Last week I was supposed to write about our big Vancouver reunion, but instead today I will write about how we were knocked out by the flu just after our big Vancouver reunion. I don't think I already wrote about the reunion. Did I? I truly can't remember, but I don't see anything in my sent mail. Ross and I have been out with fevers reaching as high as 40/104 for the past week. It started with Adin, who just had a bitty thing, with a fever but full of energy and happiness and enjoying his time out of gan. Until we got sick, and then home was not so fun anymore. He was out for 2 days. Then Ross got his 104 fever and big headache. Mine wasn't as bad, but bad enough. Monday was Adin's secular birthday, and I had planned to bake a cake or something, but I couldn't get out of bed, so Rivital threw something together that included a multi-staged scavenger hunt with puzzles and art projects, followed by an ice cream cake. I dragged myself vertical for the festivities. Somehow the kids then cleaned up after everything (or enough, anyway), got themselves to bed, and here's the real miraculous part: up and out to school ALL BY THEMSELVES the rest of the week!!!!! ALL 3 OLDER KIDS!!! Did I mention that Rivital's bus leaves at 6:50 AM?!?! One or two of those days Tali and Shai stayed home with sore throats (but no fever, and nothing like what we had), but (miracle number two): Abaye went every single day last week, without even a suggestion that he was feeling under the weather!!!! (Today he is actually home sick, but with a very real sore throat and cough-- no fever).
Ross and I went to the doctor on kibbutz (who works here a few hours a week). Her check up consisted of listening to three breaths on our back and one on our chest, and looking in our throats. Her diagnosis was one word-- viral. She didn't bother telling us if it was the flu or what-- it's viral, nothing we can do--- go home and rest.
We are still quite weak. Ross is still worse than me-- but we have been fever free for days, and he has gone into work yesterday and today. He helped make things up to the kids by taking them to see Harry Potter 7 Saturday night, and took them out for burgers (Tali had a lettuce sandwich) and bought them each a book (which is a big luxury around here-- books are a fortune!!) I stayed back and watched the Jungle Book with Adin, which I have discovered features our friend Lew as Baloo the Bear (even though Lew probably wasn't born when the movie was made-- it sounds EXACTLY like him!!! Can anyone back me up here? THose of you who know Lew, that is? And the Jungle Book....) Adin is actually partial to Jungle Book 2, which is such heresy, but at least the second pretty much just repeats all the same songs from the first.
Anyway, so we are on the mend, and I will do my best to recall the big reunion. Allan arrived Wednesday night, and Thursday I thought I'd show him a bit of Israeli culture by running errands in Beit Shean. I went to the bank to try to help him take out money. The machine didn't accept his card. We went inside to speak to a teller, who gave us the helpful counselling of, "Well if the machine won't take your card, what do you expect me to do?!" It's a good thing I was there to translate.... We then went into the Pelephone store, where I was hoping to add minutes to our 2 pay as you go old cell phones (the ones we used when we lived in Jerusalem, and every summer since). I wanted to lend one to Allan for a couple of days (he was talking about hiking alone, so I thought that would be good), plus I want to have them anyway for my kids when they go out on their bikes, etc. So we went into the store and, literally you can't write this stuff, there are THREE workers behind the counter and NO CUSTOMERS. I say "Excuse me please" (Or "slicha"), and she says to me, "please be seated and someone will help you shortly" (!!). I guess they had to wait for the FOURTH customer service person to arrive? When she finally finds time for me, she asks how she can help. I put the phones on the counter, and say I would like to buy minutes to put on them. She looks at them sadly, and says, "these are very old phones." I respond that yes I know that. She repeats that they are really very old. I ask if they won't work anymore, and she says that no they should work, but I have come to the wrong place. I assure her that they are Pelephone phones, and confirm that this is the Pelephone store. She says to me, as though I have just stepped out of a time capsule (which I suppose is not far from the truth), that of course cell phone minutes can only be purchased at the post office. Duh. So I shlep our poor friend Allan to the post office, where I won't bore you with too many details-- not much worse or better than one might expect. But the highlight was, well-- picture the scene. Everyone takes a number and the numbers are moving fairly slowly, post office like, and some people are stepping out and buying coffee as they see their wait may be long, and then suddenly, at one point, one number didn't show up, so they bing the next number, and they too seem not to be there, so the person in charge of binging the numbers seems to decide that if he can bing them forward really fast, people will miss their turn and s/he can go home (or so it seemed). The numbers started flying, and then slowed down again when someone showed up at a window with the right number. After this happened a few times, people started darting up to the counter a few numbers before theirs to make sure they weren't missed. SO that was fun. Sufficeth to say that the post office lady had no idea what I was talking about when I asked about the minutes (that can only be purchased here), but the manager was able to help, and managed to get minutes put on ONE of the two phones. Not bad for a morning's worth of errand-running.
