Saturday, February 28

To Do List for Today

1) Figure out how to clean vomit out a mattress
2) Figure out where to stash child who was going to have a playdate, but will now be moaning quietly in some corner of the house while we move.
3) Load crap into van.
4) Listen to sick child whine.
5) Move furniture into house from apartment.
6) Listen to healthy child whine.
7) Go back to apartment for 12 more runs grabbing those last little things that somehow didn't make it into boxes.
8) Grab lunch from Blue Ribbon for brother-in-law's birthday, which we wouldn't be celebrating at all if it were left up to my deadbeat husband who says things like, "Isn't his helping us move into the house on his birthday present enough?"
9) Clean the apartment.
10) Clean the house.
11) Wash sheets covered in vomit because we'll actually have a dishwasher again.
11b) Realize that it's been so long since I've done laundry that I can't tell a dishwasher from a washer and let Adam do wash.
12) Hope that the cable guy can hook us up otherwise we'll have an ad nauseum repeat of #4 and #6.
13) Clean the house some more.
14) Go to unpack but realize we have no where to put things as furniture doesn't come out of storage until Friday and closets won't be complete until Monday.
15) Try to get kids to sleep in their own new rooms.
16) Take a bubble bath in my new bathtub and have a glass--or five--of wine.
17) Spend the night--all four of us to a double futon mattress--in my and Adam's brand new bedroom.


Thursday, February 26

The Reason I'm Not Blogging More...

Our friend with the pickup truck comes 8 a.m. Saturday. Our lease
expires midnight Saturday. Oy vey! The packing commences... now!


Friday, February 20

Pie B'Israel

And Pie? What about Pie on this trip? Let me tell you what we've learned about Pie:

--Her legs break easily. But they heal quickly when ice cream is involved.
--She (along with her brother) have discovered that, yes, chocolate pudding does actually qualify as a breakfast food in Israel, and have availed herself of one daily.
--She can fall asleep anytime, anyplace, as long as it's not in a bed and it will cause physical pain and general inconvenience to those around her. Otherwise, she's wide awake and she wants to eat. Now. No right now. NOW!
--If you give her 20 shekels to Pie and 20 shekels to Doodles for ice cream to spend while they're off with the other kids and the counselors, Doodles will come immediately back and hand you 11 shekels in change. Pie on the other hand will come back with a wad of chewing gum in her mouth (which the youth counselor said she bought and announced, "I'm going to share it with my family," but when this family member requested a piece, she shook her head vehemently and chewed harder) and ice cream on her face, and yet, when you ask for the change back, she'll stick her hand in her pocket, rattle around a couple of coins, and say, "I can't find it." When you stick your hand in your pocket and retrieve the coins, she says, "Oh, there it is," and giggles.
--She thinks the Kotel is "cool."
--The girl can find a phone. Anywhere. No, seriously. Anywhere.
--No, she doesn't need the potty. Yes, she's sure. Don't you get it? She doesn't need the potty!! Until five minutes later. When she needs the potty right now because she has to go really badly!
--She likes teenagers. Oh, does she like teenagers. Especially the girl kind who fawn over her and do her hair.

Reality is going to be a bitch for this little one. We're about to hit a "no pudding, no shekels, no ice cream twice a day" zone. It's going to be a rough re-entry folks. Hold on tight.

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Does Your T-Rex Wear a Kippah?

We ended up one of our days in a mall in Tel Aviv for lunch, primarily, I believe, because it's one of the few locations in Israel with a kosher McDonald's, which is apparently a big deal if you keep kosher, which we clearly do not. My son, the adventurous eater that he is, decided on Sbarro's pizza. In Israel, Sbarro's pizza comes with a kid's prize. Doodles chose dinosaur eggs that will hatch in water, which caused much discussion.

Adam: When the eggs hatch, what kind of dinosaur do you think it'll be?
Doodles: I hope it's a plant eater because if it's a meat eater I'd have to kill something to feed it meat, and I don't know how to do that because I'm not a solider.

He then posed the same question to his youth counselor. His young, sweet Israeli youth counselor. His young, sweet, Israeli, do I need to add Orthodox? youth counselor.
Counselor: It might be a plant eater or it could eat both plants and meat so if it can't find any meat, it could eat plants. What kind of meat would you feed it?
Doodles: Well, bacon is meat. I can feed it bacon.

