Monday, June 30, 2008

Don't judge me, it could be you...

This past shabbat we had done something unthinkable and perverse. This is so embarrassing that I didn't even tell my BFF - the woman is pregnant, she doesn't need any additional stress in her life. But I need to share because the guilt is crushing me. And please, please, please don't tell anyone, ok?

Ready? This shabbat in the privacy of our own home we ate - ok, here it goes - potato kugel. Ok, that's not all. We also had cole slaw. Wait, it gets worse. My fingers refuse to type this, but I must persevere because admitting this is the first step to recovery. We, we, we, we ate ....gefilte fish prepared according to the instructions on the package. Yes, yes the frozen sweet culinary monstrosity that was boiled with a lonely carrot to appease our aesthetic sense and health consciousness. There, I already feel better, as if a stone has been lifted off my chest.

First I must say that I do not condemn any one of those dishes (well, except for the sweet gefilte fish) and occasionally - about twice a year - we indulge in home made potato kugel and about every other month in cole slaw. And gefilte fish (no sugar only!) has been cooked according to instructions only once - during my strange pregnancy cravings - and consumed in quiet shame under the covers away from SubHub's watchful eye. Otherwise, it is cooked in tomato sauce with lots of spices and barely resembles its Ashkenazi cousin, and again it is done every other year or so. So no, neither of these dishes are complete strangers to our house; it's just that the combination of all three has never been introduced to our shabbat table. And now it's been defiled...

How did we end up with those goodies? I was making them for someone else's consumption, but the food exchange through no fault of ours has not happened on Friday. I was unsure if I could freeze cooked gefilte fish, but I have heard that potato kugel freezes pretty well. But I was too late: SubHub looked kugel in the eye and was lost to all humanity possessing healthy taste buds. The allure of the oily potato mush was too strong for him to fight off and half of the kugel was devoured before the commencement of shabbat. Slowly but surely the same fate had followed the other dishes.

You truly are what you eat, and I can attest to that. We started feeling the effects of these foods almost immediately. When talking to my Sephardi neighbor, I was unable to call Shabbat "shabbat" and kept on saying "Shabbes", Torah became "Toirah"; ditto for all the other lingo. Five years of living with an Israeli have been undone in two sittings - Friday dinner and Shabbat lunch. Maybe subconsciously I knew I have become impure and wasn't worthy of using proper Hebrew? But kids took the worst brunt of it. DD mentioned that she wanted to go to the zoo. When we asked her why, she said that she wanted to see a big fish, a small fish and a swimming gefilte fish. Oy vey! SubHub told DD that gefilte fish only swim in boiling water... As a matter of fact, if DD wanted, Mommy could show her next Thursday gefilte fish in its natural habitat - a pot with a lonely carrot. Sigh.. Why is it always the hardest on the kids, why???

How long will it take to undo the damage? Only G-d Almighty knows... But I must remain optimistic, if not for myself, then for the kids, and earnestly hope that next Friday food exchange will not be foiled . I should also remember at all times about people less fortunate than us and remind myself that the situation could have been worse: I could've also made chulent...

Disclaimer: please note that the author was talking about the frozen log type gefilte fish, and under no circumstances was describing the real gefilte fish, which if done right is absolutely delicious!

Sunday, June 29, 2008

To Daniella, with love

This post is dedicated to Daniella, my dry cleaner from the neighborhood I lived in before I got married.

When I bring clothes to be mended, I expect to pick them up in a better or at least similar shape, in which they were dropped off. Last week I brought SubHub's pair of suit pants to our local dry cleaner (who as of 6 p.m. Friday dropped "our" from his title and became simply a "local dry cleaner") because the hem on one of the pant legs was partly undone. The pants just came from the dry cleaners, freshly cleaned and pressed.

I came to pick them up on Friday and was handed a bag. Since I was in a rush, I just took the bag, thanked the dry cleaner and went home. When I came home and took out the pants, I was a bit speechless, and that doesn't happen often to me, just ask SubHub. The hemming was done just fine, but pants themselves looked as if they had been chewed by a giant animal and subsequently spit out in the bag.

