Tuesday, June 30, 2009

Party Down

First of all, "Zehava" and "Rena," aka "Friends of Leezy" - I know you're out there and you're reading! So let's make it official! Come join the Loyal Readers' Club! YOU can become LR's 28 and 29!

Second of all, I apologize to anyone, especially Cheryl, who might have actually had to work yesterday because I did not write a new blog.

Now, a few updates. Ariella's last day of gan was on Tuesday, and they celebrated in high-style, with inflatable water slides, hot dogs, and cotton candy. Today she started kaytanah, and went off happily to join her friends without so much as a backwards glance toward Mommy. I am happy about this; since camp is only 3 weeks, I'm glad we're not spending one of those weeks "adjusting" and "crying." This afternoon, we went to - gasp! - beit sefer! This was very exciting. Each incoming first grader had a ten-minute slot. We met with one of the first grade morot, who asked Ariella some questions. It was very cute. I wasn't quite sure what the point was, but Ariella had a great time just being in beit sefer. She cannot wait for homework. (I am not kidding.)

And now, the reason for no blog last night: Donny and I were out with the hep cats of Microsoft, celebrating the Release of Beta-3! Yay! Whoo-hoo! What does this mean? I have no idea! But the food was GREAT!

Apparently, in geek-world, "releases" are very exciting things, the way "April 16th" is to an accountant (well, except for Dadz, who immediately starts worrying about the "June 15" deadline) and the handing in of the final anecdotal is for SAR teachers. However, the geeks know how to PAR-TAY! I mean, us SAR teachers celebrate by sucking down two Nips from Milly (now, I do love a good Nip, but it does not compare to free drinks and meat.)

This party for the Release of Beta-3! was held on the beach, near Zichron Yaakov (some of you super-Loyal Readers may recall ZY was the site of our original aliyah, Aliyah on Purpose.) The weather was perfect, and there were lots of drinks - alcoholic, caffeinated, and otherwise - and good food - grilled meat things, salads, roasted potatoes, drinks.... It was a big improvement over the last MS party I had been to in Long Island. There, the Jews were squished at a table together, so that the rest of the normal people didn't have to gaze their eyes upon our rubbery airline dinner (complete with plastic utensils! Classy!). Our one concession at the time was having a bottle of kosher wine and hoarding it jealously lest it come in contact with someone Not of the Tribe. (That one bit of archaic Jewish law is always particularly difficult to explain to the non-Tribies.) So last night's party was a big improvement. The Israel R&D Center rocks! Did I mentioned there were drinks?

As we drove up to the party, however, Donny realized that he had forgotten his Microsoft ID card at home. Apparently, the employees were supposed to bring their cards in order to gain entrance to the party. There were two sets of security gates we needed to pass. At the first entrance, Donny offered to drive the car over so they could see our MS logo on the side. However, they took one look at Donny and decided he definitely worked for Microsoft, and let us in without any trouble. At the second entrance, the one betwixt us and the drinks, they were not as lax with the security. There were women and men with those Secret Service ear buds and walkie-talkies running around; phone calls had to be made and lists checked before we were allowed in.

This begs the question: Who, exactly is trying to crash the Microsoft party? I mean the food and drink were definitely good, but really? People are making a concerted effort to drive to this remote area of the world and party with people who speak solely in acronymns ("The UAG from the TMG was a definite clash with the spec from the EIEIO.")? People who, when treated to a rockin' concert featuring one of Israel's most famous singers, mill around on the stage, occasionally throwing vaguely troubled glances in the direction of the singing, while telling geek jokes ("So this guy walked into a PowerPoint....and boy, did it hurt!") and waiting for someone to give a Presentation? ("Program Managers: Do They Do Anything Besides Make Fancy-Looking Presentations and Tell Other People to Work on Stuff?") By the way, that one is actually given by Donny. It's a short one. The answer is, "No."

Monday, June 29, 2009

A New Day, A New Blog

This blog post is dedicated to Momz and Cheryl, who want "a new blog every day."

For those of you following the exciting developments in our saga, "Is It Strep?" the answer, as it is sometimes, is no. Just a virus. Phew! Yaakov's tonsils live to see another day!

Tomorrow is Ariella's last day of gan. Can you imagine? We have come a very far way from the little girl in September who was plunked into a class of 32 Hebrew speakers, knew not a one, and only recognized an "aleph" and the word "chalav." Now, she's the one recording the message on our answering machine in Hebrew and regaling me with the ins and outs of gan politics. Plus, she keeps me up to date on the parsha. It's a big moment for all of us. Well, maybe not for Yaakov, who's too busy taking a scrap of cardboard and turning it into a drawbridge for his cars. Donny decided to celebrate by going out and buying Ariella a bracelet which he spent too much money on.

In celebration of the last day of gan, the kids get to come in bathing suits tomorrow and they're doing some sort of pool/water activities. Ariella is super jazzed about this. This is an improvement over what we thought the last day activity was. On Sunday, Ariella told me, "We have to bring a change of clothes and 'magvonim' - i.e. wipes - on Tuesday." We figured they were doing some sort of cleaning, hence the wipes, and the gan is unbelievably dirty, hence the change of clothes. Today we were enlightened - the change of clothes is for after swimming, and they were told to bring a 'magevet' - towel, not magvonim. Phew! Waaaaay more fun. They also reminded the kids to bring their underwear in their bag. Haha! How many times did that happen to you, ladies? You know it did. Those camp days when you went in your bathing suit, then forgot to pack underwear and were forced to either wear the damp bathing suit all day (gross), or, ahem, go commando? (Grosser?) So I am going to be super-vigilant tomorrow, underwear-wise.

(PS Momz and Cheryl - are you happy? I'm blogging about underwear, for gosh darn's sake!)

Tonight, after some hairy fighting (I mean that literally; Yaakov enjoys grabbing fistfuls of Ariella's and yanking. He may wear the occasional pair of heels, but he is a boy at heart), the kids started playing nicely together. I said to Yaakov, "Are you and Ariella playing together so nicely?" in a very sweet, soft voice, to make up for the less sweet, soft voice I had employed a few moments earlier. "No, Mommy," he replied in exasperation, "we're coloring."

Sunday, June 28, 2009

The Answer Is....

Well, folks, we have 3 entries into the "I Was a Twit or I Know Someone Who Was" contest. So far, I think Donny's entry is hard to top, but if you think you can beat it, twit-wise, please leave a comment below.

Not much new to report. I managed not to break the car for the rest of the week, so that was a plus. Friday morning, however, Yaakov managed to come down with what was either a 6 hour virus, or strep that we killed freakishly quickly with an antibiotic; since we don't yet have the results of the diseased stick, the verdict is still out. (I think the lab in Modi'in could build a replica of the Leaning Tower of Pisa with all of the Roses' diseased sticks, and even have enough leftover to make little Diseased Stick Tourists.) So anyway, the point is that we did not get to do anything very exciting on Friday, due to the illness. I did, however, take a nap in the afternoon, which, come to think of it, is pretty exciting.

Let me digress for a moment to discuss a chapter in my book on child-rearing ("Leave Me Alone So I Can Read the Paper.") Actually, since not so much has happened recently, it's not as much a digression as, well, the point.