To which she had no response.

That boy of mine. Always knows just the right thing to say.

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Be Careful What You Pray For...

We have made it to Jerusalem. The final leg of our trip. And we are doing all the things one would expect to do in Jerusalem and a few you wouldn't. Placed notes in the Kotel. Explored the City of David. Shopped. Sifted dirt in search of antiquities at an archaeological site. Visited Yad Vashem (for the adults; the kids went to the Museum of Science). Visited a family of Ethiopian Jews in their home. And we went on a tour of the tunnels of the Kotel.

And, this, my friends, is where we get into trouble. Because in the Kotel tunnels, the kids who are awake (note: this means Pie was not in that group, as she was fast asleep in Adam's, then my, then Adam's, then my arms--hey, she's dead weight when she's asleep. It's hard to hold her for very long) went with the youth counselors while we grown-ups explored. Which was all fine and dandy until Doodles got to the place closest to the Holy of Holies. As the name implies, it's the holiest spot in Judaism, but it's somewhere under where the Dome of the Rock is, so Jews have no access to it today. The spot in the tunnels is the closest you can get to it and many people come to this spot to pray.

(For those who don't know what that is, without going into too much religious history here, once upon a time, there were was a temple in the heart of Jerusalem (twice: first Solomon's Temple and then the Second Temple. If you've seen Raiders of the Lost Ark, you know that in the heart of the first temple was the Ark of the Covenant. It is the most sacred spot and by going through the tunnels, you pass the place it would have been).

When the grown-ups reached the spot, we all took a moment to close our eyes and make a personal prayer. But not the kids. As was reported to me by more than one person with the children, when they reached the spots, the youth counselors asked the kids what they'd like to pray for. They were reminded that they should think of greater things than "lots of ice cream" or "a new toy." Apparently, my son immediately said, "Oh, I know what to ask for!"

"What?" the youth counselor asked.

"I want my mommy to have another baby. I want my mommy to have a new baby every day!"

And my friends, this will be the ultimate test of religion and modern science: God versus Bayer Pharmaceuticals. Care to place any bets?

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Sunday, February 15

The Scariest Thing I've Ever Done...

Did you know that on Israeli Blogger, the username and password go from left to right? And they're in Hebrew. But I digress. This post is clearly about the scariest thing I've ever done. And I've done a lot of stupid things. But the clear winner here is...

I let my 5 year old rappel down a cliff. Yes, that's right. The materials were very clear: "Children age 9 and older and adults may rappel." But this is Israel. And the rules don't matter. And the guide said, "If he's not afraid, he can go! I took down a 3 year old once." And the boy was not afraid (thankfully, the girl was, because I couldn't have handled that one).

"Rappel! Rappel! Rappel! Rappel!" he chanted all the way there (he's the one in the red shirt on the right below). Halfway down, Adam had to give him a little hand because he didn't want to let go of the rope, but he made it down, and while he thought it was a bit scary, he doesn't seem to be harmed.

We've also: hiked in Mahktesh Ramon, eaten in a Bedouin tent, rode a llama (Pie), saw ibexes in the middle of the street on a run (Jenny), visited and lunched at the home of a Moroccan Jew, floated in the Dead Sea, had spa treatments (Adam and Jenny), saw camels, watched Strawberry Shortcake in Hebrew (Pie and Doodles), not slept much, ate way too much, and have generally had a very good time. Yes, there's more to tell. But the Internet connection is costly and I'm on a borrowed computer. So tomorrow, off to Massada and Ein Gedi and then Sfat. Lilah tov!

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Wednesday, February 11

Waiting Waiting Waiting

On the flight to NYC:
Doodles: What's this?
He's holding up the airsickness bag.
Me: Some people get sick on planes. That's for if someone has to throw up.
Doodles peers in.
Doodles: But, Mom, there's no throw up in here!

And now we're sitting at JFK waiting to go through security again to board. We got here at about 3:30 and we leave at 10:10. Pie had the sleepiest eyes I've ever seen. Doodles is... Well, remember the song "Matchmaker, Matchmaker"? "You think you'll get the rabbi's son?" "Well why not? We only have one rabbi and he only has one son!" "Why not? I'll tell you why not!"

