so defeated.

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