Rachel is here visiting from the Old Country. She arrived on Monday, and since then, I have been showing her the exciting sites of Modi'in, then leaving her to her own devices in the afternoon when I go tutor. She is becoming very close with our couches.
So far, our Tour of Modi'in has included such famous locales as:
1. The Mall!
2. Ofer's Falafel!
3. The Mall - Again!
4. The Frozen Yogurt with Stuff In It Stand at, you guessed it, The Mall!
5. Bank Discount, where I attempted to get a new password, their computer crashed whilst dealing with me, and then of course, I had to go to two separate ATM's in order to deposit a check and take out cash.
6. Bank Discount is, naturally, located in...The Mall!
7. And the tour ends with the unbeatable, the thrilling, Inside of our Apartment.
So Rachel was surely saddened to leave the excitement of Modi'in for the staid, boring town of Jerusalem. But we bid her farewell on Thursday morning (though she will be returning for one last night on the town next week.)
On Thursday, I met with our two interior designers, Donny and Shikma. Donny has probably been spending nearly as much time as Shikma making pictures of our bedroom, kitchen, hallway, and various "nishas." He is having waaaaaay too much fun.
Shikma and Donny talked business. I also contributed to the design discussion, coming up with, what I think, are some truly innovative ideas.
1. Whenever there isn't enough room for something - suspend it from the ceiling! Okay, it doesn't work for everything, like the toilet, but it is certainly a space-saving idea.
2. A conveyor belt from the kitchen to the dining room table! How annoying is it to always be running back and forth when you're setting the table, and then you finally sit down but forget to bring the salt? Well, in my ground-breaking idea, everything would be on a conveyor belt, and you could just pluck off what you need as it comes around! Why this hasn't been installed everywhere is beyond me. But, then, geniuses are always misunderstood in their time.
So we sat around looking at floor plans, Donny saying intelligent things and me, eyes slowly glazing over, turning the papers around to figure out which way is up, and finally, a la Joey from "Friends," putting all the sheets on the floor and stepping inside of them.
In other exciting apartment news, our bank lost half a million shekels! Of ours! (Note: The bank we are using for the apartment transactions is not our usual one, and I will omit the name for security reasons. Instead, I will say only that its letters can be rearranged to spell "Fearsome Junk Lab.")
Immediately after signing the contract, our kablan, Shapir, told us to go pay right right right away. So we transferred about NIS 500,000 (unfortunately, you can't pay Shapir in poofahs) from our branch of the bank, which is located in a far away, unnamed city, to a branch that is closer. I went to the closer branch ASAP, brought the "shovar" (Hebrew for "piece of paper in which you transfer all of your life savings to the kablan, only to have the money lost en route") and paid. The nice guy at the bank - let's call him "Fearsome" - took out his holy stamper, stamped my shovar, and sent me on my way.
"That's it?" I asked dubiously, surely there would be something else I needed to do. Like pay a fee.
"That's it!" he replied cheerfully.
Famous last words.
A week later, Shapir had not yet received the money. It was no longer in our account, but not quite in theirs. Well, where is it? Was there a bottleneck in the wires? We called our banker.
"Well, all that it says here is that the money has been transferred to another branch. What you need to do is call the other branch."
Donny calls and explains the problem. His response?
"Zeh lo kashur elay!" (This has nothing to do with me!)
But Donny was able to convince Fearsome that because he took the shovar and stamped it with his holy stamper, it IS, in fact, kashur elav.
"Hmmmm," he pondered, mulling over out point. "Okay, you have a fair point." (This is Fearsome's MO: Deny first, acquiesce later, after faced with incontrovertible evidence. When I first came with the shovar, he said "Ee efshar!" Impossible! Once I explained that we had transferred our money, reminded him that he spoke with the other branch about this, etc. etc., he consented to admit that it was, in fact, efshar.)
It took a few days and few phone calls, but we heard back from the other brach with the following cryptic message: "Today, I sent the copies [of the shovar, presumably?] to the bank in front of me [Shapir's bank, we hope?]"
So. There is a fairly good chance that Shapir has the money and won't give our apartment away to someone else. If he does, I hope those people like sofas suspended from the ceiling.
And of course, I would be remiss if I didn't mention the new year, Gregorian as it is. Happy 2010! Now I really need to stop writing "2008" on my checks.