After that we needed a break, so we headed over to-- you guessed it-- Sachne!! Beautiful day and the place practically to ourselves, we went for a refreshing swim in our 28 degree year round water! If Allan feels like it, he is (you are) invied to give your accounting of the place. Do I exaggerate it? Do I do it justice?
Back at the ranch, we tried to figure out if Allan can use his laptop here, with the electrical difference thing. It was not clear from the computer and we couldn't find out on line, so we called the customer service of his computer company to see if the computer is compatible with both voltages (or whatever it's called), and after a HUGE runaround where we tried to find some number on his computer that didn't seem to be there, they finally informed us that they can't tell him whether or not his computer is compatible with our electricity, unless his computer is still under warranty. It seemed that if he wanted to purchase an extended warranty they might tell him that information, but he decided against that. He plugged it in and it worked.
Thursday marked the arrival of Alissa and Morey. We sat around for hours catching up on old times and discussing all the exciting things to do together the next day, until someone suddenly realized that the next day was a fast day. So we chose to all hang around and cook and research whether or not one is allowed to taste the food they are cooking for Shabbat on a fast day.
This ran into Friday, and the arrival of Cigal, Yitz and little Yosef Yair, who was the highlight of my kids' weekend. They loved that little guy! And did I mention they brought bagels? And two massive bags of fresh popcorn? And Crembos (which we forgot about, so weve been enjoying those THIS week...). Cigal is never short on treats, which came up again when we were reminiscing about Adin's birth, and the main thing Shai remembered was the big cones of candy she brought when he was born.... The heated political debates between Ross and Yitz may have already started then, but I don't know that I can recap them. The stronger image was of Friday night with Ross washing dishes, and everyone else literally seated in rows eating popcorn and watching the debates. Is it fair to say between Shas and Meimad? Yisrael Beiteinu and Shalom Achshav?
Just before Shabbat, our final guests arrived-- Rafael and Heidi and family. It was so great to see them and spend time with them!! We showed them to our friends' apt where they would be staying. Everyone was in a mad rush of showers and cooking and dressing, and then 5 minutes before Shabbat, our friends' apt started filling up with sewage. I mean, FILLING UP and I mean, SEWAGE. Our friends were mopping it out as fast as they could as we ran around the kibbutz trying to find the only guy who could do something. Somehow we seemed to have it under control by the end of Maariv, with the instructions for them not to use the front bathroom.
The rest of Shabbat was great-- lots of food, folks, wine, and fun. EVERYONE brought wine (except Yitz and Cigal, but we've already been through what they brought-- no complaints here!) Rivital took Heidi's daughter around and our boys played with her son. At some point, some of the kids took Yosef Yair out for a walk, and didn't return for hours. They all came back happy.
By Sat nite, Adin was already sick. Everyone packed up to go home, and I stayed with Adin while Ross went to this bar mitzvah party we were supposed to go to. He said it was great. Shai said for his bar mitzvah why can't he just have a kiddush after shul. I said no problem!
Right after Shabbat I called our friends and left a message on their cell phone about their bathroom. I was under the (apparently false) impression that the guy was going to go back and fix it that night. The next morning I got a call from the mom, who told me that her whole house filled up with sewage water that morning. They never got my message. The guy never came to fix it. It turns out that it wasn't even related to them using it. The problem was that the sewage was backed up in the whole neighorhood, and they have the lowest apt. I felt awful, but they were very nice about it, and insisted there was nothing we could have done (though I wish we would have at least taped a note to their door). I did the only thing I could think of at the time, and sent over some crunchy brownies (along with their towels I washed, that our friends had used to clean up the mess Friday). Anyway, thus ends that adventure.
THe rest of the week I have already described, with the flu and all that. The only thing to fill in is that I got a call Tuesday or Wednesday (its all a big blur now) saying that they are FINALLY ready to bring our new mattresses and install the last of our furniture (a covering for Kojak the bald dishwasher and cabinets above him). I should have asked him to come another time, but we had just been waiting so long. So on the first day I was feeling a little better, I dragged myself out of bed and prepared the house (lots of stuff had to be moved out of the way, and of course I had to straightened up so I wouldn't be too embarassed in front of this stranger I'd probably never see again...). It nearly killed me (brought my fever back and all), but Kojak has a head covering (pine colored synthetic wood counter top-- beats the old in-the-middle-of-brain-surgery look he was sporting before), and we have ENOUGH CABINET SPACE (I think). I owe you all pictures, but first of all, I don't feel up to it right now, and second of all, I know only Jodi really cares. I'll try to get to it soon, Jodi.
Alright, I think I am written out. And the kids are trickling home. So I'll stop there.
All the best,