Friday, February 5, 2010

Swirling Thoughts #110 - Heightened alert - it's supposed to snow

(Food x 2) + (Recess x 3) = suitable conditions for learning
There are 2 eating periods plus 3 hafsekas (recesses) at school each day. You can play during the eating period and you can eat during hafseka so effectively there are 5 recesses and 5 times to eat.

My school lunch rotation – one day each of pancakes, borekas, noodles, chocolate sandwiches, fish schnitzel, and rice - broke down when I noticed the kids coming home near starvation every day. The rotation has become a smorgasbord – as much as I can stuff each day of borekas, noodles, chocolate sandwiches, fish schnitzel and rice.

Everyone has an excuse
When we first got here I rented a car from a company that sends a driver to bring you the car. What happens next is his partner, another rep from the company, shows up and takes the driver home. Our driver had to tremp back to his base in Netanya since his partner refused to come to the Gush.

My washer/dryer service company only sends repairmen into the Gush once a month.

Taxis drop us off at Tzomet Gilo (the southernmost tip of Jerusalem) and leave us to tremp back to the Gush.

Initially, some of our Tel Aviv relatives couldn’t believe we wanted them to come visit us here. How would we get there? Do we need armored cars? Neshek (gun)?
Mapiton!?! (what are you talking about?)
We got a surprise last night.
“See! We came to visit you!”
They happened to be giving a soldier friend a ride back to Tel Aviv. A soldier friend with an M16.

The big chill
My dear friend Gabrielle chided me to get to the makolet and stock up on snowed-in essentials – bread, eggs, hot cocoa and anything else I think I might want to cook/eat for about the next 5-6 days since, if it does snow, NO TRUCKS DELIVERING FOOD WILL COME INTO THE GUSH.

My Mai Eden delivery never came. It was scheduled for early in the week. The snow was scheduled for late in the week. Silly me, expecting Mai Eden to deliver me water in the same week snow is predicted.

Until Gabrielle’s admonition, I wasn’t really paying attention to the hype about the pending snow. Each kid brought home a phone number to call if it snows. A snow phone. Supposedly in English. My first school flyer ever to come home in English was a full page on what to do if it snows while the kids are in school.

How could I take this seriously? They are talking about the physical process of snow falling from the sky without even any talk about accumulation. If one flake falls or if we’re blanketed with snow it seems the proscribed protocol is identical: PANIC.

Don’t drive.
Don’t send your kids to school.
Don’t expect any stores to be open.
Expect a food shortage to last well into next week.
Don’t go anywhere where you will get stuck and the army will have to come rescue you.

Tressim – heavy plastic window coverings that you close at night using a pull-string to make your house look like an impenetrable fortress. I believe the American equivalent is the roll-down hurricane shutter. It’s a very Israeli thing to have tressim although here they protect your house from the heat of the desert sun more than from hurricane rain. I leave mine open for the most part but when Bob’s away and the wind is howling, I close them tight and hide inside.

As I tucked the kids into bed I promised them no school if even one flake of snow falls. The wind was howling. I closed the tressim, dove under 3 blankets and contemplated a lazy day of movies, cupcake baking and art projects.

I was sure we were snowed in up to the second floor when I opened my tressim the next morning. The window was freezing cold and I could not see a thing. But, alas, we were mired in fog and not a flake of snow had fallen.

As I scrambled to fill lunchboxes with rice, yogurts, jelly sandwiches, anything I could find, my kids just looked at me with confusion and disappointment.
“But it’s so….COLD. It’s LIKE it snowed!”
I called the snow phone – partly to humor the kids who insisted there couldn’t be school on such a cold day and partly because I couldn’t believe, after all that hype, preparation, and anticipation, that there would still be school.

The snow phone in English is, apparently, only in English if there is actually snow.


  1. Well, come on over here, we are expecting 2 feet of that stuff starting today. Have plenty of provisions and it's warm inside!!!

  2. OK Lisa we got YOUR snow and I think we are using ALL the snow up for the rest of the country.