So here I am, thinking, what am I going to blog about now? The chagim are over, we're nearing the end of our "siddurim" (that's what you call things you have to take care of), and we're all back on a regular, boring schedule. How will I fill my time and the empty spaces of this blog? Ha! Day One of our first "normal" week was anything but normal. Luckily for you, loyal readers, the worse my day is, the better it is for you.
We'll back up to Shabbat. We were very happy to host Savta and the Elusive Uncle Jonathan for Shabbat. Donny went and picked them up from Jerusalem on Friday. Ariella and Yaakov quickly picked a partner, which worked out very well for Donny and me. Savta played games and did puzzles with Yaakov all of Friday, and Jonathan and Ariella engaged in intense literary debates, discussing various themes and motifs found in "ABC: The Alphabet Book","Click Clack Moo: Cows that Type," "Madeline," and "Curious George." Savta and Ariella also played many games throughout Shabbat, including Chutes and Ladders and CandyLand. It was very nice to spend time with the family, and the kids loved their playmates. Saturday night, we bid a fond farewell to Uncle Jonathan as he melted back into his elusive existence.
Saturday night is when the fun started. First, Yaakov fell asleep, snoring loudly, on the floor outside his room. This amused us; we took pictures. After finally going to sleep at midnight (0:00 on my clock - it always freaks me out, like something is about to blow up), we were awoken at 1:30 AM by someone calling on our American line wanting to speak to "Mike." "Mike" has been getting many messages these past few weeks. We finally spoke to one of the people calling for him and told the person, that, no, Mike was not trying to trick them by leaving his message as, "Hi, you've reached Gila and Donny." Mike, in fact, does not reside at this number. In facter, this number does not even reside in the United States of America. They seemed very understanding, apologized, and hung up. Clearly, after they hung up, they shook their heads, laughing, "Oh, that Mike, he is a clever one! Pretending he doesn't have that number! He can't trick us! Oh no, we are too smart for him. We will continue to call this number, at all hours of the day and night! We will find Mike!" So those intrepid people continue to call. After I told them in no uncertain terms that I was not Mike, I hung up, turned off the ringer, and tried to go back to sleep. However, at 4:00, we had a nocturnal visitor in the form of Ariella. It turned out that the "my throat and head hurt" complaint before bed was not a Gan Avoidance Technique, but that she was actually sick. So much for "back to routine."
In the morning, Donny went off to work, and since Savta was spending the day with us, I was able to leave Ariella moaning and groaning on the couch and take Yaakov to gan without her. I dropped him off at gan, then went to Tipat Chalav. See, doctors here check you and prescribe drugs, but that's it. All immunizations are done at tipat chalav, and they of course require numerous visits and paperwork. Since Yaakov was due for his second Hep A shot, I figured I should begin the process now, in the hopes he would be fully immunized by first grade. But I went prepared, having heard in advance that I would need a copy of his immunization record with me. (Ha! Score one for me!) She took the record and my phone number and said she would "call me" to set up the appointment. Hmmmm. I am skeptical.
Then it was back to the apartment, hold Ariella while she moaned and groaned, and then I actually had to go off to the doctor for myself. I scheduled this appointment last week, thinking I would do it in the morning while the kids were in gan. Luckily, Savta to the rescue again - she stayed with Ariella while I went. (Oh, and I learned that unless you have a deadly illness, you don't use the word "choleh," just, "lo margish tov." So when your kid is bawling their eyes out, spewing all kinds of nasty stuff from various orifices, you don't say, "He's sick," you say, "Yeah, he's not feelin' so hot today.") While waiting for the doctor in the waiting room, I got a phone call. I answered. "Hello?" Unfortunately, the speaker responded in Hebrew. Which meant I had to have one of those conversations over the phone with a fast-talking Israeli lady, and me only understanding every fourth word. Plus only being able to answer "Ken" and "Bseder." I was able to understand three words: "car" "Microsoft" and "test." Using my keen deductive skills, I figured out that they needed to take out car to do some kind of test. I mumbled something about being home in twenty minutes, hoping desperately that my answer matched their question. (A minute later, Donny texted me, saying, "Oh, someone's going to be calling you because they need to take the car in for a test." Thanks man.) After my doctor's appointment, I made an appointment for Ariella at 10:50, and then went back home. I would just like to note here that Ilana, the secretary at the Dimri medical offices, is exceptionally nice and sweet and always has a smile on her face and I love her. We had a short visit with Lisa, who was in Modi'in and stopped by, and then the Car Man called. Car Lady was just the person who sets up the appointment. Car Man is the person who actually takes the car, and he is a REAL Israeli. The kind that not only never heard of "English," but can't understand Hebrew with an American accent. Not only that - here's where it gets really amusing - he wanted directions! From me! I can barely give you directions to the other side of the room! It took me 7 years to be able to (sort of) direct people to our home in Riverdale, and even that I could only do via the Henry Hudson. Coming from the Deegan? Thruway? Fuggedaboutit. Now, not only did this Real Israeli want directions, from me, who has barely been here 2 months, but I had to give them in Hebrew. With an Israeli accent. After trying to squeak by with "ken" and "bseder" he called my bluff. "I'm not sure you know Hebrew," he said, in a not so kind voice. Gee, what gave it away? Anyway, at that point I had to leave with Ariella for the doctor, so I called Donny, told him to deal with Car Man, and left. (I know that Donny treasures those hysterical phone calls from me. I think it brings us closer.)