Chapter 323: Sometimes the Answer is No
To fully appreciate this chapter, you need to learn the theme song.
(To the tune of "Hey Dum Diddly Dum")
Sometimes the answer is no
Sometimes the answer is no
Sometimes the answer is, sometimes the answer is
Sometimes the answer is no.

The point of this chapter being, of course, that sometimes, the answer is, in fact, no. We, as parents, do not need to give a reason every time we forbid (or command) something. (We are somewhat God-like in that way; witness this past week's parsha and the para adumah. What, you're shocked that I knew what last week's parsha was about? It's only because Ariella came home from gan and told me.)

The reasons we don't give reasons can differ from child to child. For example, with a three year old boy, let's say, you try to explain, "No, Yaakov, we don't put our fork in the electrical socket because you can get severely electrocuted and fly across the room and bang your head and lose consciousness." Now, the only word the three year old boy heard in this tirade was "fly," and as a consequence, is more eager than ever to try it out.

Let's say you want to have a similar argument with a six year old girl. "No, Ariella, you cannot sit in the middle instead of in your car seat because if we get into a car accident, God forbid, you could go flying through the windshield and get really, really hurt." Instead of greeting this gory vision with a look of terror, followed by immediate acquiescence, the six year old bombards me with questions:
"What would I hurt? How bad would it hurt? Would I have to go to the hospital? How long would I be there for? What would they do? Would it get better? Who would stay with me in the hospital? Would I have to miss school? For how long?"

So, you see, in both instances, it's easier just to say, "NO," and if challenged by the youngsters, burst into song:
"Sometimes the answer is no...." (See the lyrics above if you forgot them already.)

In fact, so well-known are we for this that the following conversation occurred with my nephew Tani:
Leezy: Tani, you cannot eat another cookie/popsicle/bar of soap.
Tani: Why not?
Leezy: Because you can't.
Tani [solemnly]: Because Uncle Donny says sometimes the answer is no?

Folks, we hereby give you permission to tell your children that "Uncle Donny says, 'Sometimes the answer is no.'"

Now, sometimes you have the opposite problem; the answer is yes, and that's all there is to it. (Yes, you have to wash your hair, yes, you have to put your plate in the sink, yes, you have to brush your teeth, yes, you have to sit in your car seat - that one is a double-sided argument - and of course, my personal favorite, yes, it is TIME TO GO TO BED.)

Luckily, the song works equally well if you replace the "no" with a "yes." Just be careful to choose the correct song for the occasion, or you'll have kids with dirty hair sticking forks into electrical sockets.

Wednesday, June 24, 2009

Cheerios, Graduates, and Twits

First of all, thank you to everyone who commented on yesterday's post. There's just something about Dadz that inspires comments! And Risa, good point re the socks. We Leibtag children should all be very grateful!

However, in my list of "Zaidy's Greatest Accomplishments," I can't believe that I forgot to mention his unique ability to teach the grandkids how to eat Cheerios off the table using only their tongues!! (Thanks Leeze). It is one of his most cherished roles as a Zaidy. So I've included a picture of Zaidy with Ariella, when she was about 2.5, doing some serious Cheerios-with-the-tongue action. (And check out the AWESOME pigtails.)

By the way, we are getting very close to 30 Loyal Readers, as well as to our 200th post. This means something, although I'm not sure what.

In kiddie news, Ariella graduated from gan chova yesterday! School isn't officially over until the 30th, but last night was the "mesibat siyum." Donny, as usual, was the parent she chose to go with her to the festivities. He took LOTS of videos. As part of the swag, each kid got an individual and class picture, as well as a rockin' 3-section pencil case, partially filled with loot. The minute Ariella got home, she set to work filling the rest of her pencil case with all the things she will need for first grade. This girl is READY!

Today, in a Gila is A Twit Moment: (Yes, yes, one of many, I know, save yourselves the effort of making that particular joke.)

I went to "meenoose shalosh" today, with the kiddies, to take them to gan. (Actually, Ariella had a little cold and had gone to bed late the past two nights, so she was staying home.) We merrily trotted down to the car. I put Yaakov in his car seat, got in the car, punched in the code, and put in the key. So far, so good. Then I tried to turn the key, andthus our problems began. Nothing, except for this weird ticking noise. I punched in the code again, turned the key...same noise. I tried a third time (because, you know, maybe the car magically fixed itself! That always happens!). As you can imagine, nothing. We went back upstairs, and, this being a crisis, I proceeded to CALL DONNY. To my great disappointment, he did not single-handedly turn the train around, Superman-style, and rush back to Modi'in to assist me. He said, "Well, call the Car People." Useless.

Anyway, it was now around 7:30. I called the Car People. We then walked Yaakov to gan, and Ariella and I came home. I updated Donny, and mentioned, in a very authoritative sort of way, that I was pretty sure it wasn't a battery issue, because it wasn't making that sputtery, dying-battery sound. I checked in with the Car People at 8:30. They told me there's a two hour window for them to come. So I called again at 9:45. I should have known, of course, that the first phone call doesn't count, because indeed, they had put the wrong date in, and had someone scheduled to come tomorrow between 7:30 and 9:30. Haha! Car Man apologized profusely and said someone would be out as soon as possible.

About half an hour later, Car Fix-It Man showed up. I brought him down to the garage. He got into the car. "What's the code?" he asked. Now, I punch in this code a minimum of eight times a day, even if all I do is take the kiddies to and from gan. I know this code like I know my birthday, my teudat zehut number, and the automated doctor appointment number. "551124," I said confidently. (Note: Number has been changed to protect privacy.) He punches it in. It makes the Bad Sound, which, in Car Language, means "You twit. Try again." "You do it," Fix-It Man says. I punch in the code, the same code I've punched in over 2,000 times. Bad Sound. Followed by an even Worse Wound - "You bigger twit. The car is now locked. You lose." Uh-oh. Maybe the mysterious sickness ailing my car has now extended to the code! Fix It Man is very annoyed. At this point, we have to take the elevator up to the entrance level, in order for him to get cell phone reception, so he can call his peeps and find out what to do about the code.

End of story: I told him the wrong code. Not only that, I punched in the wrong code myself! (There's only one five, not two.) In the Annals of Twit-ness, this ranks as at least #3.

Okay, now we can get to actually fixing the car. He turned on the car - all the while glaring as this fool of a woman who can't even get her own code right - and it turned out that the problem was, indeed, the battery. He replaced it and drove off. My dreams of being a Car Fix It Lady were electrocuted on the spot. [Sigh.]

Question: What do you think is #1 in the Annals of Twit-ness? If you would like to share a particularly stupid moment with us - I mean, one that happened to "your friend," naturally - we would love to hear about it. (i.e. I'm too tired to think of what #1 should be, so I leave it up to you.)

Tuesday, June 23, 2009

Dadz' Day

Welcome to Loyal Reader #27 - Amy "Dubya"! We are so glad you joined. Remember our motto: "If you have to be awake all night with a newborn, might as well read aliyahbyaccident."

And a big shout out and mazal tov to all my SAR friends, especially Shoshana Bender who asked me for this shout-out, on their last day of school!!!! (Well, last day for the kiddies; the teachers have to stay longer for in-service, but as I've always said, it's so much easier to get work done at school when those pesky kids aren't around.)