Thankfully, the local dry cleaner (notice the absense of "our") is less than a block away, so I took the pants back to him. First he thought that I wanted them pressed and was very sad to inform me that it would be impossible to get done the same day. When he realized that I had no intention of paying for pressing the pants (which costs more than hemming, by the way) and wanted it on the house, he all of a sudden developed an acute case of not understanding English and dimwittedness, repeating over and over that I didn't pay for pressing pants. I kept on pressing (no pun intended) my point: yes, I only paid to hemming, I did not pay for wrinkling the pants. When he could no longer keep up with his charade of pretended to be dumb or simply got too exhausted by it (just ask Paris Hilton, being dumb is soooo tiring), the dry cleaner miraculously regained his knowledge of English and stated that his business did not guarantee that clothes coming in for mending would be returned in the original shape. So basically I should be happy he didn't set the pants on fire the minute his wife finished hemming them. I said that I have heard enough, asked him one last time if he would make me whole, and left the premises after receiving negative asnwer. On the other hand, I am kind of happy that the dry cleaner refused to press the pants. I wouldn't want to entrust my or my husband's clothes with someone who treats them so poorly, especially if he is mad at me.

This accident made me miss my old dry cleaner, Daniella, whose business my family and I patronized before I married and my parents moved. She was fast, efficient, extremely organized, very good seamstress AND she always pressed clothes after mending them, FOR FREE AND WITHOUT PRIOR REQUEST. It was a standard operating procedure for her. Ehh, good times...

Friday, June 27, 2008

Political frenemies

He: You are the best!
She: No, you are the best!
He: No, you are the greatest!
She: You are!
He: No, you are!
She: No, you are!
He: Okay, I am.

Is anyone else nauseated?

Wednesday, June 25, 2008

I want to paint the world in yogurt - Part 2

Kids have been asking for yogurt Monday morning, and shopping won't be done until Tuesday night. hehe...

Gotta love natural consequences...

Sunday, June 22, 2008

I want to paint the world in...(stay tuned for the answer)

Have you noticed how food prices had gone up? Take, for example, yogurt. A cup that used to cost $.59 and could've been easily bought on sale at 2 for $1 only two years ago, went up to $.79 a year ago, now costs $1.09 and never goes on sale! Crazy! And my kids love yogurt, so I feel I should buy it regardless of price... Sigh...

Also, did you notice how hard it is to find a fitting punishment for kids? Many times taking away privileges from kids feels like punishment for their parents. Also, I think it would be hard for a kid to connect not getting to see his favorite cartoon or ice cream and his bad behavior a day before, making the learning from his punishment nearly worthless.

Well, today I was still sleeping when SubHub left for synagogue. I guess kids got up with him. I wasn't sure what time it was when my little boy came over to my bed and proudly announced that he was naked. Oh great, I thought. Now I have to get up and put on a diaper. Another minute, I thought, and offered him to come under my blanket. He started climbing into my bed, and I offered to help him . My hand touched his naked buttocks and slipped on something creamy. My state of haze and dreaminess was gone in a second.

"What is it?" I shrieked asked. Feeling that he was getting in trouble, DS started running away and ran into the kids' room. There I saw their mess art in its full glory. The entire CARPETED floor was covered in that same white substance that I discovered on DS's butt. In sunlight I saw that the substance was on his back, hands as well as in his hair. Then I saw open cups of yogurt scattered on the floor. Preliminary count was 6. Great, six cups of yogurt down the drain! AND have to somehow scraped off the carpet on Sabbath.

