Sunday, August 30, 2009

Swirling Thoughts #23 – cleaning after Shabbat, parking before Shabbat, Shabbat, and a soundtrack.

Why do I feel so guilty using my Swiffer Wet Jet?
Is it because as a teduat zehut carrying citizen of Israel I am obligated to sponga my floors motzei Shabbat? Maybe it’s because my floors really need to be sponga’d and the wet jet solution (I brought 9 bottles) with the wet jet contraption is doing a sub-par job. Perhaps the secret to sparkling stone floors lies within the super hard Israeli lime filled water.

There is a commercial in America with these two ladies cocking their lime-a-way cleaning solution trying to get hard water stains off their shower doors. Here in Israel you can taste the lime in the water. If you look inside your Shabbat hot water pot or your koum koum you will see it lined with a layer of grey limestone. For this reason I used half of one jug of Mai Eden (from my machine) to fill my hot water pot. I paid 400 shekels for a lime filter for my Maytag. I think there’s a cleaner out there for my shower doors called Cillit. I’ve heard it’s been used to clean nuclear waste. Adding it to my shopping list.

Street parking in Efrat is like a guilty pleasure.
Israel is the opposite of New York with regard to parking. In Israel if you are driving down the street and you see a spot on the opposite side, you just cross the dividing line and park in it. Backwards. No problem. I was pondering this concept erev Shabbat when I did just that but then had to maneuver my KIA in and out of the spot to get it just right. So I am parallel parking and there is oncoming traffic. Interesting.

Under penalty of SPIKES.
Lest you think Israeli’s are totally chofshee about their parking you should know that when it comes to lots, garages and gas stations there is a strict seder (order). Those arrows painted on the ground are not merely suggestions. Failure to follow them will undoubtedly lead to spikes. Yes, spikes. The penalty for incorrectly exiting a strip mall or shopping mall, an amusement park, a hotel, a restaurant, or pretty much any place in Israel is spikes in your tires. Gas stations do not have spikes. But there are gas station attendants enforcing the zero tolerance policy. Ever get to the gas station and forget which side your tank is on and then, after the fact, maneuver your car so the tank is near the pump? In Israel there are arrows all over the ground at the gas station. You come in one way, go through the gas line one way and exit the station one way. If you’ve mistakenly gone to the pump on the wrong side of your car you just keep on driving and re-enter the station. Anything short of this will surely earn you shocked questioning looks complete with excited hand gestures and then, of course, instructions on how to exit the station and re-enter correctly.

Shabbat in Efrat
I don’t know if I can describe this but I’ll give you a little. Friday night Bob leaves for shul with the kids. A 4 minute walk in any direction from my front door would put you in a real (shul with a building) shul. Our shul is, in essence, a shtiebel. It’s made up of neighborhood people and has the added allure of a Sephardic minyan. We love it. So it’s in someone’s house. And the kids come and go between the shul and the monkey bars outside the shul in the backyard. There are no cars on the road save for the occasional Bitachon (security) truck. The kids LOVE this and walk to and from shul in the street – just because they can.

Musical interlude.
Having trouble writing because Bob is setting up our new “media center” (read: purchase of a ridiculously large flat screen tv on which to watch videos, use the computer, and listen to music). He is trying to stream music but having trouble accessing US stations. Stuck with UK stations playing US music – “Get Your Freak On”???? I had to counter with some Asia.

Until next time…

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