Well the why not is because the rabbi's son is sharing a seat with my son... cosied up... watching "Angelina Ballerina" together.

Five minutes to boarding. Thirteen hours to Tel Aviv. Fifteen hours till I order my first Israeli beer.



Hanging at JFK


Good Enough

I had these visions. I'd write up a series of interesting, witty, and thought-provoking posts and schedule them to appear while I was gone. I was going to whip up fresh cookies to have on the flight for the kids. I was going to clean completely, take out the trash, pack up boxes, and have things organized for the move when I got back. I was going to create beautiful travel journals for the kids to write in. I was going to find the perfect Israeli-themed book to take with me.

I did take out the trash.

And really that's good enough. I am making my kids some kick ass playlists for their lovely new-to-them iPods. How many of the other kids are going to have both SteveSongs and Beastie Boys on their playlists?

So we're off. I'll have my iPhone, but it'll have an Israeli SIM card, so it'll be cost prohibitive to just send photos and posts willy nilly, but whenever I can find wifi to log into, I'll be sure to send some photos and brief posts here.

Otherwise, I'll have a lot to say when we get back!

Happy trails to us!


Friday, February 6

The Lasts... The Firsts

I've baked my last hallot in this apartment (that's the plural of hallah for you goyim out there). Tomorrow night will be my last Saturday night in this apartment. Sunday will be my last Sunday night in this apartment.

We leave for Israel on Wednesday (and I have no compunctions writing this because there are big burly construction workers at my house so just forget about making any mischief over there!). We get back home on Monday, the 23rd. (And I won't have a laptop while I'm gone--if I get into areas of WiFi, I'll be able to post pics from my iPhone, but otherwise, this blog will be quiet for a while.) We are out of our apartment and into our house on Saturday the 28th, when our lease is up. So we are into the lasts.

And the firsts. I peed in my house yesterday. Yes, I did! And I was the first member of my family to do so, much to Adam's chagrin. We'll do our last load of laundry here before we go, and then when we get back, trip laundry will be done in our brand new washer and dryer at the house.

The painters are coming today. The floors went in yesterday (they need to be sealed one more time, but there are floors!). We have toilets and heat and working showers. Countertops will be measured on Monday and put in the following week with sinks. We are nearing the end people. The house may not be completely done, but I'm starting to have confidence that it will be most livable!

I'll miss this tiny apartment. Adam thinks I'm crazy when I say it, as I do go crazy with the lack of privacy. But I'll also miss the closeness of my kids around. But I'm excited to let them scream at 6 a.m. without waking the neighbors. I'm happy to be able to let them jump without worrying about them shaking the apartment below. I'll be happy to have their toys out of storage so they can get playing again.

And I'm already planning the first party. I'm thinking an all-day open house. Sometime in March. With boxes and no furniture. But in our own house!


Thursday, February 5

Yea, Readers!

Three readers in fewer than 24 hours! You guys rock. I think three readers is a great place to be and if anyone else wants to read, let me know and I'll come begging to you when this first draft is complete and my current readers are so sick of my novel they hide when they see me coming.


Wednesday, February 4

Once Upon a Novel

Once upon a time, in a land far far away, known as 2008, I said I'd have a completed draft of my novel done by January 31. Well, it here it is, February 4, and you haven't heard anything about that completed novel, have you?

No, you haven't. And there's a reason for it.

It's not done.

Are you shocked? I bet you are. But I will say that I'm plugging away at it steadily.

Last time I tried writing something, I plopped down the whole thing and then tried to have some friends read it. It was too overwhelming. For them. For me. Couldn't go back and revise as it was this massive task that I didn't know how to begin. So this time around, I'd like to do it as I go along. Have people read a few chapters at time. See if their interest is piqued. See if there are things they don't like. Plot lines that should be halted in their tracks. Characters who are flat. Scenes that simply don't add anything.

Which brings me to you. Yes, you. Oh, put down that coffee and hear me out. Would you care to be my critiquer? You must be brutally honest with me. You must wield a red pen (or red tracking marks) without remorse. You must have the time and inclination to get through a chapter or two each month until the bitter end. You should probably like fiction. Not chick lit, but women's fiction (I mean, you can like chick lit, but this is not it). The book has strong Jewish themes so an interest there would be good.