I am proud to say I almost didn't yell. At the beginning. I decided to do something more evil. Firstly, I had to wash DS's butt and hair in cool water since hot wasn't available. He didn't mind much since it is now summer and the water is never really cold. Afterwards, I told DD that I would not clean up the mess. I would let daddy take care of it. You should've looked at that kid! (I dare anyone say that those little ones don't understand that they have done something wrong!) She got hysterical. She DEMANDED that I started cleaning their room, RIGHT AWAY! And then she cried and cried all the while repeating I WANT YOU TO CLEAN MY ROOM. I decided to go in again to reassess the damage. Dirty carpet. Dirty pajamas, both his and hers. DD's bedding was partially covered in yogurt as well. A doll's dress lying in the pool of yogurt had to be thrown out. Basically, everything in the room was somehow touched by the sweet sticky substance and smelled of artificial vanilla. And then I saw something that made me lose my cool... I saw my new black dressy bought-only-two-days-ago-and-never-worn-yet shoes in their room, defiled by yogurt as if they were some old pair of stinky slippers...

For those who don't know this little fact about me - I am picky about shoes. I don't like flats and can't wear very high heel. I also don't wear open-toe shoes and am very particular about their shape. Long story short, I am not picky about many things, but my shoes have to be almost perfect just to consider looking at them in the store. Well, it only took me two months of intense searching to finally find nice enough summer shoes to wear to the wedding on Wednesday. Now these shoes were lying in the middle of mess covered in something sweet and sticky. I am not above admitting that I carried the shoes around the house while cuddling them cried. I am still not sure if I will be able to get the yogurt out since the shoes are not made out of leather, and those were the last pair in my size. When I finally calmed down, I decided it wasn't fair for SubHub to walk into this mess, so I cleaned up as much as I could. In the process I discovered that not six, but nine cups of yogurt were destroyed. (I also found a package of smoked fish later in the day in their room, which had started going bad lying in a warm room all day long. I am only happy that I found it that day, and not two days later.) The kids had to be punished. They were not to get any Sabbath treats that day, and they wouldn't get any toys for one month due to the damage they caused. I only found out how good my punishment was when SubHub came home, and it turned out that he promised to buy DD some toy on Sunday.

I am not above admitting that I went (deep down inside and quietly): GOTCHA!

And the answer to the title line is of course... YOGURT. The only thing left to find out is what the heck they were doing with all that yogurt and why. I am really curious. But so far neither I nor SubHub were able to get an answer. I know that the truth is out there, but I resolved myself to the possibility that we might never find it...

Thursday, June 19, 2008

SubReviews: BabiesRUs - Union Square

So I have decided to introduce a new series on my blog: SubReviews. A few weeks ago Sally Hazel made a suggestion that I/we should write a review on double strollers. Funnily enough, by then I was already toying with that same idea. However, I wanted to review toilet paper first. But I took Sally's suggestion to heart and decided to start with something less intimate. Alas, I am being perfectionist about it, and that stroller review has been in my drafts half-written for quite some time.

So brief intro. What qualifies me to write reviews?
1. I am a consumer.
2. I am not picky or fussy, but have reasonably high expectations of services and products.
3. I worked in service industry.
4. I am a maniac, when it comes to spending my money, that is. I like getting my money's worth. I do oodles of research before purchasing thing. And I always feel a bit disappointed: once the decision is made, all that accumulated info is lost and no one else gets to benefit from it.

So here I am, sharing my opinions and reviews about things I buy and places where I buy them.

And now the main feature:

A friend of mine recently had a baby, so I needed to buy something for the bris that will take place tomorrow. One rarely has more than a two or three day notice to shop for a bris gift. Since the recipient is a friend, I felt that giving money was slightly impersonal. Plus, I remembered having my first baby and liking gifts at that time as much as cash and gift cards, if not more. And to top it all of, I really LOVE shopping in baby stores. So I had a dilemma: 1) what to buy and 2) from where.

The choices that I had in Manhattan were very limited: BuyBuyBaby (BBB), ToysRUs (TRU) and BabiesRUs (BRU). (There probably are smaller stores somewhere nearby, but I am not aware of their whereabouts.) I love BBB, but that option was quickly eliminated. I am a strong believer in gift receipts, and they are not. Also, they have very few branches, compared w/RUs network. After some consideration, I eliminated TRU too. I was unable to get in touch w/customer service to find out how extensive their baby section is. So based on my experiences with other branches, I headed to the safe waters of BRU, or so I thought.

