We were excited to recapture the magic of Day #1. Ariella and Yaakov were begging us to go to a park where they could collect rocks, so we took out the map again, looked for green, and drove off. The first park we found was called "Monkey Park." It was one of those places where you pay for the fun. It was not so crowded when we arrived, but it was 48 NIS per person, which seemed like a lot of money for fun. In retrospect, we should have paid the darn money and gotten some fun out of it, but we said, "No thank you, Pricey Fun, we will turn you down and instead drive around for an hour, find nothing, and wind up with cranky, angry kids." Which is exactly what we did. We continued driving, and found a park nearby, called Ya'ar (forest) Ben Shemen. We got out and started Exploring, and what we Found during our Exploration was that the park should have been called Ya'ar Old Dirty Water Bottles. We decided that playing with garbage was not going to be on today's agenda. Back in the car we go. We ended up driving around for about an hour, chasing Green. (By the way, if you've ever wondered, "Hey, what happens if you keep driving north, passed Kiryat Sefer?" The answer is: "Nothingness and Arab villages.") Result: We end up at a playground about 2 minutes away from our apartment. Even that didn't work, because the playground consisted of huge scary slides which the kids didn't want to go on. So Donny and Ariella discussed life for a while, playing Daddy's favorite game of Choices. (Daddy: "Yerushalayim or Modi'in?" Ariella: "Eating or not eating?" She's still getting the hang of it.) We decided to call it quits and come back home. We made lunch and ate in a sukkah downstairs (someone Donny met at shul offered the use of his sukkah during the week.) Then we came back, the kids fought with each other and Donny fought with the internet. Around 4, we were just heading out again, when got a phone call from one of our two favorite Leezys! It was very exciting to speak with her, since she is in Australia and we're never sure what time or even what day it is there. So we shmoozed for a while, although because Donny "fixed" our Vonage, she sounded something like, "Hi [crackle, static] Israel? [Crackle, static] work? Do you [crackle crackle static]?" So we hoped our answers matched what she was saying, but if not, we apologize, Leeze.
Then we headed out to Modi'in Center to find flowers. Donny and I were going to our first Microsoft get-together. His manager had invited his reportees (?) for dinner, and we wanted to bring flowers. We did not find any flowers at Modi'in Center, but we did find an awesome ice cream stand. So of course we got some. We eventually found flowers at a different shopping center and then came home. The kids were bathed, the floor was bathed, and Donny and I made ourselves all purdy. I figured since no one napped today, they (the kids) would be asleep by the time Melanie, the babysitter, came at 7:45. However, it was not to be. They both came running out of the room, totally hyper and began climbing on each other and scooting around on the floor using the top of the Chutes & Ladder box. Donny and I left her with two crazed kiddies., but Melanie did say later that they eventually tired themselves out and put themselves to bed.
Our dinner party was very nice. The hosts were not dati, but they knew all about kashrut and made everything kosher for us. Our hostess had soup, salads, cheeses, and wines, - lots of shehakol and such - so Donny didn't have to worry about a sukkah. There were not so many people, because only 3 couples were invited, and 1.5 of those people weren't there. Luckily, they all spoke excellent English so we had a lovely time. Donny commented afterwards that their English is so good it's hard for him to learn Hebrew at work. Donny drank a LOT of wine, because Yaron, his manager, is a wine person and continued to pour Donny more, which Donny continued to drink. So I did the driving home. For dessert, they served cake, this really good pudding thing, and they have a fancy cappuccino/espresso machine. (Basically, Israelis think our American coffee - large Dunkin' Donuts-style coffee, extra cream, no sugar - is, to put it nicely, crap. When they offer you "coffee" they either mean espresso or cappuccino. Everyone likes to tell the story of how Starbucks failed in Israel because everyone was like, "What IS this stuff?") We drove home, luckily found Melanie on the couch reading, and not, as I had feared, tied up in the laundry room while the kids ran wild, passing the conch.
So to sum up Day #2:
1. Looking for random spots of green doesn't always work. Bored kids = bad times.
2. Ice cream is good.
3. Parties are good.
4. Melanie is good.
Today we are headed to Jersualem to Donny's aunt and uncle for Shabbat, but before that we are going to Maale Adumim to see the SASSOONS! Moadim L'simcha and Shabbat Shalom!