So we went back to the doctor (this is the third time there in 3 days.) Luckily we had the English-speaking doctor. He looked in her throat, and said it definitely looks infected. I was thinking, "Oh God, he's going to tell me she needs a strep test, but that they don't do that here, and he'll give me a million sheets of paper and I'll have to go to the pharmacy to pick up the test, then make an appointment with nurses to do the test, and then get something stamped at the bank. For a two shekel fee." Well, it wasn't that bad. Good news: He swabbed her throat. Better news: Since the throat looked infected, he gave me a prescription for antibiotics. A mother's dream! Bad news: He could not actually test the swab in the office. So he took the diseased stick, wrapped it up in a piece of paper, stapled it, and told me to take it to the lab to be tested. Even though it was only 11:00, he said he was pretty sure it wouldn't go out until Monday, which meant the results wouldn't be in until Tuesday. No wonder he gave me the prescription right away!
No problem. After the appointment, I met Car Man outside the building. He made sure to speak Very Slowly. Using small words. Gesturing often. I gave him the keys, hoped he wasn't a terrorist, and set off for home. Now, I needed to go to the Macabi building with my diseased stick and the prescription. I was also carless, which wasn't such a huge deal with the Macabi building is very close, and Savta was around so I didn't have to drag Ariella with me. The path to Macabi is a similar walk to Death by Brambles, just a little to the left. I headed off across the dirt path. First, I tried to get rid of the diseased stick. I went to where the doctor told me, but then got yelled at and was told, yes, we'll take your diseased stick, but next time, you need to bring it upstairs, not here. Fine, at least it was out of my hands. Literally. Then I went to MacabiPharm, where it seemed that every person in Modi'in needed some medication urgently, and all of them needed to spend a really long time discussing everything about their disease with the pharmacist. Plus, their handy-dandy computerized system was down, so at least two pharmacists were on the phone with tech support trying to explain that it said "130" when really we were up to "264." Really, I think their time could have been better spent. So I waited in line for 30 minutes, very grateful that Ariella, who "wasn't feelin' so hot," was at home. During the wait, it started to POUR. I mean, I did say "mashiv haruach" in the morning, so I wasn't totally surprised. However, this did not make so happy, seeing as I was totally unprepared, coverage-wise. I hoped it would stop by the time I was ready to leave, which at this rate would be about the same time the strep test came back.
When it was my turn, I got one of the Intense Ladies (see: earlier posts) who was even more intense because of all the hustle and bustle. She only wanted to fill part of my prescription - give me one bottle of amoxicillin, enough for 4 days, and then, if the test was positive, I would come back and she would give me the rest. Ha! I said. "You may be an intense Israeli lady pharmacist, but I am a mother hell-bent on getting medicine and not having to come back here. So give me all the bottles." "But then you might have to throw some out!" It was a consequence I was willing to live with.
I left with my meds in hand. This is when things turned Papa Bearish. I started walking home in the downpour, but as I was walking, the road quickly became mud. My sneakers were starting to sink in the mud. I tried to clamber up the nearest hill, to higher ground, but I started slipping and losing my footing. Then, I realized I couldn't even cross the street because there was a six inch (= some amount of centimers) puddle. So I had to backtrack, through the gloppy mud, cross the street, and then go the long way home. Of course, the brilliant minds running Dimri Towers thought that today would be a good time to implement the security measures, and when I got back, the door was locked. I called Donny hysterically (do you see a pattern?) to get the code. When I punched it in, it said, "Enter," but the door did not budge. Ha ha! They have some kind of sense of humor, those Dimri people. Luckily, someone was coming out and opened the door for me.
The rest of the afternoon was quieter. I changed into dry clothes. Our car got returned, the FedEx man came with my credit card, Ariella and I did puzzles, I picked up Yaakov, etc etc.
We bid Savta a tearful farewell - the kids really enjoyed having her around, playing games together, discussing life, and we hope the next time she comes we'll get to see her more. Then they went to sleep. Or not, but you get the idea. Tomorrow I'm hoping for a more Sister Bear kind of day. She always has things together, that Sister Bear.