Tuesday, August 17, 2010

Swirling Thoughts #161 - ish sheleg wearing mittens? how about water meter fluttering?

We have sandstorms, not snowstorms!
When we lived in Brooklyn, my kids spent maybe half a school year each learning about an ish sheleg (snow man). They learned about his mittens, his hat, his scarf. Really relevant stuff if you want to speak Hebrew in Brooklyn. Not so relevant if you speak Hebrew in Israel. I asked Rosie the other day how to say snow in Hebrew. She had no idea.

The ultimate Hebrew tutor
It’s summer. The kids don’t want to do work with their tutor – they want to play games with Saba. He’s happy to comply on one condition. He’ll play Uno, Sheshbesh and cards. But they must speak only Hebrew.

The tutor approves!
Since school ended, the tutor has been bringing less work and more games. Last week they played cards in Hebrew. It was going along beautifully until Barbara clutched her face in a fit of astonished giggles and I was forced to translate. It seems ace in Hebrew is pronounced ahss.

Mystery of the disappearing summertime water - the tale of the tape
1pm – I open my PO box and take out my mail. It’s surprisingly stuffed for only having sat for a week (as opposed to the usual 3-4 weeks).
1:05 – quick scan of junk vs. stuff that needs attention
1:06 – I ask the pizza guy if this letter from city hall talking about mayim (water) is something important
1:07 – pizza guy gives a quick scan
You have a leak. See here – it says ‘n’zeelah’ – that means leak. See this (he points to the bolded words on the bottom). It says ‘EVERY DROP IS A SHAME’.
1:08 – I feel instantly ashamed.
1:09 – I call the gardener to be sure our irrigation system (which waters the garden for 15 minutes each day) is permitted. He tells me it is and that I should check the water meter.
Nothing should be moving if everything is off.
1:16 – I check the meter. I don’t know what I’m looking at. There is also a second meter. I don’t even know which meter I’m looking at. I photograph both meters.
1:23 – I visit the moetza (city hall).
1:27 – I receive the shocking news that while people normally use 60 ‘cubes’ of water in two months, we have used 60 cubes in the last 13 days. THREE DAYS OF WHICH WE WERE CAMPING. Hmmm…
1:40 – I call the plumber. He is not home but his wife tells me to check the water meter.
But I did!
Is something moving?
I don’t think so.
Hmm…doesn’t sound like a leak. Are the kids home using lots of water?
We’ve half filled the baby pool 3 times…
(more shame)
I’ll tell him you called.
1:45 – wheels turning in my brain…If there’s no leak…and if our water usage is relatively steady…could it be someone is stealing our water?
1:49 – I arrive home and notice the house under construction next door has its back patio filled with water to test for leaks. My water theft theory grows.
1:50 – I call back the moetza
The lady who helped me is gone. I am speaking to a gentleman who saw me there but speaks no English.
Yesh baya im ha mayim sheli (there’s a problem with my water)
Ken, ani yodeah. Tzareech livdok ha sha’on mayim. Livdok im hu m’parpar.
I need to check the rose water for butterflies?
Perhaps, do you have a child in the house who speaks Hebrew?

I look at 4 year old Rose.
I'll call back tomorrow.
2:30 – finally it’s morning in America. I speak to Bob about the situation – I tell him about the possible leak/overuse/theft of water. He tells me a water thief would have to literally fill up buckets in front of the house and carry them up the stairs and away. A doubtful occurrence. Then he tells me,
It’s strange – we had this same problem last August!
And how did it resolve?
It didn’t. We never found an explanation.

Today I read about the Israeli water authority installing “Chas-Cham” water conserving devices in homes for free. It might be time to sign up.

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