It seems, that of all things 80% in this country the army is probably a leader. My (not-so) little girl was readying herself for her conscription next Sunday. We have been through the shouting and the tears (I quote "My life is almost over. First the army, then university, then marriage and children and that's it" - no drama at all!). Still we were more or less prepared mentally.
Then she was awaken by a call on her cell (at 2:30pm). It was the army. They have postponed her call up until March 22nd. Why? No one knows. She called them back to see if she could find out more info and the chap ("the idiot" she called him) she spoke to said that her date is on Sunday as before. Now she really doesn't know what's up. Lovely.
It is not everyday I get to post a YouTube video starring my very own family. Yes, folks, the second from the right is my very own mom. She rocks on the Kazoo. Better be nice if you comment, she reads my "blob"!
Firstly, I think war correspondents are the bravest people alive. Five journalists have been killed in Syria in 2012. Today Marie Colvin was killed when their makeshift media center was hit by shell near Homs. How do these people do their jobs knowing their lives are on the line. As self serving as I believe the media typically to be, some people are above it all.
I had a lousy day. I was up at 2am - jetlag. I foolishly slept for an hour yesterday afternoon and then went to sleep at 10:30pm thinking that would be it for the night, but no. I shot awake at 2am, knowing full well that was it. I have been here, done this jetlag thing before, so I did what any reasonable person would do, I went to work. Of course, the doorman at our building was asleep and grumbled about having to go out into the cold to open the parking lot for me. Then my badge did not work to let me into our floor. I called the 24 hour security people, and got voicemail. They called back and let me in. I powered through my 500+ emails from the weekend and listened to Nick Cave loud and was miserable - I miss not being here.
I had to control my misery once the squints started to arrive, as I really don't want to have to do time for beating on them too much. All the day I dreamed of the view from the 8th floor, looking over the Hudson. My mood was so dark I had to take myself home at 3pm, just to prevent blood in Rehov HaMenofim. I itch all over because my skin is so dry. I am trying to eat less fattening food (always makes me happy, not) and am so tired at this stage (it's 10pm) that everything is blurry, but I still can't sleep.The house smells of cat and there is no soap (only that watery liquid stuff, real men use bars of soap, if you don't mind). I'm just not ready to be home. Hopefully tomorrow will be better.
It was much harder than usual to return home. I missed the kids and looked forward to seeing them, but the usual post vacation depression set in when I heard the first Hebrew shout of "Baruch, tkneh li sandwitch" in Newark airport. The return home to everyday life was made all the harder by the wonderful time we had in New York with Todd and Suzanne. They were as generous and welcoming as ever. We laughed a lot and saw the sights, ate very good food and just hung out in their wonderful home and their excellent company. We were treated like royalty. We got to go to an excellent play "Death of a Salesman" with Philip Seymour Hoffman as Willy. It was well, Wow! Every time I visit New York I always feel we left too soon and are missing something vitally important. We had a great time.
I am not ready to go back to work in the morning. I have 500+ email messages and all sorts of loose ends to tie up. It is raining and miserable here today, and usually I like this kind of weather, but it is colder than America in this room and what with the jet lag and end of trip blues, I'm not really overjoyed to be in this cat-smelling, drafty, damp house.
On the flight home we had an annoying Russian family with three loud, ADD brats sitting in front of us, one of which vomited for the last hour of the flight and kept it up all the way into the airport building. Our whole section of the plane's barf bags were mobilized to stem the flood. My back is broken from shlepping the four huge (23kilo, at the limit) bags (at a total of $105 in extra bag fees). Bwo's family have already been over to get their presents and to check that we are really home and not planning on absconding to the US with the family jewels. Our kids are great and besides the upside down tent on the patio (a victim of the weekend storm) and the smell of cat, the house is in reasonable shape. I just hope I can sleep tonight.
This is always the hard part of the trip. The time with my family in Houston is running out. Tomorrow we will take our absolutely laden cases (we came to the US with two and leave with four) to the airport and fly off to NYC. So today will be a mad rush of returning bwo's extra purchases to the stores, packing, saying goodbye and someone said something about BBQ for dinner (not my vegetarian favorite).
I rarely admit to myself just how much I miss my family. It is great to see them and once again be the youngest son, of little expectation and unconditional acceptance. We were treated to a visit by Gary, Sara and the Dallas kids and so now we have met all our nieces and nephews. My mom seems to be doing well even though social security added a year to her age.
Here are some quick highlights of the trip so far, Jo holding Jerry's hand on takeoff and landing from Sacramento to Houston (he was an old guy who had a bad experience on his last flight 34 years back), Chipotles, Ava's "and who are you?", visiting our cupboard (there was less Ebay stuff than I expected, thanks bwo), the wonderful up-upstairs shower, never knowing whose Diet Coke is whose at sisteraria's house, Vietnamese sandwiches at Les Givrals (not as good as last time), houses with carpeted floors, a new (extra) suitcase, Arnie's excellent coffee and almond essence flavored biscotti.
I am a lucky boy to have family like this and I shall miss just sitting around and chatting with them when I'm back home/
I am once again waiting at the airport. This time in Sacramento. We are off to Houston next to see the family. I am looking forward to this. We arrived in Folsom with two cases completely empty (except for bwo's bag that was filled with another empty bag). After a few days next to the Premium Outlet Mall we now leave with three cases packed full - and we have yet to stop in Houston (shopping central). It has been wonderful to have bwo along with me, despite all the shopping. I caught something on the flight over and have been coughing and wheezing and generally feeling a bit miserable, so having her to take care of me has been very good.
Unfortunately I had to pack the cough syrup in the checked luggage as, "No liquids over 4 oz" on the plane, so now I'm set to cough all the way to H town.
I like this area, there are a lot of wide open spaces with the feel of California. I did not get around much, basically to work and hotel and somewhere for supper, but bwo visited shops and nail ladies, and hair people and so on. She says it's quite nice. I hope to post more once I relax in the bosom of my family.
We're now in California. The trip was long and very tiring but we made our 50 minute connection in Frankfurt quite easily as did our luggage, luckily. It took an hour and a half for our cases to appear on the carousel. It seems the San Francisco customs department decided to check each and every case to look for contraband fruit and veg. We were clean and soon thereafter were on our way in our GPS enabled rental Prius.
We stopped off at nephew Eddie's in Albany to say hi to Eddie, Lisa and the kids, who are most cute. Then drove all the way to Folsom. I was very tired by that point but was invigorated by the clean California air. I also managed to watch some of the Superbowl while at E's and caught the last few minutes at the hotel. Looked like it was a great game and as usual the commercials were pretty cool.
Now it's work, work, work for the next few days. The afternoons are the hardest, once you're over the 2-4pm hump the rest of the jet lagged day is not too bad. The dining room at work has pretty decent Indian food, so I can't complain about too much about the food. In the evening there is always Chipotle.
Once again here I am sitting near gate C6 at Ben Gurion Airport, waiting to fly. This time at least it's with bwo, although her lovely company does not come cheap. We already needed to drop some serious cash at the duty free (one needs to constantly keep updating one's potions and lotions), and we haven't even left the country yet. We're off to Frankfurt (shortest connection ever at 50 mins, let's see if it actually is possible), then San Fran and then the drive to Sacramento.
We spent a wonderful weekend with the hevra (20 of us) at a tzimmer in Goren, which is in spitting distance of Lebanon. I had a good time, surprising seeing as we all were staying on one giant section of the hotel complex. It is very green and beautiful up north at this time of the year and my early morning walk into the adjoining nature reserve recharged my batteries.
I should have more time to post once we are on the road.