Monday, November 28, 2011

In Which My Complete Lack of Directional Abilities Gets Me in Trouble, Once Again

Last week, I had to spend all day at a mall. Yes, had to. As part of our never-ending campaign to get our life back together after The Case of the Missing Purse (Where is Cam when you need her?), I had to take our car to the dealership in Ranaana to get the locks changed. We had two options, locks-wise:

1. Spend a lot of money to get the Immoblizer changed, so the thief could open the car, but have no way of starting it.
2. Spend a lot MORE money and completely change the entire internal structure of the car, including locks and ignition.

The idea of someone being able to open my car was less than pleasing. Also, I keep important stuff in there. Our Chanukah CD. My Rami Levi bags. Kids, sometimes. So we decided to go with Option More Money.

This also involved staying in Ranaana all day, since it took a few hours to completely change everything. There is a decent mall  right across the street from the garage (decent = kosher cafe with WiFi; I am easy to please), so at the beginning, all was both hunky and dory. I sat at Greg's, I worked, I drank coffee. Once we had passed hour five, though I was starting to go a little nuts. I walked around, but every time I entered a store, this annoying little goody-two-shoes voice said, "Really? You're going to spend money on clothing when you have to spend nearly 3,000 shekel fixing your car?" and then I walked out again, leaving a trail of disappointed sales clerks in my wake. So I just walked and wandered, up escalators and down escalators, until I began to feel like I was in some sort of bad New Age movie about the evils of commercialism.

Finally, I was released with my new(ish) car at 4:00. And that's where the trouble began. (Though you would not be wrong to say, "continued.")

See, in Israel, you need to have basic knowledge of geography to get where you need to go. There's no "Route 4 North" and "Route 4 South." There's "Route 4 Haifa" and "Route 4 Ashdod." And you need to know that Haifa is northerly and Ashdod is southerly. I'm good with the basics. I know the ups from the downs.

The problem is the middle. In my head, the entire Merkaz is somewhat mushed. Tel Aviv, Ranaana, Petah Tikva, Herziliyah, the airport, Modiin - they are all more or less "there" (pointing to the center.)

I had looked carefully at the map and wrote down directions before I left, but before I knew it, I was faced with a choice: Route 5 Tel Aviv or Route 5 Petah Tikva. My eventual goal was to get to Route 6.

Based on the whole reversing your previous route process, I was pretty sure I wanted "Petah Tikva." But I wasn't sure. And, as you now understand, in my mind Tel Aviv and Petah Tikvah are basically the same. Confusing me even further is my motto: When trying to go toward Modiin, follow signs to Tel Aviv. Except if you're at Ben-Gurion. (Of course, that motto works much better when your choices are "Haifa" or "Tel Aviv.")

So despite every fiber of my being telling to go toward Petah Tikva, I somehow found myself curving inexorably toward Tel Aviv. Yep, wrong way, as I veered off the exit ramp and saw the sign "Route 5 to Route 6" just out of reach. I thought, okay, no big deal, I'll just turn around. I rolled down my window and asked someone which way to Route 6. She looked at me as if I had asked her where the nearest crop circles are.

In the end, after much panicking and driving aimlessly, I ended up on the Ayalon, which thank goodness uses directional words like "south." After sitting in traffic for an hour, I finally made it back to Modiin (it's in the Merkaz; kind of near Tel Aviv).

Maybe it's time for a GPS. Do they make ones that attach to your wrist? That would be super helpful in the mall parking lot. ("To get back to your car, turn Left. Now turn. Right.")

Sunday, November 20, 2011

A Meta Moment with Ariella

Ariella was home today, on the (hopefully) final day of her unfortunately-it's-not-strep-illness. Luckily she was feeling up to running some errands with me, including but not limited to: The Mall, library, the Devil's Own Playground (aka post office), the bank and Rami Levi. While driving, she spotted this billboard:

קוטג' עם גינה ענקית (cottage with huge garden)

"I don't understand. Why would they give you a huge garden when you buy a box of cottage cheese? And where would you even put the garden?"