BRU at Union Square is a three-floor store. I had an idea of what I wanted to buy - a couple of toys - so seeing toys on the first floor made me smile: it seemed that shopping would be quick. I was wrong. The toys I was looking for weren't among the ones on the first floor. They ended up being on the third floor. This actually gave me an opportunity to look over the entire store. I was not impressed to say the least. Given the amount of space, one would expect great variety, and one would be wrong. One toy I came to buy was not in their inventory. As a matter of fact, their entire toy department was unimpressive.

I decided to abandon my initial plan and buy a bouncer seat. And I was disappointed again: there were only 6 varieties available, three absolutely hideous, 1 dysfunctional, 1 ridiculously expensive, leaving only one viable yet still not impressive option. That idea had to be abandoned as well.

I headed to the clothes dept, and again variety was greatly lacking. I couldn't find anything cute enough for a gift. And again, I am not THAT picky. Finally I went back to toys on the third floor and got one, then picked out bassinet sheets on the second floor and found another toy on the first.

A trip that should have taken ten minutes (because I knew what I wanted before coming into the store!) turned into a full hour ordeal of running between different floors and trying to decide what goes with what. While standing in line, here are conclusions I have made:

1. I still love BRU, but I will probably not come back to the Union Square brunch ever. The one in Gateway Mall is SOOOO much better.
2. Even though they have tons of space, unless you are looking for bedding, car seat or a single stroller, variety is greatly lacking across all other departments.
3. Having three floors is annoying, especially that things are not very logically organized (i.e. toys are located on all three floors).
4. Calling ahead to check on availability would be hard, as the phone seems to always be either busy or unattended.
5. I should listen to SubHub more often. SubHub thought that we should just give a check instead of looking for a gift.
6. It's a fine line between being persistent and stubborn. I should've cut my losses once I realized that the toy I was interested in the most was not in stock and bought a gift card. Yet I persisted in finding a gift...
7. Overall experience (shopping coupled with admitting that DH was right): frustrating.

Tuesday, June 17, 2008

Lighten down

This past Friday we had a company picnic, and our family members were welcome to come. SubHub was busy that day, so I decided to take DD with me. I was toying with the idea of taking both kids, but that seemed a bit too much. DD behaved reasonably well in the office, and when we finally made it to Central Park, she had a blast. I barely spent any time with her - she was so happy to be in the open space with other kids. Seeing her happily running around made me think that maybe leaving the city is not such a crazy idea after all.

We all had a good time at the picnic. The food was great, the weather was gorgeous, and the planning committee actually came up with some fun games for adults as well as kids. It was really nice to be outside in the park during warm time after a long winter. Everything was fine until some jerk decided to light up, again and again. Please explain this to me: how hard is it to step just slightly aside with your cigarette instead of standing right next to the food table, with kids running around? (Or if you are standing outside of BabiesRUs, where most customers are either pregnant or with little kids, how hard is it to move away from the entrance to avoid blowing smoke in people's faces?) How about some consideration for others? Why is it that smokers understand perfectly well that passing gas and emitting various BOs in public is unacceptable, but will not extend the same logic to smoking? Honestly, I am just as much interested in smelling cigarette smoke as I am in sweaty armpits. Both are gross! And guess what? Many of you, smokers, continue to smell pretty badly long after your smoke break! I have a co-worker who reeks of cigarette smoke so badly that I try to avoid talking to him as much as possible. The smell is simply suffocating. I have heard other people in the office making comments about it, so I am not the only one. But I will bet you this guy is oblivious to this because your own poop doesn't smell to you.

And then there's the issue of health. I am perfectly aware that there are as many studies proving that second-hand smoke causes cancer as there are disproving this. So right now let's say the odds of either opinion being right are about 50/50. When the chance of something being bad for me is just as high as the chance of the substance being benign, it's only prudent to rule on the side of caution. You want to take liberties or chances with your own health - go ahead, but respect my decisions about my and my children's health.

