Friday, August 21, 2009

Swirling Thoughts #16 – a memorable tiyul and a Kotel memory

Jeep rides, Gush Etzion springs, and pish.
My kids finished camp today – there was a final show with some dancing and gymnastics. The girls were in it – they did a little twirly dance. Asher wanted no part of it. He opted out. After camp, they spoke about the show a little bit but it was nothing compared with how they came from camp yesterday. Yesterday was a jeep tour (jeeps came and picked up the kids – 7 per jeep – am I the only one thinking about lice jumping from head to head in a squishy jeep? – for an off-road ride through dirt and dust) which included a stop at the Gush Etzion springs (picture Poland Springs, now take away most of the water and add some mud), and during which, some of the children “needed to make! And the counselors said they should make in the bushes! They said everyone in Israel makes in the bushes! So everyone made in the bushes. Except for two people who were scared but everyone else made in the bushes! There was a bush and a rock and that’s where everyone made! In the bushes! Because in Israel, everyone makes in the bushes!” Most conversations throughout the course of the day reverted to the event of making in the bushes. Seems it made an impact. When Rosie mentioned she wanted to come to the big kids’ camp for the last day of camp, Barbara told her she can’t come to big kids’ camp unless she knows how to make in the bushes. I kept trying to steer the conversation back to the (seemingly) more interesting part of the trip. The jeep tour? (Dusty). The springs? (Muddy. Oh yeah, and Asher fell in. And that was right before everyone had to make. So they made in the bushes.) In my head I was singing that song from Sesame Street – the one showing everyone sleeping that goes, Everybody Sleeps, and then the re-make of it showing everyone eating that goes, Everybody Eats. Only in my head it went, Everybody Makes.

Last night we had occasion to visit the Efrat Emergency Medical Center – the plaster dust in my house plus the dust from the off-road jeep ride was enough to trigger Asher’s asthma. And though I KNOW I compulsively packed Xopenex, it was no where to be found. At the medical center, which looked like an oversized bomb shelter with a few ambulances out front and exactly one staffer, we waited for the little girl ahead of us to get a few stitches and then we were seen. Asher got his meds and once the nurse/doctor/plastic surgeon/ambulance driver/secretary-lady was satisfied his airways were clear, she sent us home with one dose of the medicine for the morning. And some instructions. In America there are little plastic ampules – you rip off the top, squeeze the contents into the cup and throw away the plastic. Here in Israel you take a syringe, pull out 5ml from a glass bottle, squeeze it into the cup, use the syringe to pull 2 ml of special water out of a plastic ampule and squeeze that into the cup, then wash the syringe for next time and store the medicine and special water in the fridge. Simple enough. Ugh. When she asked me how long I’ve been here that I still don’t have a pediatrician she stopped short of reprimanding me but suggested strongly I get one right away. And less than 24 hours later we were sitting in the home-office of our new pediatrician. Who has evening hours (that would be 2 hours) 3 days each week, a morning hour (like exactly one hour in the morning) 2 days a week, and some emergency hours on Friday. The good news is he re-assured me only I need to deem it an emergency to come on a Friday – he will not judge. Baruch Hashem.

A deal I will ultimately have to pay for.
In some delusional moment of weakness when the kids asked me if they could unpack some of their boxes (the ones adorning their rooms) I said sure but that they must put away whatever they unpack. Deal. It is now 9 o’clock at night. My hallway is filled with empty boxes. Each kid’s room is littered with clothes, books, toys and miscellaneous goods (screws, hair clips, shower caps). At 5:30 this evening, in the middle of the unpacking event (who am I kidding – they just wanted the empty boxes to play in) we needed to leave to make the new doctor’s evening hours. From there we visited Burgers Bar where Rosie ate her way through most of our order. She was alternating schnitzel fingers with a giant hot dog (in the giant Burgers Bar bun) and devoured an order of fries, solo. When she picked up Asher’s uneaten hot dog it occurred to me she must be growing. And now the kids are bathing and getting ready for bed, stepping over all the goodies lining the floor. The activity for tomorrow morning – clean our rooms! Let’s see how that one goes…

Bar Mitzvah at the Kotel on Rosh Chodesh Elul – a morning for grownups.
The bar mitzvah was beautiful – we sat in the air conditioned indoor women’s section at the Kotel (for real!) and watched and listened to the bar mitzvah boy (along with about 9 other bar mitzvah boys – each one at their own table with their own entourage including rabbis, video guys, candy throwers, family and friends). This was in addition to the bar mitzvahs going on outdoors simultaneously. The Kotel was packed today – a Thursday (they take out the Torah) and Rosh Chodesh as well. I had to leave early to meet the washer-dryer guy (who was late) but it was still great. I can’t remember the last time I walked through the alleyways of the old city alone. None of my kids stopping, crying in the blazing sun, refusing to walk even one more step. Well maybe I can. It was on my honeymoon. It was Shabbat. Bob and I had walked to the Kotel from the Dan Pearl (outside the Jaffa Gate). We walked through the alleyways and I commented on how I’d never be able to navigate my way from the hotel to the Kotel alone. We got there and he went to the men’s side, I to the ladies side. When I finished praying I went to look for him on the men’s side. There was not a soul there. Literally. Nobody. It was boiling hot. I looked around a bit and then decided he must have finished and gone back to the hotel. And so I walked, through the alleyways, back the way we came. And I made it. All the way back. All alone. Except Bob was not at the hotel. In the boiling heat, the men had gone into the indoor part of the Kotel to take out the Torah. When they came out, I was nowhere to be found. With my words echoing in his ears (I’d never be able to navigate my way alone) he stood there, looking, waiting. He didn’t move. When I’d returned to the hotel, our friend Silby was there waiting for us. When I told him I’d lost Bob he said to stay put and he’d go find him. Silby found a defeated Bob, standing in the Kotel plaza, looking up toward Shemayim. Seems he was looking for some divine guidance on how to explain to my parents he’d lost their daughter 3 days into the honeymoon. Turns out he didn't need it. Hashem sent Silby.

Move over Madison Avenue – Mamila’s got Shopping Avenue
Bad translations are everywhere and everybody loves to find them. The elevator at the Mamila parking garage designates the mall level as Shopping Avenue. As I walked through the Jewish Quarter I noticed a man playing piano. He had a basket in front of him for donations of money. This sight is not unusual to me. I’ve been to Ben Yehuda Street. I’ve taken the NYC subway. I’ve been to Central Park. What was unusual was the sign he had posted. It read, “I sell piano.” Before Rosie and I went to the obstetrician yesterday I bought her what I thought was a Tinkerbell doll – it had lavender hair and wings. When she asked me to open the box in the waiting room I laughed as I read: “They are to bring the spirit of the lucky amiability, beautiful fairy maiden, they are to help your good friend that you realizes your dream, collecting them!” Okaaay.

Everybody Sleeps:

Everybody Eats:

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