(Digression: From the mouth of Ariella: "How do you say 'MaZAL Tove in English? Oh right, MAHzel tuv.")

Now, onto Dadz. Yesterday, Monday, Momz berated us Leibtag children for not calling Dadz on Father's Day. Now, we never really did the whole "Father's Day" thing when we were growing up, aside from cards in the shape of a tie that we would make in school and write cute things on. (This is why there's no Father's Day in Israel - no one wears ties.) But after we stopped doing that cutesy stuff in school, we pretty much forgot about Father's Day. However, it seems that now it's back in style. Then Dadz himself, while we were chatting (the typing kind) on Skype - get back on your chair, yes Dadz WAS able to figure out how to chat online, and didn't complain once that he couldn't see me - berated me for not having an "Ode to Dadz" on Father's Day. So suffice it to say I was under a lot of beratement yesterday. Well, Dadz, here it is.

An Ode to Dadz; Or, You Asked For It

First, let's start off with a multiple choice quiz. Which of the following moments did NOT happen when we were growing up? (Hint: Trick question.)
a. Dadz calling me up in Stern to ask "how to rewind a video without having to watch the whole thing backwards."
b. Dadz wearing sunshine yellow shorts and argyle knee socks on the boardwalk during vacation.
c. Dadz, at my bat mitzvah party, - that tender, sensitive time in a young girls' life - while we were taking a picture with two close friends of the family who have sons around my age, drunkenly making a joke about me marrying them.
d. Speaking of drunk (and no, Dadz does not drink often; it's just that when he does, embarrassing things tend to happen), the many Simchat Torah celebrations at Suburban Orthodox Toras Chaim, when he would get drunk and have a grand old time, Dadz-style. Please don't ask me to elaborate. (Risa, ask your husband about the hours he and I spent in the hallway of Suburban during Simchat Torah, traumatized by our dads, thumbing through the "therapist" section in the phonebook.)
Answer: That's right, the answer is "e. They ALL happened!"

But of course, it wasn't all embarrassing moments. Dadz is also the King of DOF (Day of Fun.) During those weeks in between school and camp, and camp and school (now, as a parent, I fully understand the dread of those weeks, and I apologize to my parents on behalf of schools and camps everywhere for being so unkind), Momz and Dadz would switch off being home with us. With Momz, days off meant buying new shoes and school supplies. Now, I love buying new school supplies as much as the next nerd, but one wouldn't describe those days as "thrilling." However, when DADZ took off with us, it was a whole other pair of argyle socks - Adventureland! Hiking! Harper's Ferry! Serious amounts of fun, including the one day he took us to this zoo somewhere in the middle of nowhere that turned out to be not so hot, but he made us stay until 4:30 so that we would get our money's worth. That's what happens when you have a CPA for a Dadz.

In fact, one year Dadz and I had an entire summer of DOFs. This was because I was at Bais Yaakov camp, and Bais Yaakov believes having camp on Friday is one of the big three aveirot. (The other two are "unexcused absences" and "untucked shirts.") So anyway, on Fridays, when the good ladies of Baltimore were spending all day making their potato kugels, Dadz and I went out. Museums, parks, hiking, you name it. Then, there were our summer vacations to Wildwood - the same vacation of the aforementioned blindingly yellow shorts - when Dadz would get up early with us and we would bike ride down the length of the boardwalk, finishing off with a cup of fresh-squeezed orange juice. (Bought, not made. We're not that kind of family.) And of course, who could forget "Climb on Daddy", our special Friday night activity? (The instructions are simple. Dadz gets down on the floor, on all fours. The children climb on him. At some point, everyone collapses.)

And now that he's a Zaidy, Dadz has continued his fun-loving ways with the grandkids. Filling up Zaidy's shirt pocket with rocks, turning an "errand" into a "fun-rand," those infamous puzzles - Dadz is the MAN. (I should note here, however, while many "Dadz" activities transfer easily to "Zaidy" activities, "Climb on Daddy" is just not one of them. Cre-e-e-e-a-k.)

I wonder, if Dadz knew, some twenty-odd (and they were odd) years ago, that all of his embarrassing moments would become blog fodder (or, as he calls it, Blog Fadda - as in father. Get it?), if it would have given him pause before committing some of his worst offenses. But then I think, nope, that's the thing about Dadz. Most of the time, Dadz is one of those quiet, hard-working, Dunkin' Donuts-eating CPA types. But when it's time to let loose - watch out! Dadz loves to have a good time! And who cares what people think! He's going to live it up, and as we have learned over the years, it is much more fun to join in.

Monday, June 22, 2009

Readers and Cows

Well, it's been a little longer than usual since my last post. That's because I was attacked by a migraine, but have no fear, after a day and a half I dealt it a final death blow of medication, and it fled. For now. (Ahava suggested cutting out sugar. Easier to just cut off my head and be done with it.)

Some exciting Loyal Reader News:
I met a Loyal Reader on Shabbat! Now, some of my Loyal Readers I see quite frequently, so forgive me if I do not mention it each and every time. But this was something new. This was a heretofore unbeknownst (to me; probably knownst to lots of other people, though) Reader, Richard "The Samsonite" Weider. He davened at our shul on Shabbat, and Donny introduced us after shul. And I had the opportunity to greet someone with, "Oh of course! You're a Loyal Reader!" It was a special moment. Probably more for me than for him, but never mind that.

In other Reader news, I found out recently that aliyahbyaccident has been doing some actual good in the world (aside from making you all feel like good parents in comparison). Amy W., from Riverdale - her friends call her "Dubya" - just had a new baby. Mazel tov, mazel tov! During that last month of pregnancy, when the baby, with that wicked sense of humor inherent to all little tikes ("Don't spit up now....not yet...she hasn't changed into a new shirt...okay, ready, aim...BLEARGHHHH." [Evil baby cackle. It's the first thing they learn to do, before smiling or laughing. We just can't hear it.] Or, when they get a little older, "Okay, she bought me that toy now. The one I played with at my aunt's house for hours on end, and couldn't bear to part with, so that Mommy had to wrench my pudgy little fingers from it one by one, and I screamed and kicked and we were both sweating and crying by the end of it. Now it's in my possession. Heheh. I will proceed to stare at it blankly, turn around, and chew on a marker.") What was I saying? Oh yes. Wicked sense of humor. So this baby was keeping poor Dubya up all night, before it was even born! (Did you hear that? I think that was a cackle.) So what does a poor pregnant lady do when it's the middle of the night and there aren't even bad reruns on? She reads aliyahbyaccident to help pass the time! Dubya, we here at aliyahbyaccident are proud and honored that you chose us over "Tarantulas: The Deadly Cargo." Come join us in the Loyal Readers' Club! We'd be happy to have you with us.

In other exciting news, we took the kids to a park on Friday. No, wait, it gets better. At this park, right behind the seesaw, were cows. Like, 3 dozen of them. I am being very serious. As serious as a horde of tarantulas stowing away in crates of coffee beans. There was this huge, fenced off area, behind which were....cows. The kids even got to see a mommy cow nursing its calf. Also LOTS of poop. I have no idea what these cows were doing there. There didn't seem to be anyone in charge - aside from the cows - and they were all just sitting there, cow-like, chewing stuff and flicking their tails. They did seem pretty contented, to tell you the truth. I'm not sure what to make of it, but there you have it. Cows.

