Monthly Archives: July 2012

After our busy day in Jerusalem, we spent today close to home. Ulpan camp started. Moshe was enthused, Dina was not, and Yehuda was open to trying it out. We dropped them off at the Avahat Yisrael school. When we picked them up, it seemed that Moshe and Yehuda had a good morning, and Dina was bored.

While they were at camp, Chaim and I did a shopping at Yeish and picked up spices and some food and drinks for Shabbos. Everyone took a nap in the afternoon. In the evening, Dina went to play with Meirav, and Moshe went to a siyyum that the other Moshe made on Mishlei. He reported back that he ate chicken wings and french fries.

We ate baked ziti and salad for dinner. After weeks of no cooking, it was quite an accomplishment.


July 24th

We needed to pick up our Jivetel box to hook up an American telephone number, so we spent the day in Jerusalem. We took the 395 into town – another winding road through the mountains that afforded more beautiful views.

First we went to the Biblical Zoo. We saw a lot of animals up close, and we heard (in Hebrew) explanations about the bears and the elephants. Everyone liked the fans that spray water on hot zoo visitors. By the end, it was a little bit too hot. We drove into the center of town and parked by Mea Shearim. We walked down to Ben Yehuda, and got some ice cream. Then we walked back up Ben Yehuda and the boys went to Geula to get pizza. They also stopped at an appetizing store and picked up some olives and pickles. In the meantime, Dina and I went back to the car to discover a parking ticket. Even though Chaim bought tickets for two hours, he didn’t realize he had to scratch off the date and time for it to be valid.

We then drove to Maalot Dafna to pick up the box, then on to the Tomb of Shimon HaTzaddik, which is basically across the main road from where we got the box. By the time we got home it was after 4 PM. It was a longer day that we had anticipated, but we got a lot done and had some fun.

Pinny said he would come in the afternoon, so Moshe, Chaim and I went to see Soreq Cave, or Ma’arat Hanetifim, which is about a ten minute drive from our cottage. We walked down over 200 steps to get to the entrance. The cave was discovered in 1968 when they were blasting in a quarry. The formations were incredible. There were many different ones, more shapes and sizes than I remember being in limestone caves in the United States. We had a beautiful drive up and down the mountain with views of Bet Shemesh and the surrounding area.

Pinny came with an assistant in the afternoon and cleaned everything out. I’m glad I did not see him take all the birds out in a plastic bag. More chi flowing through the house now, although the punch list remains pretty long. We are not used to having a landlord, but it is also getting ridiculous that things are not being fixed.

I was trying to have no expectations today because we were expecting so many good and services at the house, one of which is the mattress upon which I have not slept for almost two months.

The house is coming together slowly. The washing machine technician came and set everything up. Tow guys from the gas company came to move the shut off valve. Now it is in the drawer and the barbecue is hooked up, sitting unused on the back porch until after Tisha B’Av to be used.

The rest of the lift came. Same crew, equally rude, careless, etc. The house is even more stuffed with stuff, but we did get to slepp in our own beds. Our two-year-old neighbor was again excited to see the big truck.

Yet another in the parade of visitors was Pinny the bird man, to look at what is going on in our attic. He popped the door in the ceiling and dried-up bird poop rained down. He climbed in, looked around, and reported that there are nexts with eggs, live birds, and dead birds. We went out on the porch and he showed us where they were getting into the attic, and we is coming back tomorrow to seal everything up and clean it all out.

I’m still having a hard time understanding where the disconnect is – Does Rebecca not care about her house? Is Dick obtuse or extremely lazy or some combination of both? If you’re the property manager, shouldn’t you know what’s going on with the property?

One more trip back to Chanan at the appliance store. The burners still weren’t good. It seems the gas connection was in the front, and our gas connection is in the back. We switched for a different brand and Chaim hooked them up. It was never so gratifying to make scrambled eggs.

Then we tried a load of wash. The dryer almost fell off the washing machine when it started spinning. We are going to have to get a shelf or a bracket. Then the exhaust from the dryer turned the bathroom into a steam room, which had to be mopped up. We are holding off on laundry, even though the pile grows every day, until we can vent the dryer into the hallal and stabilize the washing machine.