After I explained it was referring to real estate, not dairy products, we had a good laugh, and then Ariella helpfully suggested: "You could write about that now on Facebook."

Well, a bit too long for Facebook, but she's on the right track.

Thursday, November 17, 2011

Things Improve

Well, this week has been a big improvement on last week. I mean, it wouldn't have taken much, ("Hey, there was no theft or anesthesia! Let's celebrate!") but all in all things are on the up and up, by the by.

To all the Loyal Readers who shared their stories with us: You have had some truly outstandingly awful things that happened to you. And I thank you for sharing them with us, though I am very sorry that such truly outstandingly awful things happened to you.

A recap of the week:

1. Sunday: Replaced Maccabi cards, because let's face it, those are the #1 most important things in my wallet. It is approximately a hijillion times more likely that a child will end up in the doctor's office than the IDF soldiers at the machsom will ask for my teudat zehut. Although, I did have my Israeli passport, so at least there was photographic evidence that I am who I say I am.

2. Sunday night: Kids are superjazzed because new Maccabi cards are sparkly gold, instead of boring blue.

3. Monday: Accompanied by my faithful sidekick, Donny, went to Ramle (Note: Very important that your children do not put an extra syllable between the "m" and the "l.") Waited in line for about 45 minutes at the Misrad Hapnim, but once it was (finally - we were 85 and waited from 63) my turn, it went quickly. I handed over my Israeli passport, two passport photos, a completed form and a photocopy of my passport. ("את מסודרת!" she complimented me.) Within minutes, I had a brand new TZ, sefach (the addendum that proves that the children are mine, even when  they're throwing temper tantrums and food) and nifty blue carrying case. I was kind of hoping for sparkly gold, but I guess you can't have everything.

3. Monday, a little later: In the same building as the Misrad Hapnim is Misrad HaRishui, where you can get a new license. I showed her my brand-spanking-new TZ and explained I needed a new license. She asked me if I wanted to pay by phone or not - apparently it was half the price to pay by phone. I said, fer sher by phone. She replied: So fine, go to the back, call this number on your phone, and pay, what are you bothering me for?
How silly of me to think we could do this now, while I'm here in front of you! Went to the back, paid for my new license, then waited for Our Lady of the Licenses to finish with the next lucky customer, and once we told her we paid, she printed off a new temporary license for me. Whew.

4. Monday, even later: Bought myself a new wallet. It's black and red.

5. Tuesday: Got my new Isracard, picked up new bank card, and got the locks changed. We had sort of been shuffling our feet on the changing the locks thing because we're still not really sure the purse was stolen, and since we're moving in a month, it's kind of a waste of money. But after coming home every day for a week wondering if we had been wiped out of all of our worldly belongings, we decided it was worth the money.

So all that's left is getting spare car keys. And a new purse, of course, but in the meantime I'm using an old one that I had donated to the Beit Malon Game. In other news, Nadav is recovering nicely from his surgery. Good mom that I am, I was totally ready to send him to gan last Friday (day after the surgery), because, hey, no fever! but Donny decided that his completely swollen shut eye ("You shoulda seen the other guy") meant he got another day at home. But he's been back in action this week, grunting his way happily through life.

Friday, November 11, 2011

A Series of Crappy Events

Well, Loyal Readers, you may be wondering if I have abandoned you. Indeed not. For you are the Loyalest of Readers, and I appreciate your recent outpouring of support and sympathy for those of faced with the curse of the Uncleanable House.

This week has received the dubious award of the Crappity Week of Craptastic Crappiness in the Crap-istory of Craphood. Unfortunately, it is not yet funny, so the extended blog post will have to wait for a time when I can laugh rather than cry. Some high(?)lights:

1. Nadav's surgery (planned, but still), to remove a cyst near his eye, which involved two separate days at the hospital, one being a "Yom Kabbalah" during which we got yelled at by a nurse and waited in a crowded, windowless room for hours, and one being the actual day of the surgery, the morning of which I nearly got lost and ended up in east Jerusalem. Thank God the surgery went well. Actual time spent at hospital: 11 hours. Actual time in surgery: 30 minutes.