Thursday, June 18, 2009


First, a big aliyahbyaccident welcome to Loyal Reader #26 - Dahlia "G!" Dahls and I go waaaayyyy back, back to a simpler time, a time of climbing trees, of bike riding in the alley, of playing kickball in the backyard, of dressing up like New Kids on the Block for Purim. (Note to readers: We didn't actually go through with it; it was just under intense discussion for a while.)
It's good to have you here, Dahls!

Well, there is just SO MUCH to report! Actually, there is very little to report, but I need to post tonight or Momz will cut me out of the will, and Leezy and Aaron will inherit all of Dadz's MBT's. And that would be a real shame. So here I am.

I could write about the children, but they are zombied out in front of "Happy Feet" (for the six hijillionth time, but each time it brings renewed joy and deeper levels of understanding) and not doing anything particularly cute. [To Ariella and Yaakov, should you decide to read this blog later in life: Of course, I think everything you do is particularly cute. You are wonderful and amazing children and I love you every second of the day, and most seconds of the night, provided that you are asleep in your own bed. Just kidding! Even when you are puking in my bed, I still love you. I couldn't ask for better children, and even if I could, I wouldn't because you are perfect in my eyes. (Please don't hate me.)]

I could use the upcoming holiday of Father's Day to roast Dadz, but then I realized "roasting Dadz" is more or less the topic of every third blog post, so that wouldn't be new and exciting.

Then I thought of reflecting on the children's year in gan, since it is almost coming to a close, but everything that I wrote sounded treacly, and the editors of aliyahbyaccident would never go for it.

So I guess it'll just be a poem.
(With apologies in advance to Ahava "More Content Less Poetry" Leibtag.)

I Have Nothing to Say
My mind is a blank
I've got nothing to share.
What can I do?
My cupboard is bare. [That was a metaphor, people.]

Even this rhyme scheme
Is somewhat a bore
For I only have to rhyme
Line Two and Line Four

Dadz has been quiet
(Hope it's only a phase)
And I haven't embarrassed myself
These past few days

So what do I write about?
When the barrel runs low? [Another metaphor; keep sharp, people.]
I welcome your comments
You can leave them below.

Sincerely, the staff of aliyahbyaccident

Tuesday, June 16, 2009

Acceptance! (It took a while, but we got there.)

Exciting news, here in the Rose household. Our children have been accepted to school for next year! Today we got the letters from first grade and nursery school wishing our children luck in the coming school year. Phew, this was a relief. Now, yes, it's a public school system, so the chances of them not getting in were pretty slim, and yes, there was only really one choice anyway for each of the kids, making the chances of them not getting in even slimmer, like Chinese noodle slim, but still, we're excited, for as they say in Israel, "אין סיבה למסיבה"
שרקמ,א טםו ןמפרקדדקג 'ןאי צט יקנר'?
(Whoops, should have switched back to English!)

I am also very impressed with the expedience with which the registration handled. We registered in January (online, actually, which despite my cynicism WAS pretty impressive), and were told we'd have the acceptance letters by May. So the fact that they were only one month late is another reason to celebrate! Whoo-hoo! Par-tay! Is there anyone here who can bake a beautiful white cake with pink icing for the festivities? Why, why, yes, actually, now that you ask. ME!

I would like to take this opportunity to wish a צאתכם לשלום (Whoa! I am on a freakin' Hebrew roll tonight! A לחמניה, if you will.) to Rachel "No Peer Pressure For Me!" Rosenthal, who is heading out to sunny California for the summer to help Gov. Schwarzenegger balance the state budget. No, no, she is actually heading out to do God's work and teach young adults about Judaism. (The world having been created already and all that.) Rachel actually had an opportunity to come to ISRAEL this summer and do God's work by keeping me company, but noooooo, she had to go out to sunny, beautiful California, where she's going to hob-knob (הוב-נוב?) with celebrities and stuff. I told her if she sees George Clooney she can give him a kiss from me. He'll understand. (People, just so you know, Momz and I were two of the ORIGINAL George Clooney fans. We get dibs. If the TV show "Sisters" means nothing to you, then you are NOT in our club. Right, Momz?)

In other very exciting news, we now have a laundry line! For some reason - horror of horrors - our apartment did not come equipped with a laundry line. Can you BELIEVE???? What are people supposed to do with their wet clothes? (Um, use a dryer, like civilized people, maybe? I am thoroughly American, laundry-wise. Laundry lines are for Real Israelis. I use my dryer.) Anyway, our landlord asked us if we could follow up with Lines of Laundry, Inc. and get one installed. Maybe he and his wife, when they make aliyah, will want to use one of those things. You know, for catapulting uncooked peas across the courtyard to building seven. Actually, our landlord is a very nice man and would probably never do such a thing. Hmmm...I wonder if chick peas would work also.

In any case, I called up Laundry Lines Forever. Now, you have to understand, that each item in this apartment is specialized. Daveed of Dimri can fix but a few problems; for the rest, he just gives you a number to call and you hope for the best. He's like a Palm Pilot, or a Blackberry, with a cup of coffee. So this is how I've come to have Laundry People, Kitchen People, and Bathroom People ("Binyamin Bathroom" is an actual entry in my cell phone.) Also, I've learned, the first call is free. Not for me. For them. It doesn't count. You make the first phone call. They listen to the problem, take down your name and number, and promptly dispose of it. They know they're not going to do anything about; you know they're not going to do anything about it; they know you know they're not going to do anything about it; and you know they know they're not going to do anything about it. Got it?

So you make the first phone call. Then, a week later - surprise! - you haven't heard back from them. So you make your second phone call. At this point, something might start to happen. In the case of Laundry, Laundry, Laundry!, when I made my second phone call yesterday, they said, "Ok, we'll come tomorrow in the afternoon." Now, of course this ended up being an afternoon of chasing them down, but they did come and install it. In the case of the Kitchens-B-Bad, it took a month of unanswered phone calls before I called in the heavy hitter - Daveed himself, the Rolodex with a cuppa joe. He called and threatened to withhold money, and whaddya know, within a week the guy came out to fix our broken microwave door (it had fallen off), our broken drawer (it had fallen out), and various tracks and hinges, etc. etc.

Well, I seem to have run out of inanities to write about. I am so pathetic that I even asked Yaakov (who is still up at 8:45) about gan, in the hopes he would say something cute that I could share and end off on a funny kid note. But alas. Just some rambling about how he went swimming at gan and then he was so tired he took a nap. (The evidence of which is on the couch right now, playing with Ariella's stuff, instead of sound asleep in bed.) So I will sign out for the night. [Me, signing out.]

Monday, June 15, 2009

Who is our biggest fan?

Well, it seems that the race for #1 aliyahbyaccident fan is on! Will it be AHAVA, who regularly comments, consistently flatters, and went so far as to post a link to the blog on her Facebook status? (For those of you living under a rock for the past three years, with earmuffs tight around your ears, blankets pulled over your head, and eyes squeezed shut, let me explain: A link, a shout-out, a kappyim, a what have you, on Facebook is the modern equivalent of a town crier trudging from town to town - obviously; otherwise he'd just be a crier - and promoting your wares to everyone he sees. Just that you can do it in your pjs.)