It was still hot and sunny, but we got a break of household tasks. What a great Shabbos! Friday night we went to the Schaeffers. Moshe had already hit it off with Chaim Baruch, so it was nice to meet the rest of the family, minus one daughter who was away. Excellent food, interesting conversation. They told us about the great parks and hiking opportunities close by, and we saw some of the “loot” they discovered – arrowheads, pot handles, shards of pottery – very cool. They also have a bunch of parrots on their back porch. Shoshana has a dream kitchen. They extended all the way out to the next house and left a Jerusalem stone wall. One other benefit of going to the neighbors is the short walk home.

Shabbat lunch we went to the Dipoce family, pronounced Dee-Poes. The wife was thoughtful enough to make a rice cholent for Moshe and Chaim. Dina met their daughter Tziporah last week. They have five other children – Betzalel is Yehuda’s age. The husband is a radiologist, and they knew the Cohens from Heights Road when they all lived in Boston. Excellent food and interesting conversation again. They also mentioned the parks and the membership pass.

I went to the ladies’ shiur. A man (probably a big rabbi, but I don’t know his name) spoke about several different topices of keeping focus and the connection of learning Torah and prayer. I came home sweating profusely and even more appreciative of the cold drinks and ice now available in the Pinchuck kitchen.

Dina stayed at the Dipoces, and when she came home (at 6 PM), we went to see our neighbors. Our other neighbors came to visit, too.

We went next door for Seudat Shlishit, where the boys were very lively and singing very loudly. I just felt so happy that the boys felt so at home and were having such a good time.


July 20th

Guess what?  It was hot and sunny today.

We spent the morning sorting through our boxes of groceries and stocking the kitchen.

The boys spent the morning at the neighbors, then rode their bikes to play baseball at Ayalon Park with Rabbi Friedman.

Chaim and I went to Keven Shimshon and Manoah – way up on Tel Zor’a. It is probably a beautiful day hike, but it was very challening around the turns and over the dirt roads and bumps with the rental car. The JNF forest has sculpures scattered throught the park. Once we got to the top, the view was spectular. You can see the BIG shopping center below and all the way to the Gush. Very serene there, with big lizards scurrying around and a yellow butterfly.

I opend the Tehillim book randomly to Psalm 68 – very powerful to read about mountains and power and defeating enemies.

We are eating all our meals out for Shabbos.

July 19th

It was another very hot day, which we spent waiting for appliance service and refrigerator delivery.

The electrician came today after I called our local property manager to tell him that the kitchen light switch stopped working. After almost a week of frustrations and trying to make the best of the situation, today was the limit on “things that should have been fixed between May when we signed the lease and now.” Most of the problems with the electricity were loose wires in the switches. There was a socket missing outside and the washer outlet had been burned out. The best thing about Zvi’s visit was that we got rid of the ugly chandeliers in the living room and dining room and put in  just sockets on a wire with a bulb, what they call “spaghettis” here. I can also feel the positive flow of chi.

The technician came to service the oven and the stovetop. Chaim had to help him figure out where to put the oven. The technician refused to install the stovetop and told us our gas connection was against the law because it is right against the wall. He kept telling us the burners were not good, but he could not tell us why.

Yet another call to Dick (appropriately named) to have basic maintenance done on the cottage. The gas company is supposed to come on Sunday, as well as the washer “installer.”

Two Russians delivered the refrigerator. They parked the truck on Refa’im and one guy walked down the stairs with the refrigerator on his back. It’s amazing how our lives were immediately changed by having ice and cold drinks. Chaim and I took yet another run to Osher Ad and Yechezkel’s hardware store.

In the meantime, an alien has taken over Dina’s body. She spent the morning running errands with one neighbor, and she spent the afternoon playing with the other neighbor.

Thank you Tami for letting us use the washer and dryer before the nine days. Everyone was running out of stuff.

Moshe spend the afternoon and evening playing Monopoly with the other Moshe P.