Thursday, May 31, 2007

back in J-lem

I'm back in Jerusalem for one more night before heading back up north for two more nights in Tiberius. I think this trip I'm hitting most of the Roman cities. I waas in Caesaria a few days ago, and then in Beit Shean today (formerly Skitopolous). They all look pretty similar - a theater, a cardo, baths....

It's really, really windy here and actually pretty cool at night. Up north, things were very hazy the whole time. Rumor has it that it's dust and sand from Africa. I believe it given how close we are. Either way, it makes the desert less beautiful to drive through.

Tuesday, May 29, 2007


You have never seen a car so packed to the gills as when Ronnie dropped me off at Dulles on Sunday morning. Needless to say that got a little better when I got out of the car with my two bags, but still. I specifically wanted to get to the airport early because Dulles always has horrible lines to both check in and for security. We pulled up to the airport and there weren't so many cars in front, which was already pretty strange. Even more strange - almost no one in the airport and only one person in line to check in at the Delta counter. Even the staff thought it was weird.

I then had a solid 7 hours at JFK. The thing about Terminal 4 at JFK is that if you're not at one of the few tables crowded into the food court, there's almost nowhere else to sit. Unless you want to sit on the concrete benches that they have thoughtfully put in everywhere else they can think of. And, there are virtually no outlets anywhere, so if you want to work on a laptop, it better be charged. Needless to say, mine was not. I wound up sitting on the floor outside a store and using their electricity. I figured if I was going to be sitting on concrete, it didn't really matter if it was on the floor or on a bench. I was right.

When I checked in for the flight to Israel, they gave me a seat in the aisle in the 53rd row. Neither part excited me. They told me it was a full flight, seats all already assigned and that there were no seats available further up in the plane of any kind. The man checking in next to me was upset that he didn't have an aisle. He was pretty tall so I figured he really needed one. I asked where he was sitting. As luck would have it, he had a window in the 33rd row. So we switched. When I saw him at the gate as we were waiting to board I remembered to ask if he'd ordered a special meal. I was relieved to find out that he had not.

I'm here. I've got a new phone that even has a camera, not that I need it. I lost all my old numbers, which is unfortunate, but I've got most of them written somewhere. I moved into the apartment, got caught in the worst traffic I've ever been in today, drove to Netanya and ate dinner with the students in a restaurant where they think that fish is vegetarian. That said, I have a balcony that overlooks the beach (all the rooms here do) and that's good enough for me.

Saturday, May 26, 2007

inflatable beds and Ready, Set, Cook!

Late last night we were ready to try out the new inflatable bed. So I take it out of the box, find the pump and actually look at the instructions before just assuming I know what to do, which, if you know me, you know that's already a little unusual.

The first half of the book is in Spanish, which I do not read or understand. I find the English and see that before the bed is inflated for the first time using the enclosed pump, the pump must be charged for 24 hours.

What?! Why wasn't this on the box? Ronnie thinks it is a disincentive to buy something that you purchase knowing you cannot use right away. I believe that I will never recommend this brand to anyone else because they should have told me in advance to charge the pump!

It's a good thing we had sleeping bags.

This morning, I had to figure out what to make for breakfast. I'd kept out a frying pan, a plastic bowl and a wooden spoon so that Ronnie would have the bare basics when he got to Milwaukee before our stuff. I looked in the fridge. We've been making good progress, but there's still too much there. We had egg beaters. But I'm not the biggest fan unless they can be seriously doctored up. What to doctor them with....

I found sun dried tomatoes, frozen basil in olive oil from our farm share two years ago, and some grated parmesan cheese. Not bad, and in fact pretty good. So I made the same thing for Ronnie along with many fake saugages. Remember, we had to eat in shifts because we only have one bowl....

Friday, May 25, 2007

the ticking box

Did I mention that when I went to set my alarm to wake up early this morning, that the clock radio had been packed? (see the previous post - it hadn't been nailed down) So I had to go with plan B, which was to set my cell phone alarm. It went off at 6:15am and I tried to wake up. I hit snooze, which I actually didn't know was a possibility on the cell phone. Sidenote: since I already seemed to have learned something new so early in the morning, it really seemed pointless to actually wake up. but I did anyway.

At 6:30am, I heard a beeping. From a box. Across the room. At somepoint during the packing, the alarm button on one of our travel alarm clocks must have been pushed or pulled or whatever needs to happen to be set. And since I'm pretty sure I know which one sounds like that, it's going to go off every 12 hours until the batteries die....


I got home with working brake lights to find the house in boxes. That is except for one drawer of kitchen stuff, all the paint brushes and rollers in the utility room, and all the lightbulbs in the basement.

You don't really think about the fact that with the exception of things they just forget (mentioned above), that they're really going to be packing everything that isn't nailed down. Like the backpack that I always take with me to Israel that has a padded section for a laptop and also usually the permanent storage place for my passport. Or anti-frizz spray for my hair. They live in DC, they know what the weather is like now - why on earth would they think I don't need that for the next few days?! They also left things like televisions and a cable box, but packed the remote controls. And they packed the base for one of our phones, but not the actual phone. And all of this stuff - books, dishes, pots and pans, clothes, towels, etc, not including furniture filled 119 boxes. I knew we had a lot of stuff, but criminy!

And for some reason, I was under the mis-impression that they would be leaving clothes in the dresser drawers. They do not. Nor do they leave stuff in the drawer of the nightstand. I chose correctly when I had to open a box this morning to find the caps for the air mattress components of our bed.

What they intentionally don't pack are things like liquids (cleaners, as opposed to spray conditioners, evidently!) and batteries (totally annoying that we have so many right now). They also don't pack all the opened but definitely still good things in the door of the fridge. If anyone reading needs pesto, sun-dried tomatoes, ketchup, parmesan cheese, curry paste call me as soon as possible.

The loaders are theoretically at the house now so when I get home from work, there should be very, very little left in the house other than the stuff in the refrigerator, the stuff that one of my co-workers was supposed to pick up yesterday but didn't, the stuff that I need for Israel, the stuff that Ronnie is going to stuff into our little car, and the stuff we leave for Misha that we'll just have to pick up on our next visit.

Lest you think there is no good news, I was able to watch the season finale of Lost this season. Thank gd - because it was a really, really good one. During the two hours, there were definitely times where I did not breathe for minutes at a time. Needless to say I seemed to have recovered from whatever hypoxia I suffered.

Thursday, May 24, 2007

The Packers

The door rang at 8:30am this morning. Outside there were three men. It was unclear whether they were wise. The house was a veritable hurricane zone and in little more than 6 hours, the place is in boxes.

I, of course, was conveniently out of the house all day at the mechanic's. Given that Ronnie is driving to Milwaukee on Sunday morning, I thought it best if the car didn't shake everytime it hit 50 miles and hour. And it's probably best if the brake lights work, too.

There's still a lot of stuff that's not boxed. Cords, phones, and other random things that I thought would have been stuffed into something by now. The technology part is probably the most complicated - between the cable boxes and wireless router and phones and remote controls, I have really no clue how it's all going to be put back together.

And of course, I will be conveniently out of the country for all of this, spending another month in Israel....