Or, will it be SHARON, who penned the comment to end all comments on yesterday's post - coming up with her top ten favorite blog posts from aliyahbyaccident? She wowed even the most fervent of readers with her memory and her devotion. (I, for one, am still blushing.)

Or perhaps RISA, no slouch in the commenting department herself, who continued to persevere to become a Loyal Reader even when Blogger was out to get her?

Or will it be MOMZ, because, as she so subtly pointed out in yesterday's comment section, she posted TWO TIMES in one day? Also, she's my mother and she'll kill me if I don't nominate her, even though her incessant nagging to write more blog entries often drives me to drink, until I remind her that even God Himself rested on the seventh, at which point she says, "Yeah, but Saturday night He went straight back to work."

Who will it be? Do you think YOU should be nominated for the aliyahbyaccident Hall of Fame? If so, leave a comment for us below. Winners will receive a pita, with "aliyahbyaccident" etched in chummus!

Well, folks, summer is nearly upon us. And as I've mentioned before, it is toasty in this country come summer time. Summer is also very expensive. So, let's summarize:
Summer in Israel is:
a. Hot
b. Expensive
c. A fiery furnace
d. Unbearable
e. How much did you say that pool membership is?
f. You want what for one night in your run-down vacation home featuring an outhouse and beds that make sleeping on the floor seem desirable, even if you're not Yaakov?
g. Really, really hot
h. a&b
i. c&f
j. all of the above

After paying nothing for Ariella's education this year - well, aside from the air conditioning fee and some other random fees that I don't quite know what they are because they just take the money out willy-nilly from my bank account - we are hit with summer and all its expenses:
Kaytanah (aka summer camp) for 3 weeks. Another kaytanah (still summer camp) for two weeks. Pool membership for the summer. Vacation, which you take at the end of August because you've run out of kaytanot (sum- oh, you know already), but of course the prices for vacation homes skyrocket during the end of August because everyone is in the same proverbial boat (on the Kinneret of course), rowing like hell to get the good "tzimmer" before they're all taken.
(Language digression: "Tzimmer" has nothing to do with sweet potatoes. It is the catch-all word for any sort of lodging you might pay for. Vacation home, bed & breakfast, hostel, patch of floor in your friend's apartment.... But tread carefully, because, in a way, tzimmers are like sweet potatoes. Some are big, some are small; some are pretty on the outside, but mushy and rotten inside; some are lumpy, some are smooth; some have those weird hair things coming out of them....)

Anyway, I will keep you posted as we continue to deposit our (well, Donny's) paycheck directly into Summer's account....

Sunday, June 14, 2009

The Birthday Party

As promised, here is a rundown of Ariella's fabulous sixth birthday party. As I mentioned, despite Ariella's requests, I did not acquiesce to throwing a birthday party for 15 - 20 of her closest friends, most of them from gan, most of them speaking only the Holy Tongue. Because of the ginormity of the class size here, even inviting "only the girls" from her class - which at SAR ended up being 5 girls - could be as many as 15, plus the other sundry friends she's accumulated. So I was naturally a little a-feared of entertaining 15-20 girls in Hebrew. Unless they all wanted to play the "Shalom! Mah Shlomech? B'Seder!" game. (Hours of entertainment for the entire family; email me for the directions.)

So instead, I said we would invite the families of her close friends and of course, the aunts. And so it was that at 5:00 on a warm Thursday evening, the Blochs, Kleins, Wolfs, and Balsams, with a special guest appearance of DADDY who came home early for the event, gathered in our apartment for fun and pizza.

The kids played, for the most part pretty nicely, the adults talked, for the most part pretty nicely. Then at 5:40 the GIANT pizza arrived. I am not joking. Giant Pizza makes the most GIANT pizza in all of Israel. You could have laid Amichai and Merav on top of one of the pizzas and still had room for Yisrael Meir, if he had decided to make the trip from Australia, and it might actually have been worth it just to see the GIANT pizza. We sat gawking for a few moments, then chowed down.

Then it was time for the famous cake which you've heard so much about (from me) and, if I do say so myself, it was as spectacular to eat as it was to look at. White cake with pink icing. Gotta love it. We sang happy birthday, Ariella blew out her candles and we ate cake and ice pops.

On Friday, after gan, we headed down to the Red Heights to see the Sassoons, who, like all Real Israelis, are leaving Israel for the summer. They will be doing "camp" things at "camp." Which camp, you ask? Well, if you have to ask, clearly you are not in the know. "Camp" is "camp" of course! (Digression alert: Donny and I, having never done the "camp" thing are always amused by how people refer to their youthful days at sleepaway camp as simply "camp," as if the rest of us should just know which camp it was. Moshava, Mesora, Morasha, Moratorium, Mordor - it doesn't matter. It's "camp" and shame on you for not knowing what they're talking about!) Anyway, we saw the Sassoons' new digs - they are now homeowners, kappayim to the Sassoons! - and hung out for a while. We came back and there was STILL way too much time before Shabbos. These Friday afternoons are loooooong.

Shabbat was HOT. My forthcoming book about Israel, "It's Nice in the Shade," will devote an entire chapter to "What To Do on Long Shabbat Afternoons When You Cannot Go Outside For Fear of Melting On the Sidewalk, and Leaving Behind Only Your Sandalim, Causing People to Shake Their Heads and Say, 'Alas, Alas, But We Did Warn Her Not To Go Out Between the Hours of 7:30 AM and 6:30 PM.'"

So the truth I did take the kids out to shul, because I preferred Melting on the Spot to hours of cabin fever. We went to shul, but we had to forego the traditional hang-out-in-the-park-after-shul portion of the day. The problem is the park is an extra few minutes out of the way, changing the walk back from a barely bearable ten minute walk to an absolutely unbearable, shadeless walk through the eleventh circle of hell. (I think if Dante had lived in Israel, he would have gone up to eleven.) Actually, it has been observed that the hottest point on earth is not inside a volcano, but on Rehov Yigal Yadin at 11:30 on a Shabbos morning.

After we came home and peeled off our clothing, we ate lunch, and then, because of the no park thing, it was only 12:30 by the time we finished. Damn. Wish I had written that chapter already, so I would know what to do. Here's what NOT to do: Try to sleep on the couch. ("Catch me in next season's TLC "How Not to Nap!") Every time I was about to enter Dozy-Land, someone cried or a tower got knocked over. The truth is, considering the length of the afternoon, the kiddies played together pretty nicely, but my afternoon nap was not to be. Later, I went to the shiur, Donny took the kids to the park, and the kiddies were - deep cleansing breath - in bed before Shabbos was over.

Today, I made 64 pita sandwiches. No, that was not a typo. Sixty-freaking-four sandwiches for gan tomorrow. Tomorrow, ladies and gentlemen, readers Loyal and otherwise, is Ariella's birthday party at gan. Because of the aforementioned ginormousness of the class size, birthdays are celebrated in threes. Tomorrow is Ariella, her friend Aiden, and a little girl Adi. But we don't just bring in a cake. Oh no. That is for the weak. We need to provide lunch for 32 ravenous kindergarteners (who are almost in kitah aleph, as I am reminded on a daily basis.)