Are you still with me? If you're game, drop me an e-mail at jenny at jennyandadam[dot]com. And I'll get you some chapters tout de suite.


Monday, February 2

Pie Will Be Pie

In the car, on the way home from picking up Doodles and playing in the playground (our one nice day! And tonight it starts to snow again):

Me: Don't forget, I pick the dinner tonight.
[I got tired of the fights and the unfinished dinners and the demands for different food, so from now on, I pick dinner and they eat or not--their choice.]
Pie: I want to pick dinner!
Me: Nope! I'm going to do it.
Pie: I'm all done with this family.
Me: Okay. What family would you like?
Pie: I don't know. You pick.


Sunday, February 1

The Boss (and for Once, I Don't Mean Me)

I started to include this in my previous post, but I decided that Bruce deserves a post of his own. I'm sitting here rocking out to one of the idols of my youth as my five-year-younger husband shakes his head because he just doesn't get it. He doesn't get it! How can you not get Bruce? What is to become of this younger generation?

Bruce may not be the stud of my teen years anymore, but he is seriously rocking the Super Bowl out. Give an old guy credit--he's not doing any lip-syncing tonight. My only complaint about tonight's performance is it was way too short.

In 1984, I lied to my parents (just that once, I swear! I would never lie to my parents! Really. That D in chemistry must be a mistake! And of course I didn't miss curfew. Smell? What smell? I don't smell anything sweet!). I told them I was spending the night at Eva's house. Eva told her mom she was spending the night at mine. Instead, we camped out at Vibrations record store at 163rd Street, getting there at about 8 p.m. and tickets for the "Born in the USA" tour were going on sale at in the morning. In those days there were no sophisticated numbering systems--it was first come first serve, so those waiting would write out numbers on scraps of paper and give them to people, so we didn't have to stay in the same spot all night. I was number 79; Eva was 78.

The night was a party scene. Lots of drunk people (and in all seriousness, not us). People dozing on and off. Lots of runs for Burger King. Most of us had our Walkmans and we were trading tapes (yes, tapes). One of the guys in line took a shine to me, and at some point, traded my number 79 for his number 7. I remember his buddies yelling at him, but who was I to argue? I got two tickets, fairly far up in the Orange Bowl; Eva got two pretty far back. I'm pretty sure when my parents asked how I'd gotten the tickets (because I'd obviously done it in person as I didn't have a credit card to use on the phone and it was on the news how fast the concert sold out), I 'fessed up pretty quickly. I believe the consequence of my indiscretion was I had to take my sister to the concert. Eva had to take hers, too. We sat up front. They got the crappy seats. (Sorry, Tweeds, for just ditching you at the concert.)

I had a poster of Bruce over my bed. "Born to Run" was an anthem, something we blasted while driving up Collins Ave or Biscayne Boulevard. One of my high school boyfriends was always befuddled that I couldn't remember the battles of the American Revolution for A.P. American History, but I could sing "Blinded by the Light" forward and backward (still can!).

Of course, I had other phases. I was waaay into Pink Floyd for a while. Rush. The Who (I saw them on their first final tour!). Genesis. The Clash. Toward the end of high school, I definitely segued into New Wave, with Depeche Mode and Yaz topping the list.

Quick digression: Anyone else see that ad for Race to Witch Mountain. I said to Adam, "I'm horrified that they've remade Witch Mountain?" and he said, "What? What's Witch Mountain?" Aaaaaggggggg!!!

Okay, back to the music. Actually, I only have one more thing to say: Bruce. Bruce! Buh-rrrruuuuuucccccceee!

Because tramps like us, baby, we were born to run.

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Pass the Bottle

I'm here, I'm here. I've got a whole bunch of saved drafts that I've abandoned because they're outdated. I'm feeling a bit over my head right now. I've got a suitcase that needs to be unpacked just so I can repack it, Adam's harassing me to look at closet layouts, I have a program at the synagogue that I'm running next week, I have to buy booster seats for my kids for the tour bus, the apartment has to be packed, our trip has to be packed, my son needs 18 valentines for his class, I have homework for my Hebrew class, we haven't yet picked out tile for the back splash, the landlord is coming by on Tuesday and the apartment is disgusting, and I'm doing the only reasonable thing I could be doing right now: pouring myself a glass of wine, getting teary eyed over Chesley Sullenberger and his crew standing on the field of the Super Bowl, and baking the Ultimate Chocolate Chip Cookies, courtesy of Foodie at Fifteen. So here's a brief hodgepodge of the saved drafts in Blogger.

