Finding myself in the Middle East

Wednesday, August 15, 2012

Eizeh hu ashir

While brooding about our apartment woes, Outdoorsrman went to work and I drank a vodka and orange juice as the kids destroyed the house played with the children for hours on end.

It's funny about vacation, right?  Summer vacation!! My heart skips a beat! Then I realize, oh. 

So I have been keeping them busy and letting the house slide a bit, which is so so hard for me, but right now I am typing this while their wet towels are scattered on the floor, the garbage can is yet to be graced with a new garbage bag, and there just seems to be a general stickiness in the air.

But I was distracted, too, thinking about the apartment, how every time I can almost allow myself to feel that is will be ours, it's moved out of our grasp. And my apartment, here? Is falling apart around my ears. For serious. It's like the apartment is expiring. Or giving up. Like, what the heck, it's saying. I can't do this anymore. I'm tired. Plonk. The nob falls off in the bathtub.

Outdoorsman came hom early and the babysitter came because Outdoorsman and I had an appointment at the bank. Da-da-da-duuuum.

But no. Because they called. They cancelled.

We looked at each other. I don't remember the last time we had hired a babysitter, and the possibilities were endless!

We decided to get all wild and crazy and go out for coffee. We might have giggled over the idea. Just sayin. ANYWAY, we took a walk afterwards, and Outdoorsman told me about this guy that he bumped into on the way home from work.

"He was flagging a cab down and he barely spoke Hebrew. Almost none. Fresh off the boat from Russia. A cab pulled up and told him, 80 shek. He said, "lo, lo." I went into work for a few minutes and then I had to go back down and go on an errand for a part that I needed. He was still out there, trying to flag down another cab. I asked him where he was going. He was headed in my direction, so I told him that I would take him.

"D, he is so lost. He has no family. No no one. No job. He doesn't speak a word of Hebrew. He wasn't complaining, I was asking him and he was answering, but it was crazy to bump into this man who has nothing just as I was in a frenzy about the apartment."

A friend of mine calls problems like ours "upper class issues." They are not worries of hunger, or sickness, death, exposure. I have a place to live. I have beautiful children, a wonderful husband. We make enough money for all the basics and some extras besides.

It's true. I look around and see; I all of my problems are of the first class sort. Because really? Look.

I have everything.

Sunday, August 12, 2012

Go, My Son

I break stuff.

Once, when I was pregnant, I managed to smash into tiny shards my entire set of fleishig dishes at the same time. I was only lifting half of the dishes into the cabinet, but when they slipped out of my swollen fingers, they landed on the other half waiting on the counter.

I break stuff. This year, I have broken the deep freezer by leaving the door ajar all night, I have broken my brand new computer by letting one of the kids drink a cup of milk while they were looking at pictures--which, of course, promptly spilled across the keyboard and fried out all of its inner workings, I have broken--well, had stolen--the garbage can. I left it outside for a few hours. When I came back, it was gone.

I broke the dryer by putting in a soaking wet load and snapping the thinga-ma-worly-thingy.

The air conditioner broke. It wasn't my fault--probably--but I was the only one home, the one who turned it on. So default my fault. Our phones hardly work--also, probably not my fault, but with my track record, who knows?

And I hope I am not breaking Princess. I pray that I am not breaking her.

And I've been thinking lately, about the Land spitting you out. Because we have lived in apartment after apartment and it always ended too soon and in tears. We laugh about it to friends--ha ha! We are nomads! We are free spirits! We are a segulah for landlords to sell!--

But you know? It's not funny, living in unrenovated fourth-floor walk-ups that are covered in mold and falling apart around my ears. That would be okay, actually. I Can Do. But then it's not even ours. The landlord is trying to sell it, and even doing my daily housekeeping seems futile and pointless, like I am already cleaning someone else's house.

 Last night, the tris to the tiny mirpeset flung itself down and  broke, and now we can't get out. We are stuck in our tiny box in the sky.

I break things.

But we are moving! I say, we say to each other. Everything will be different in our own place, in a big place, a place that will have room for everyone, a place that we will tailor make to suit ourselves. (Read:I am so buying the Ikea Bar Cabinet.)

Yes. But the morgage? Not going so well. At all. Yeah, going really bad, for No Good Reason. Really.

And it all seems so pointless and hopeless and a little bit broken. (and I probably broke it.)

So now I am thinking; how can one tell the difference between the yisurim of Eretz Yisrael--and being told to leave?

Tuesday, August 7, 2012

Sea Salt

I won't romanticize it.

That's what I thought for the two hours that flew by like minutes, with the sun and the spray of the surf and the laughing children with their long, healthy limbs glowing and wet and then sandy. We will make a tunnel to China!

"I love it! The water, I love it!" said Coco-pop, who has been morbidly afraid of water since she went under last summer, her eyes open wide, fear shaking her little body as I pressed her to me, you're okay, you're okay, I got you, Ima's got you and Turtle, whose vocabulary has tripled since his second birthday last week echoed,

"Love it!"

Princess did not have to tell me that she loved it. Her normally rigid existence,  pinned down with her self-made rules, was a wild thing, a free thing, as she ran into the waves and let them hug her as she seldom lets me.

I threw a clump of wet sand at her, and at first she froze, unsure. Then she tried being miffed and crying. Then she ran over to me, hands outstretched, and at first I thought that she wanted a hug, but no, she rubbed sand onto my shirt, my scarf, and I said, "Princess!" spitting out wet sand and then laughed and we ran, together into the waves.

I thought that I didn't understand her. Her rules and her cutting brilliance, her high IQ that puts her into the "gifted" category and makes life into a thing that is hard for her, is all from Outdoorsman's side. But I found that in certain things she is me. I pretend not to worry but I worry so much, like her. In the water, my eyes dart from child to child. "Where is Turtle??" I scream, scanning the water for a bobbing head, and then we all laugh; he is in my arms. She worries about everything and I tell her, Don;t worry, stop worrying! that's what Ima and Abba are for, but I remember worrying when I was her age, worrying about the dark and what it was hiding from me.

I drank a beer, cold from the cooler, because I wanted the salty taste of the beach on my lips, in my belly, as I watched my children and husband build a tunnel to China, their shrieks as the sides caved in and China, ever illusive, dissapeared from view.

After two hours, Princess needed the bathroom, Coco-pop got a cut on her finger, Turtle sensed the change in mood and decided to be overtired, and we dragged our wet things and the scorching hot sand burned the soles of our feet and sat in the car and the traffic, sticky and uncomfortable and sunburned.

But before that, there was our day on the beach. Unromanticized. But perfect.


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