Digression: On Thursday, a mere few days before the party, the morah suddenly remembered that she had never given me the party sheet. Now, presumably, the party sheet has been the same since September. The list is (and again, no typos here):
1. 32 pitas, cut in half, 3/4 smeared with chummus, 1/4 plain or with gevinah levanah (aka a travesty of cream cheese if there ever was one.)
2. Three of those stale-when-they're-fresh Osem cakes
3. Platter of vegetables
4. Sparklers (which is why many kindergarten morahs are missing fingers)
5. "Hafta'ot" which is Israeli for "crappy toy that your child brings home from gan and breaks within three seconds, five if you're lucky, and you wonder why anyone would create such a waste of plastic, let alone pay money for it, and then you wonder if the gananot have stock in China toy companies."
6. Paper plates

This is the standard party list. One would think, as I did, that they write one copy of this sheet, photocopy it 32 times at the beginning of the year, and hand it out as needed to the children. But no. Morah Maya handwrites these instructions 32 times throughout the year. Why??????

Anyway, the three of us doing this party are the three most clueless parents in gan. Even the Israeli mother was clueless. "What kind of hafta'ot should I get?" she wondered to me. I don't know, woman, I'm up to my arms in chummus! Figure it out!

I'm sure I've done something incorrectly in this whole enterprise, like mis-smeared the pitas, or bought the wrong cakes. Oh well. There's lots of extra gevinah levanah, so the kids can always eat that. [Retching noise.]

Thursday, June 11, 2009

A Day of Numbers: 25 and 6

Well, Readers, we have hit the quarter-century mark. That's right, with the addition of two more Loyal Readers, Risa "Why Does Blogger Hate Me?" Levi (although she outsmarted them, in the end, oh yes!) and Arica "Factor" Saltzman (whose blog you can follow here) we have reached TWENTY-FIVE Loyal Readers! Celebration time! Get on your party hats with those painful rubber band choke-you-to-death straps and one of those toys that you blow and it unfurls (what are they called?) and grab a melted cheese and ketchup sandwich! Party on! Thanks to all of you! Ad Meah V'Esrim! (Readers, that is, not years.)

Wait...what was that? What about Rachel? No, no, Rachel has not yet become a Loyal Reader. Oh, you thought she would have joined by now? Because I wrote an entire post in her honor? (One of my better ones, if I do say so myself). I was going to offer 100 NPs to whomever could get Rachel to join, but then I realized that she does not respond to peer pressure, so instead, I am offering 100 NPs to whomever does NOT convince Rachel to join the Loyal Readers' Club. Everyone clear on that?

Today we celebrated Ariella's sixth birthday. Before I bore you with the details of the party, the highlight of which was the beautiful, delicious, white-layer-cake-with-pink-icing (and yes, I made both the cake and the icing MYSELF), sprinkled generously with colorful candy sprinkles, allow me to digress and delve into another chapter in my book on child-rearing, "Leave Me Alone So I Can Read the Paper."
This chapter is entitled, "Lying to Your Kids: Most of The Time It's a Great Idea, But Sometimes It's Just Wrong."
In preparation for her upcoming birthday, Ariella's teeth decided they better get cracking. (Well, they kind of did that already. We are now post our traumatic cavity-filling incidents. Yes, I did use the plural. Not sure who was more traumatized, Ariella or me. Actually, I do know who.) So, I guess the teeth decided they better get jiggly. Yes, folks, two days ago we noticed Ariella's first loose tooth! Or, in the immortal words of Stan and Jan Berenstain, "looth tooth." (Thanks to DADZ for dredging up that memory.) It's one of the front bottom ones, for those of you with your mouth diagram handy who want to keep track. Ariella and I talked for a few minutes about all things teeth - does it hurt, when will more get loose, what happens if I lose it at school, etc. - when suddenly Ariella starting espousing Tooth Fairy Lore. "You know, you put it under your pillow and then I think someone comes and takes it and gives you money." She seemed vaguely troubled by this. I had a decision to make at this point. I could, like good mothers having been doing for centuries, further immerse her in the Myth of the Tooth Fairy. Or, I could tell her the truth. It took me about half a second to decide. (After all, this is a kid who already knows that the way babies get in and out has nothing to do with a stork.) So I went for it.
****Spoiler Alert****
"You know, Ariella, it's just your mom or dad who comes and gives you money."
"Okay," she said, completely unperturbed, "but what do I need money for? I can't even drive!" Not entirely sure of the connection, but I did tell her she could save up her tooth money and buy a treat. Like her mommy, Ariella LOVES treats.

So, readers, Loyal and otherwise (you know who I'm talking about), am I a bad mother? And I am referring here to this specific episode of parenting. Please don't allow past episodes of bad parenting to factor in to your decision. Should I have allowed, nay, helped her to create a fantasy about Fairies coming in to your room and replacing your tooth with a shekel? In my defense, I didn't want her to start worrying about someone creeping into her room at night and messing around with her pillow. Also, she wasn't so deep into the lore yet to be devastated upon finding out the truth. It was only something she had kinda sorta heard about. On the other hand, did I deprive her of a necessary rite of passage, in which she believes in the magical Tooth Fairy for years, only to later find out the truth and then resent me for lying to her?

In my defense again (I get lots of defenses; that's the privilege of a blog), let me tell you a true Leibtag story about a child who was lied to for years and years and is still traumatized to this day: (Leezy, you may want to stop reading now.)

When we were all little, my parents won a trip to Disney World. I think the story is something like my grandparents actually won the trip in a shul raffle, but had just come back from a vacation, so gave the prize to my parents. At the time, Aaron and I were little rascals, but Leezy was just a wee bairn. So my parents decided not to take her, and leave her with the babysitter for a few nights. Once she became a more cognizant child (at about 16 or 17. JUST KIDDING Leezy!) she began to ask questions about why she wasn't in any of the pictures. We told her lie after lie, thoroughly enjoying ourselves.
"You're behind the tree."
"You're behind Gila."
"You're taking the picture!"
And she believed us! [Evil cackle.]
However, then came the day - it might have been when we later took another vacation to Disney and took Leezy with us. Being six or seven at the time, she probably would have noticed had we left her behind with the babysitter. Then, we broke the news to her. This was not "another vacation to Disney," this was her "only vacation to Disney." She was devastated. More because we lied to her for so long than because she was left behind (well, I may have made that part up, but it fits better for my purposes), and she has not let us forget it to this day.

So, the point of this little digression, besides for being an opportunity to make fun of my family (albeit in a loving, affectionate way), is to emphasize the subtitle of my chapter: "Don't Lie to Your Kids. It'll Come Back to Bite You."
I mean, there are certain very acceptable and even necessary times to lie. For example, "Ice cream is a treat we have once in a while," when in fact you eat it at least three times a week after the kids go to sleep. Or, "They don't make diapers in your size anymore." Or, "Of course I'm listening."