1) As most of the Northeast did, we had a snow day last Wednesday. For once, I didn't dread it. I had no work to do, the kids get along well, and it was, well, snowy out. Because I had a 5:30 a.m. boot camp class, I was a bit tired, so I set the kids up with salmonella-free chocolate peanut butter sandwiches and a stack of Legos. I lay on the couch, and took a nap. They actually let me doze, on and off, for about an hour. We read some books. I relaxed. They played on their own. It only went awry when we had a playdate that we had scheduled the previous week. I wanted the kids to get together, because they don't know each other well (Pie is at the same school as the younger boy and she seems very fond of him), and we'll all be going to Israel together. This family has a four-year-old boy, a six-year-old boy, and a nine-year-old girl. Perfect right?

Almost perfect. Because I don't drive in snow. I just don't do it. I refuse. I was about to call and cancel the playdate when I decided to play with Google Maps new feature, plotting out walking times/distances. Not too far. .8 miles. 16 minutes. Doable right? "Hey, guys! We're going on an adventure! We're going to walk to our playdate!"

Doodles immediately started groaning. "I don't want to walk! I hate walking!" But Pie, in her naivete, was game. "An adventure! We're going on an adventure!" She bravely kept this up for the first 15 minutes, when, with bright pink cheeks and the wind whipping, and snow drifts up to her knees, said, "I don't like this!"

The 16-minute walk miraculously only took 45 minutes. Did I mention that this playdate was .8 miles... up a hill? On mostly unplowed sidewalks? And death-defying drivers careening on the streets? In snow that turned to freezing rain? I knew I had made a bad mistake with this walk, but it was too late to turn around; we were closer to the playdate's house. Oh, the false cheer I kept up. "You guys are doing great! You're doing so awesome! What tremendous adventurers you are! Do you guys know what adventurers get when they get home? Hot chocolate! With marshmallows. So many marshmallows. I think we'll build you a pyramid of marshmallows! And TV! Adventurers get lots of TV. Lots and lots." Guilt gets you nothing but hot chocolate and TV.

We made it. Soaking wet and chilled to the bone, we made it. We enter the house and I try fruitlessly to disrobe us without spewing water and ice everywhere. We come into the house and Pie, uncharacteristically, becomes clingy. She had been anxious to play with the boy, asking all week when the playdate was, so I didn't understand her behavior. Doodles got shy and the boy his age went off on his own. I sat down to have a cup of tea and to chat with the mom, and Pie climbed up into my lap.

"Go play!" I urged her. "You love playdates!"

Pie shook her head, buried her face in my shoulder... and fell asleep. And I mean asleep. I mean snoring you could hear across the room asleep. Doodles ended up playing with the younger boy and I ended up quickly calling Adam (who was working at Panera in town, given that the apartment is too small for him to work from home) to come pick us up.

At home, Pie woke up. And why wouldn't she? She got hot chocolate. With a pyramid of mini marshmallows. And an overdose of TV.

2) Let's talk about clothes. Or lack thereof. Because my daughter is a nudist in a way I don't ever recall my son being. The minute she walks into the apartment, she disappears into another room. And moments later, out she comes, sans clothes. She spends the entire afternoon (or morning or evening) naked. She dances. She plays. She colors. Naked. We do insist that underwear goes on for eating, as hands go all over the place, but other than that, the girl is naked. All the time. If you're ever wondering what Pie is up to? Now you know. She's naked.

Digression: Does the ad for SoBe Lifewater, with all the guys in white shirts, kind of remind you of the sperm scene in Everything You Wanted to Know About Sex *But Were Afraid to Ask?

3) Doodles has become a royal pain in the a**. No other way to describe it. He's been moody, refusing to listen, negative on everything, greedy as all get out, and impossible to live with. Nothing funny here. Just me at my wit's end with my normally adorable, fun-loving, cuddly son.

Bruce is on. You no longer have my attention. Gotta go, 'cuz I was born to run....

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