Thursday, August 20, 2009

Swirling Thoughts #15 – 2 miracles in one day. and me being a plumber isn’t even one of them.

It’s possible, yes?
There’s a Hebrew word I use more than any other word and I don’t recall using the English of it so much in New York. “Efshar”. (It’s possible, yes?) “Efshar lelechet po?” It’s possible, yes, I can go here? “Efshar lechania po?” It’s possible, yes, I can park here? “Efshar kness po?” It’s possible, yes, I can enter here? And then there’s the dreaded “Eee Efshar” – IMPOSSIBLE. Most things are possible, yes, but once in a while you will encounter “Eee Efshar”. The first I heard of it was when my friend Michal was retelling a bureaucratic tale of woe – and if it sounded harsh in the re-telling, you should know it made her cry when they said it to her face.

Before I left for Israel my obstetrician told me I’ll get great pre-natal care in Israel, not to worry about anything. He also mentioned that they do a lot of sonograms. Something about how they really love to do sonograms. At my first appointment, last month, the doctor, who’d been so easily speaking to me in English, started speaking (at length!) to the baby during the sonogram – in Hebrew. I figured she’d forgotten I was American but then she turned to me and said, very matter-of-factly, “You know your baby already understands Hebrew, right?” A profound medical opinion!

The broken shower, revisited, erev Shabbat.
About 15 minutes before candle lighting I heard a noise outside my bathroom window. I was rushing through my shower and I looked out to see Bob hauling bed boxes to the garbage tank. Seems our movers, who were shocked to receive a tip, had dumped all of our empty moving boxes on our neighbor’s parking pad. Note to self: next time negotiate tip in exchange for box removal. At about the same time, I noticed a bubble in the hose connecting the shower head to the wall in our bathroom. It was puffing up with water to the point I was afraid it would burst. Although the kids’ bathroom has no shower curtain, when Bob came in, exactly 4 minutes before candlelighting I told him “no time to explain – take a shower in the kids’ bathroom – and try not to make a mess.”

After Shabbat Bob inspected the hose in our shower and cut a little hole in the plastic so the water would drain. Problem solved quick and easy – the Israeli way. Saturday, Sunday, Monday went by without incident. And then the hose burst. In the middle of my shower right, where it connects with the shower head. And so it was a déjà vu of my very first shower in this house (minus the freezing water) – something like showering with a garden hose that has the oomph of a power washer. I figured I’d get a new hose at the hardware store. It was higher on the priority list than any of the other things I need from the hardware store (cookie sheets to fit in my ridiculously small no-name European oven, a koum koum to make hot water in the downstairs apartment, a hot water pot for Shabbat).

This morning I woke up at 7:10 and at 7:15 the man delivering my short term small rental car phoned that he was outside. My Chevy Opra miraculously turned into a Ford Focus (these kind of miracles occur at car rental places all over Israel every day) and the kids loved squishing in the back seat on the way to camp. As Rosie and I continued on to my doctor in Jerusalem, we picked up a tremp who re-routed us to a quicker and better way to get to Wolfson Towers. Except that once I dropped her off I got lost. At 9:04 my doctor called to see where I was. By 9:30 I was sitting in her office, apologizing for my lateness. She didn’t care. She was downright giddy about me passing my sugar test. Then she told me to hop on the table so we could check out the baby. With Rosie sitting next to me we got to check out the baby in high-resolution. And as I promised Asher this morning, we asked the doctor to please re-examine the area between the legs. The appointment was quick and as we pulled out of the parking lot I contemplated what we should do next. Malcha Mall for cookie sheets? Coffee with my friends who are in from New York? Just then Rosie said something about needing to pee and my decision was made for me. 20 minutes later we walked into my house.

When the ceiling fan knocked on my door at 11:30 I quickly re-invented the rest of my day. Realizing I may not make it to the hardware store I started thinking about the shower curtain I’d packed for the kids’ bathroom. If I could solve that small problem, I could push off the problem with my shower. I would unpack the kids’ rooms before they returned from camp and set up their bathroom. And so began the hunt for the shower curtain. In my unboxing and searching I came across many things but no shower curtain. When I decided to look in the cabinet in the kids’ bathroom I did not find a shower curtain but I DID find a new shower hose!!! So I abandoned plan B and went back to fixing my shower. I stepped inside, unscrewed the old hose, screwed in the new one, attached the shower head very carefully turned on the water. It worked! But, alas, I could not mount the shower head. Hmmm…. I started to open drawers looking for a little plastic piece I remember Bob purchasing that was just for mounting shower heads. What do you know, the first drawer I opened had the vinyl shower curtain I’d been searching for. But I was so close to succeeding at Plan A and now (getting greedy?) it looked like I might fix my shower AND have the kids’ bathroom ready for them – score! So I examined the hose carefully and realized (duh) I’d hooked it up backward. So I unhooked and rehooked the hose and of course the shower head fit perfectly in the mount. But there was a problem. When I turned on the water the white plastic tubing within the hose started to expand. You’re not supposed to even see that tubing. Mine looked like it was going to explode. And then, of course, it did explode. All over me, exactly one minute before I left to pick up my kids from camp. But not before I quickly hung their shower curtain and said signed off on this issue until Bob returns. Rosie reassured me it was okay to make a mess since I am a grown up and grown ups are allowed to make messes. Loud enough for my ceiling fan guys to hear, I answered that it is okay for me to make a mess because it is ME that cleans up all the messes…

And so I escaped from this mess and picked up my kids. On the way they phoned me from the Moetza (Efrat’s answer to city hall?) to let me know they needed my teudat oleh right away to process my discount for Gan Shalosh (nursery 3) for Rosie. This is kind of funny. I got an email stating that as a new oleh I get a 90% discount on Gan Shalosh – I pay one month’s price for the whole year. So I went in to pay (the people who handle the gan are separate from the people who handle your payment – the same lady who takes your Gan payment takes your property tax payment, etc.) and I asked them to put it on my cartise (credit card). Tashlum echad, I said. The lady looked at me like I was crazy. “It’s a large amount!” I stated the number I was thinking she was charging me and again I got the crazy look. “That is only for one month!” Nachon! I explained to her about the email. She said it couldn’t be. “Eee Efshar!” She phoned her boss. He came to the desk. They conferenced in Hebrew. They both turned to me. “Eee Efshar!” (And then, in case I was not familiar with the Hebrew) “No, absolutely not, it could not be possible and where did you hear such a thing?” From the email! I told them. They demanded to know who sent the email. I told them and they said, no, it's a mistake and there is no such discount. Eee Efshar. This was 2 weeks ago. In any case, today they needed my teudat oleh, which was at home, and so I returned to them. And I inquired again about payment. And so it seems there are miracles occurring all around me today – my Gan Shalosh discount is being processed at this very moment. It’s possible, yes!

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