The point is, and I promise, there is a point, buried somewhere deep inside all this inanity, that it felt wrong to take a child and purposefully create a fantasy world when there was no need, when she was perfectly happy with the idea of Mommy or Daddy administering the Magical Exchange.
Although I did tell her the next day, as visions swam before me of angry Israeli mothers, hell-bent on beating me to a chummus-y pulp, shrieking at me for destroying their child's world by telling them the Truth About the Tooth Fairy: "Um, Ariella, don't say anything about the Tooth Fairy to the other kids at gan. Their mommies and daddies might not want them to know."
Ariella cheerfully reassured me, "That's okay, Mommy, I don't even know how to say 'Tooth Fairy' in Hebrew!"
What do you think? How bad of a mother am I? And while you're at it, if you have funny Lying to Your Kid Stories, justifiable or not, let us know! It'll be good for use in my book.

I promise we will get back to the birthday party at the next post. I know you all want to hear more about the cake.

Tuesday, June 9, 2009

Aruchat Eser: Is it really eaten at 10?

First of all, a huge shout-out and welcome to Kalany "Kally" Rubin "Rubin" Kislowicz, our 23rd Loyal Reader! Kally, in a Facebook Confessional, admitted that she started to read the blog a few weeks ago, curious about our aliyah story, but then had to stop because the posts I had written immediately after we arrived were making her stressed out! Whatever can you mean? Could it be signing up for school, a bank account, and a kupah, renting a car, finding a gan, tracking down our wayard lift, all in one day, to be followed by a frigid shower and sleeping on an air mattress? Come on, that's not stressful - that's ADVENTURE! However, Kally did say that she has started reading the more recent posts, which she finds more calming and does not need to read with a paper bag handy. However, Kally, I do recommend that you go back and read the entire story. First of all, there are some fabulous encounters with nurseries (the plant kind, not the baby kind), my inability to speak Hebrew (too many to link to), elections and of course, my now-infamous driving test. Second of all, reading the blog in its entirety now will save you the $22.95 cover price of the book, "Aliyah By Accident," when it comes out in hardcover, at a Fantasy Book Store near you.

Now, back to our blog. Loyal Readers, raise your hands! Rachel? Rachel? I don't see you raising your hand. Ahhh...that's because you STILL haven't joined the Loyal Readers' Club. And after I dedicated an entire post to you! We are on a mission, Rachel. Join us!

Aruchat Eser. The meal at 10. In reality, aruchat eser can be eaten at any point in the morning at school. The idea behind aruchat eser is that it's a light snack (sandwich - must be bread, and a fruit/vegetable, and NOTHING ELSE) during the school day, to tide the kids over until they get home, where a huge fleishig meal awaits them. Except if you're Ariella Rose, and you come home to a yogurt. Because, folks, I am still an American at heart, in some important ways, one of those ways being DINNER. Yogurt and a cucumber does not suffice for the evening meal. This means that Yaakov, who is fed the aforementioned huge fleishig meal at gan, often eats shnitzel, or meatballs, or hamburgers, twice a day. But being a true man, this makes him happy.

In any case, I just finished preparing Ariella's aruchat eser. This is a challenge for me. Since infancy, Ariella has had lunch provided for her by the Five Star Caterers at SAR. I never had to worry about packing a lunch, what to make for lunch, what do you want for lunch, I don't like this lunch, Mommy, can't I just take two candy bars and an orange (a la my brother Aaron, who took this actual lunch one day to school. The same brother who is now officially a RABBI at the prestigious KJBS Congregation in Chicago, mazel tovs all around, and now we are soooo off topic that I can't remember what the topic was, except that I'm hungry, so I must have been talking about food. Ah yes, there we go.) So, lunch was never an issue, is what I'm saying. Here, it took us seven months to find an aruchat eser that Ariella will deign to eat. And of course it can't be something simple and spreadable, like chummus, or peanut butter (which is allowed at schools here; allergies haven't made it to Israel yet. We're very behind, which explains the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles I see on underwear for kids.) She would happily eat a chocolate spread sandwich, but since in Israel we don't even pretend to add vitamins and minerals to our unhealthy foods, she is only allowed that once a week. So a toasted cheese sandwich it is. Kudos to our sandwich maker, purchased that fateful day in Sheshet with Jenny Sassoon. Every night, I slice some cheese for Ariella - only sliced, Mommy, BIG pieces, not grated - and place it with a frozen pita in the fridge. The next morning, the pita has defrosted. I squeeze ketchup - ewwww - into the pita, place the cheese inside, and melt that baby down. Yes, folks, aruchat eser is a two-step process in this household. But at least it gets eaten. And now, speaking of eating, I am going to enjoy our hot, fleishig dinner which we are eating AT NIGHT. Not a yogurt in sight.

Monday, June 8, 2009

A Very Special Aliyahbyaccident

A special episode of the blog, dedicated to Someone Special whose name you will find out in just a few moments...

I have been neglectful in giving a huge shout-out to loyal reader (although she's too anti-establishment to be a Loyal Reader; don't think we haven't noticed) Rachel "I Heart NY" Rosenthal on PASSING HER DRIVING TEST! Rachel sadly failed the first time around; I'm not sure if you recall, but yours truly had a similar driving experience, from which I am still scarred. (Every time I see a driving lesson car - and they are ALL OVER the place, because Modi'in is apparently inhabited solely by new olim and 17 year olds - my heart does the Mexican Hat Dance in my chest and a feeling of acute nausea settles over my stomach, and I reach into my wallet and clutch my license, fearful that any moment now, someone will demand I give it back, and uh-oh, wait a minute, there's a STOP SIGN coming up! Screech! I should really focus on the road.)

So I understood Rachel's apprehension about taking the test a second time. Even though Rachel is a Real New Yorker (the American version of the Sassoons) and takes all manner of public transportation and will probably never actually own a car because (true story), if she had a million dollars, she would use it to put a down payment on an apartment in Manhattan. And since a million dollars is not nearly enough for a down payment on an apartment in Manhattan, she'd have to use her car savings, too, and just take the subway for the rest of her life.

In any case, a HUGE kappayim to Rachel for passing her test. You have freedom! Take a spin! Go out for a drive! Escape the city for some fresh country air! Just be back exactly fifteen minutes before alternate side ends so you can stake out your spot, and don't leave it for anything, I mean anything, even if your arm is falling off, just use your other hand to hold it together with a tourniquet which you should leave in the car for just this purpose, and then steer the car with your knees to ease it into the spot that's actually two inches too small for your car, just a little more, good, good, you get extra points for scraping the car in back of you, and...you're in! Now you can take care of that arm. Refuah shelaymah.

Sunday, June 7, 2009

Parents and Dryers

Well, the 'rents have vacated the country, but not to worry! Yaakov is already planning to go visit them. On Sunday. To watch "Monsters Inc." So there's no reason for tears; Momz and Dadz are just an imaginary plane ride away!

Some highlights of the last few days:

Thursday night we all went to the site of our new shul for the tekes, featuring a performance by ARIELLA ROSE and a bunch of other kids who we saw out of the corner of our eyes while we focused our complete and undivided attention on ARIELLA ROSE. The dance was amazing, and we we all in various states of high emotion. She had a great time, and so did Yaakov, who amused himself during the dance and the speeches by killing ants with Doc Hudson. We made our escape after the rabbi's speech (I should clarify; since the dais was filled with a veritable Who's Who of Rabbinic Modi'in, I need to specify which rabbi's speech it was. Here I refer to the rav of our shul, not to be confused with the Chief Ashkenazic Rabbi of Modi'in, the Chief Sephardic Rabbi of Modi'in, the Rabbi of the Modi'in Hesder Yeshiva, or the Mayor of Modi'in - ok, not a rabbinic figure, but still, he put on a kippah for the occasion. That should count for something.). We then put the kiddies to bed, picked up the babysitter, and headed out to Tel Aviv for some serious meat with Momz and Dadz.

