Monday, August 29, 2011

Swirling Thoughts #211 – What’s going on. From the exciting to the mundane. Or vice versa.

Netanya was fun but it was HOT
Not Dead Sea hot (100°F), not Tiberias hot (105°F), but hot (80° with 80% humidity). Especially for a pregnant lady. Nine months, remember. I was relieved to get home to the assuredness of my ceiling fan/air condition combo. Though I have to fight for it at times.

The ninth month should be renamed, “The battle over the thermostat”
As continues the battle against terror, so continues the battle over the temperature in my house. Bob tries to use the kids against me. I know he puts them up to these little shananagans.
Oh, Mommy, that FAN! It is blowing SUCH COLD AIR! I feel like I am going to DIE.
Oooh, Mommy, it’s FREEZING IN HERE!
I give them stern looks and then remind them of their bathrobes upstairs and the stash of earmuffs downstairs. And then I focus in on the real instigator.
You’re like a frail old lady, Bob. Would you like to use some of my silk scarves to warm your neck?

To be fair, he has become somewhat frail under my care
Well, not exactly frail but everyone is noticing how much weight he’s lost. The conversation goes like this:
Everyone: Wow! Bob! You’ve lost so much weight!
Bob, gesturing to me: Tell them, sweetheart. Tell them how I did it.
Me: Yeah, I stopped cooking about three months ago. He’s starving.

Ordinary is a relative term (or, “You’ve got hurricane maps, we’ve got rocket maps”)
We live in a part of Israel that many Israelis are scared to visit. Birthright tours are not allowed to come here. Though our daily life is, thank Gd, very peaceful, during the last intifada our neighbors had the very regular experience of being shot at on the main road. The same road I take to do my grocery shopping, to pick up my kids from camp, to get a cup of coffee, to go to Hebron on a whim. People from America ask if there is an armored car that can transport them on that same main road. I laugh but I get it. I live here. They are on vacation.

Last Saturday night, when it still looked very much like we’d be leaving to Ashkelon for our vacation the next morning, we decided to call the hotel just to be sure we weren’t behaving irrationally.

Hi, Holiday Inn?
I am nine months pregnant with 5 small children. Can you explain to me where your MAMAD’s (bomb shelters) are in relation to our room and the pool area?
Sure! We have one on each floor and the main lobby area is a MAMAD.
Uh-hm. Okay! Thank you.

It sounded reasonable at the time. I didn’t give much thought to the fact that the woman who took my call LIVES there. Having 15 seconds to find a bomb shelter is part of her reality. We resolved to stay close together and avoid the beach. The only thing left to do was explain the procedure of a Color Red alarm to the kids.

Me: Kids – we’ll need to stay together at the pool.
Barbara: Mom – I heard there are rockets being fired at Ashkelon.
Becky: What’s a rocket?
Me: Um….something that makes a big boom.
Becky: I don’t want to DIE!
Me: No, no, they have terrible aim. And the army shoots them down anyway. BUT (segue!), just to be extra safe, when we hear the alarm we’ll go into a special room for ten minutes.
Becky: I am NOT going.

And so it was decided. By Becky, perhaps the only rational, albeit typically dramatic, member of the family. You live where you live but a vacation destination can easily be changed. And probably should be when rockets, pregnant women, and anxious children are involved.

In retrospect, sadly, it was a good decision for us. The Color Red alarm sounded between 2 and 10 times every single day that week in Ashkelon.

The procedure, in case you were wondering:

* If you are in a building
Immediately enter the Residential Secure Space (MAMAD), and close the steel door.
* If there is no MAMAD in the building, enter the room that is farthest from the direction from which the missile fire threat is coming, and that has the least number of external walls, windows and other openings. If there is no such room, go into the stairwell.
* Inside the secure space, sit on the floor, under the window line, against an interior wall, though not opposite the window.
* Residents of the upper floor of a building without a MAMAD must enter the stairwell and descent one flight of stairs.
* If you are outdoors
* In a built-up area: Enter the building and follow the directions for those in a building.
* In an open area: Lie down on the ground, and protect your head with your hands.
* If you are in a vehicle
* In a built-up area: Carefully stop at the side of the road, exit the vehicle, and enter the nearest building or shelter.
* In an open area: Carefully stop at the side of the road, exit the vehicle, lie down on the ground, and protect your head with your hands.
* After 10 minutes, you may exit the secure space unless otherwise instructed.

We weren’t the only ones
As it turned out, most everyone who was scheduled to vacation in the south, plus many people who live in the south, took the opportunity to vacation somewhere more north. And so, instead of squeezing into crowded bomb shelters, we squeezed in poolside. We squeezed in to the hotel breakfast. And we squeezed in to the restaurants at night. Where Bob was able to replenish his nutrients and all of us were able to enjoy a little family closeness.

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