First, kappyim l'Risa for her keen insights into Israeli translation/transliteration confusion. In the word "meekrogal" (i.e. microwave) we are trying to have it both ways - transliterating "micro" and translating "wave" (gal.) According to Risa, and I wholeheartedly agree, "microwave" should either be "microwave" in Hebrew, or, "gal katan meod." I encourage you all to begin using this new coinage.
On Friday the schools and gans of the iriyah were having open houses for prospective parents to come check them out for the coming year. Now you might be thinking, as we were, "Wait, didn't you just get to Israel? Didn't you just finish signing up for schools for this year?" The answer is, yes, we did, and yes, we did. But this is how it is in Modi'in. (Perhaps it is this way in all of Israel. I can only speak about Modi'in, and as you know, I would never make sweeping generalizations about customs or practices of an entire country based on my own personal experiences.) Anyway, registration is in two weeks, and we went to look at gans/schools for next year. Yaakov, who will be three in April, will be entering "Trom Trom" because apparently one "Trom" just isn't enough. Ariella will be, gulp, in kitah aleph. We went first to Ariella's school for the very good reason that their open house started first. We walked into the office to figure out what we were supposed to do. I figured we would shmie (sp?) around the school for a while, I brought my camera to take some pictures because Ariella is VERY excited to be going into, gulp, kitah alpeh. I thought the secretary would just shoo us in the general direction of kitah aleph, and we would be on our own from there. However, she smiled at us, asked us our name, and then opened up this massive 3-ring binder and within twenty seconds had located Ariella's paperwork. That's right, they already have the information on this year's gan kids (i.e. next year's kitah aleph) ready in their office. Impressive, no? She took our teudat zehut and gave us some papers to fill out. I was very proud that all my ulpan-gimmel work has been paying off because I was able to read and understand most of the paperwork. The truth is, it was really various sheets asking the same question: "Is there anything wrong with your kid? Health problems? Learning problems? Allergies? Social problems? Health problems, did we ask that already? Anything that might in any way prevent her from learning, talking, playing, or eating with the other children? And does she have any health problems? What about learning problems? " Well, you get the idea. Thanks to the good Lord, we were able to answer "no" to those questions which made the filling out-ness that much quicker. (That is not to say she isn't without her own, ahem, unique, sometimes, perhaps challenging personality, but that is something the kitah aleph morot will have to figure out on their own!) We did note that she is an "olah chadashah" and that the language spoken at home is English. While I am somewhat apprehensive about her language abilities once she actually has to be responsible for "content" and not just "Tafasti!" (tag in Hebrew), I keep reminding myself that there are about 7 more months to go before, gulp, kitah alpeh.
On to Yaakov's gan. There are two options for Trom Trom gans - a half day and a full day. Keep him out of the house as long as possible, that's what I always say! We visited the full day gan. The ganenet seemed like one of those hidden tzidkaniot - the kids were all in a circle, giving tzedakah (it was tefillah time) and she absolutely had them under her spell. It was mesmerizing. Every time a kid dropped an agurah into the tzedakah box, she and the rest of the class chanted. "Tizkeh l'mitzvot ul'ma'asim tovim." Donny and I walked out, hypnotized, chanting, "tizkeh l'mitzot ul'ma'asim tovim." We looked around the gan a little, but the ganenet wasn't able to talk to us because she was busy with the chanting, so we shrugged and said, "Looks good! Where do we sign up?"
Shabbos was uneventful. I spent most of it engrossed in "Deathly Hallows." Which I am reading for the fourth time. I do not normally reread books, much less than four times, but as I have said before, "Ani maytah al JK Rowling." Ariella wasn't feeling great so we didn't even go to shul, but it was nice to just chill out. Sure enough, though, Ariella got a little fever on motzash. Sunday morning I took her to the doctor, pretty sure he was going to tell me it was nothing because she didn't seem that sick. Ha ha! She had an ear infection in the left ear and an "impressive" (in a bad way) looking throat. So we got another diseased stick and a prescription and headed over to the Macabi building. Luckily I used my morning at home very productively: I cleaned Donny's Mounds of Clothing from the dresser (the poor pair of pants smushed all the way at the bottom of the pile were suffocating and close to death, but luckily I revived them and showed them their comfy home in the drawer. Drawer - Donny - are you reading this? It's the thing with handles, it pulls out, it's quite nifty, actually, and - get this - there is room in this "drawer" contraption for your clothes!) Anyway, you are probably wondering how I productively used the rest of my morning. The answer is: Talking to Lisa.
Tonight, a very exciting event has occurred: We received our remote controls for the garage! Two remotes! At first, the Dimri Human Resources Department had put a sign up in the elevator that each remote was 80 NIS (too bad you can't use New Poofahs), but if we didn't order them in advance, they would be 150 NIS each. We needed to sign up, via the handy-dandy piece of paper dangling precariously from a single strip of tape method, indicating how many remotes we wanted. So we signed up for two. But then began the another Great Elevator Debate. You know, whereby people communicate to each other through nasty little comments on the signs in the elevator? This time, someone yelled that we should get at least one for free, since we've been paying all this va'ad habayit for months, and what have we got to show for it anyway, not even a "My Dad/Mom/Son/Daughter/Filipino Worker went to Dimri and All I Got Was This Lousy T-Shirt" t-shirt. So then someone from the Va'ad wrote back and said, "Oh, yeah? If you're so sure of yourself, why didn't you sign your name, loser!" And someone wrote back: "I'm not a loser, you're a loser!" And then someone else wrote back, "I'm rubber, you're glue...." So this went on for quite some time, until, suddenly, the graffitied sheet was down, silence ensued, and then a week later a new sheet went up. "Please sign up for remote controls for the garage. It has been decided that each apartment who has paid their va'ad habayit will get one remote for free. However, the old sign up sheet has been, ahem, taken down, so please sign up again." Anyway, tonight was the big Garage Remote Control Handout Evening in the lobby ("Free coffee!") and Donny came back with two remotes. Tovim hashnayim min ha'echad, indeed.