On Shabbos, Yaakov corralled Dadz into doing more puzzles with him. Unfortunately for Dadz, Yaakov chose the 100 piece puzzle which was MISSING its picture! But, kappayim l'Dov - he and Yaakov did finish that puzzle (in the same time it took Momz, Ariella, and me to finish a 500 piece puzzle. I'm just saying.) Dadz insisted that we keep that puzzle completed because he doesn't want to have to do it again when they come for Sukkot.

Today, in celebration of it being June, my dryer broke. The truth is, it was probably my fault. But we won't go into that here. I took some stuff over to Lisa's to dry. Laundry at Lisa's...it brought back memories of our first few days here in Israel. I took a little stroll down memory lane, and when I finished, I was curled up on the floor, bawling like a baby. (Just kidding! Making aliyah isn't that traumatic! Really it's not!) Anyway, the laundry that I didn't bring is currently draped over every available door in our apartment. Now, being a Real Israeli, Jenny Sassoon said, "You're in Israel! Hang it on the line!" Embarrassingly enough, we don't actually have a laundry line. In one of those Ironies of Life, I had actually called Laundry Lines 'R Us in the morning, before the dryer debacle, because our landlord asked if we could call the Appropriate Powers and get one installed. Apparently, he wants to pretend to be a Real Israeli as well when he makes aliyah. But naturally it will be weeks, if not years, before we see the actual line. So Doors 'R Us it is.

Tuesday, June 2, 2009

'Rents' Visit Continued; Or, How Dadz Ate More Rugelach

Phew. Managed a few minutes on the computer in between going on errands with Dadz (he doesn't like to miss out on the fun and enjoys accompanying us all around Modi'in), shuttling Ariella to and from her practice (more on that later), and then, when I finally have a few minutes to update my Loyal Readers, I find that someone (don't want to name names; we'll just call them by their code names, "Bubby" and "Zaidy") is on my computer - checking email, forgetting to sign out of my Facebook accounts and then writing comments under my name (no, I did not comment on the picture of Leezy holding Amichai, "That's my baby holding her baby!"), "working" (aka trying to hack into our wireless network for use on an iPhone - an iPhone! In THIS house! The chutzpah!), or other sundry items involving sitting on my chair and complaining about the lack of mouse. But now, Dadz has gone to Sha'alvim with Cousin Menachem to relive his boyhood days, and Momz is shmoozing on the phone with someone, and here I am, updating.

Let's see...

Monday morning we all woke up bright and early to head over to Beit Shemesh for the brit of "Geraldo" Klein. We actually got to shul before davening even started. I think the last time I davened in shul for any appreciable amount of time other than the last bar of "A'anim Zemiros" was when I was waddling around sometime circa 2003. My children were amazingly good in shul - Ariella read quietly and Yaakov munched on Kinnamonim. (I would say that sums up our children pretty nicely.) Then it was bris time. Donny and I kvatered and I am happy to say that neither of us dropped the baby! Us lady-folk then crowded into the back of the men's section, and I snapped pictures like crazy. Crying, hugging, more pictures - an excellent bris, overall. We found out his name - Amichai Zion - and then headed down to the social hall to EAT!

On Tuesday, the 'rents moved into Casa de Rose, much to Ariella and Yaakov's delight. Zaidy and Yaakov worked on his (Yaakov's) Thomas puzzle. This took some time. Zaidy spent the better part of an hour with a scrunched up face, valiantly trying to put pieces together. "This connects here, Zaidy," Yaakov was overheard saying patiently, on more than one occasion. After Yaakov got bored and went to cut his trains, Zaidy continued to sit on the floor, grumbling and muttering under his breath. He, too, eventually gave up and went to cut trains with Yaakov.

Tomorrow is the groundbreaking ceremony for our shul. We currently daven in too-small, too-hot, too-crowded caravans, which during the week function as too-small, too-hot, too-crowded classrooms. Our new shul right now is a large tract of dirt. We are hopeful that sometime, soon, maybe even before we die, there will be a beautiful new shul erected on that dirt. Part of the shul's problem is that they're too nice about the whole money collection business. Donny told the head of the fundraising committee months ago that we wanted to donate money, niftshabbosgeret. We never heard from the guy. Donny had to chase after him for weeks in order to give money. Is this for real??? I mean, the RJC, which we haven't davened at in two years, still sends us bills for amounts in the many thousands. (We better pay up, or we'll never get seats there for Rosh Hashanah!) This is the American Way: We Never Stop Hounding You for Money, Even After You're Dead. (It's true; my grandfather, Jack Weintraub, alivashalom, passed away in 1995 yet continues to this day to receive solicitation letters from tzedakot. We keep telling him to pay up; so far, nothin'.)

Anyway, back to the ceremony. There are all sorts of boring politics in Modi'in about how shuls can get money from the city in order to build. So far, an on-the-ground assessment reveals most kehillot have not cracked the secret code, as they are all davening in school basements, bagel stores, and too-small caravans. But many important officials will be at this ceremony tomorrow night. Our kehilla wants to make sure we have a good showing; if the politicos see that this is a robust shul with many votes - ahem, I mean, members - they will push to get money for us. So emails have been sent out telling us to invite everyone we know - friends, family members, neighbors, pediatricians, Intense Lady Pharmacists, schnorrers, the guy that checks your trunk as you drive into the mall, the annoying cashier at Shufersal that wants to know WHY WON'T YOU SIGN UP FOR OUR CREDIT CARD, Daveed of Dimri, LISA - in a word, everyone. Momz and Dadz were very accommodating in this regard, as they timed their trip to coincide with this ceremony. So they will be joining us. (I'm still working on Daveed.) But, I haven't told you the highlight of this ceremony: There will be a dance routine performed by the children of the kehilla, starring none other than ARIELLA ROSE. The children, including ARIELLA ROSE, have been practicing their moves for two weeks.
(Digression Alert: In my book on child-rearing, "Leave Me Alone So I Can Read the Paper," there will certainly be a chapter entitled, "Your Child Does NOT Have Your Issues. Get Over It." To wit: At the first practice, I saw that none of Ariella's gan friends were there. I said to her nervously, "If kids your age don't come, you don't have to do this. We can just leave." She gave me a mystified look. "I want to do this, Mommy." Yeah, she's her own person.)
Anyway, the children, an example of whom is ARIELLA ROSE, need to wear all white to the production tomorrow. Another chapter in my book is entitlted, "Only Fools Buy White Clothes for Their Children," so you can imagine that other than the requisite white shirts that the kids need to wear every other day to gan, I was out, clothes-wise. Today, though, Dadz, Yaakov, and I went on a White Skirt Mission and were thankfully successful. We are all very excited to watch the performance tomorrow, especially the star dancer, ARIELLA ROSE.