2. My pocketbook, and all contents therein, was either lost in or stolen from my apartment. Including, but not limited to: wallet, teudat zehut, license, credit/bank cards, cash, undeposited checks, Maccabi cards, various store cards, including Rami Levi, (and you just KNOW it's going to be a b*&#%ch to get them to grant me another one), an old (only sentimental, but still) picture of Donny and me when we were engaged, keys, including house, car keys for two different cars, machsan, building, mail and this cute little keychain device that you use for shopping carts instead of scrambling for a 5-shekel piece.

3. It turns out the convenient Misrad Hapnim in Modiin will not, in fact, issue a new teudat zehut if yours was stolen. That, naturally, requires a trip to a different city. Which I haven't been able to do, since I've been spending 11 hours at a hospital.

4. We are also having two seminary girls for Shabbat, which is not crappy at all, just the opposite, but I worried (earlier in the week, before my life took a dive to Craptown) that when you're in seminary, your Shabbat experiences are supposed to be "chavayot," where you see how people live in the Holy Land and learn all sorts of stuff and get inspired and all. I feel bad in advance that these lovely young ladies will be here, in Modiin, a city which I love but, let's face it, is kind of vanilla, in our less-than-inspirational house, filled not as much with kedusha and role models as it is with Legos and socks.

In the meantime, Loyal Readers, feel free to share stories about how you once lost something. If it could be worse than my story, that would be great. Thanks.

Thursday, November 3, 2011

The Soul-Crushing Burden of Housecleaning

Dramatic title, no?

But it only reflects my deepest feelings, my utter contempt and hatred of (constantly) cleaning my house (in this case, "constantly" means over and over and over again. And again.)

At least several times a day, I begin sentences with, "But didn't I just_____??!!" (wash the floor, wipe down the counters, sweep Nadav's cereal trail, do dishes, pick a kippah up off the floor.)

For example, I washed the floor yesterday. Approximately 2.5 hours later, it looked like Pompeii swept through.

I despair.

And I despair even more when I realize that there are people who somehow manage not to live in constant muck and filth and cups! (Oh cups, you kill me! How are there so many of you? How??? HOW???)

Once, I had to get a key from someone in the building. It was a Thursday afternoon. I stopped by, in the middle of the day. This is a woman with a passle of little kids, who was also pregnant at the time, and during my random drop-in, I noticed that her house. Was. Spotless. On a  Thursday! A Thursday! By Thursdays, I've given up and played the "It'll get cleaned on Friday" card. Okay, sometimes I start playing that card on Tuesday.

But not this superwoman. Clean floors, empty counters, clean floors, clear table, clean floors. And clean floors.

How does she do it?

I would venture that perhaps she has a community of houselves working for her. Obviously, though, that is ridiculous.

Everyone knows they were freed in Book 7.

What is her secret? Does she stash her kids in the machsan and do her cooking at a neighbor's? Has her family learned how to hover, so that dusty little feet don't mingle with the drops of water that are on the floor because family members WILL fling their wet hands all over the place while looking for a towel, which is, of course, right in front of them? And of course, you know what happens when you mix dust and water. You get a Very Unhappy Mama.

To lessen the soul-crushingness of it all, I try to squeeze in as much straightening up and cleaning as I can while the kids are still up - I know, it's like trying to sop up Niagara Falls with an Israeli paper towel, but still - because if I reenter the kitchen after doing the bedtime jig and see a sink full of dishes and aruchat eser boxes that need filling, and all I really want to do is sit down and write a blog post where I complain about cleaning, well, I may just have to curl up in a fetal position on the, wait, it's filthy....on the sofa....whoops, covered in tissues and Uno cards and ouch, a library book (Digression: Uno goes MUCH faster when you are missing half the cards)....maybe on my, not there, covered in unfolded mounds of laundry....

So you see the reasons for my despair. Can't even find a place to curl up and despair.

Oh well. Guess I'll just go wash a cup.