So please, next time you are at a picnic and feel like lighting up, remember that people came there at least in part to enjoy fresh air and step aside from children's playground and food area. Better yet, put a plastic bag over your head so that you get those precious fumes all to yourself.

Sunday, June 15, 2008

Tissue Massacre

Have you ever woken up and thought/hoped/prayed that you were still dreaming? Today I had just such an experience when I woke up in the middle of the horror movie.

For some inexplicable reason no matter what time we put the kids to bed, one of them wakes up no later than 7.30 and immediately wakes me up. Currently that kid is DS, before it was DD. Now DD likes to sleep in a bit, especially if she went to bed at eleven a bit late. As soon as I saw the ray of hope, DS developed this annoying habit of waking up early.

So today DS woke up around 7.30 and started bothering me with his usual, "Mommy, I want to drink. Mommy I want my car. Mommy I want cereal." I stalled him until 8 and then dragged myself out of bed. Before you call me heartless, here's what I would like to share with you. The little genius figured out my Jewish mother's soft spot, and now every time he wants me to get up he says that he wants cereal. There were countless times I thought that this kid was starving and got up to feed him only to find out he didn't want to eat, but just required my company. Today he actually devoured almost an entire 6oz package of Swiss and made me feel guilty for not feeding him earlier. Sigh, can't win...

I got back to bed leaving him with something to drink and Lego. Ten minutes later he was at my bed asking for cereal again. Ugh... I wished he would wake up DD and she would play with him. But she was still sleeping, and I am not heartless enough to deprive my child of her sleep so that I could catch up on my zzz's. Keeping a kid hungry? Yes. Refusing to spend time with them? Yes, but not depriving them of their sleep. I don't remember what happened between then and 9 am, I think DS climbed into bed with me and nursed. Actually I am pretty sure of it. The only reason I got out of bed was because 45 minutes of nursing a 2 year old got a bit (snort) uncomfortable and hardly worth what I got back for it: semi-awake semi-sleeping state that makes me even more tired and grumpy than no sleep at all.

DD was already up and was playing with Lego. This time DS actually wanted cereal, so I gave the kids cereal and went back to bed for half hour only. Next thing I knew kids were jumping on SubHub's bed and messing with blinds on the window. Ugh! Would I ever get ANY sleep in this house (the fact that I am blogging at 1.40 am should not be used against me...). I looked at the clock and realized that it was actually 10.15, and somewhere in the back of my mind I had a feeling that Hub would be home early, how early I didn't remember. I jumped out of bed and immediately got the explanation of why I was left alone for one full hour. That's when I wished that what I saw were a mere nightmare. Soon I came to the realization that it wasn't: a) it was day time and b) I was actually awake.

If it weren't shabbat, I would have taken pictures for the blog. Our bedroom floor was almost entirely covered in Kleenex tissues. The empty box, only few short hours ago 3/4 full, lay on the floor. What horrors did it witness? Only God knows. If that was the worst, I could handle it, but deep inside I knew it wasn't all. As I was reciting the mantra "at least I got some sleep, at least I got some sleep" I walked into a pile, no a mountain of clothes in the hallway. I don't know how many drawers have been empties to make this mount Everdress, but everything was there: my clothes, kids summer clothes, kids winter clothes, their baby clothes, their socks and underwear and a few towels of top. AND some tissues. In the kids' bedroom, there was a little chair next to the dresser and its open drawers (Ohhh, so cute, he is so smart!...and looking at the pile...and SO EVIL!) More socks and underwear mixed with tissues were spread on the floor. I forgot all about the mantra and was screaming, "What had happened here?" Kids got very scared and reacted by jumping into the pile of clothes and rolling in it like pigs in dirt all the while violently giggling.

I went into the kitchen and saw cereal and milk spilled all over the kitchen floor, one of the chairs and the table. And more tissues. Ugh... What's with the tissues? And then I went into the living room and saw the usual suspects there: Lego and books all over the floor. And then I saw something that made me really lose it, and by far it wasn't the worst offender on the list. "WHY ARE THERE TISSUES ON THE FLOOR OF THE LIVING ROOM?! AND EVERY ROOM OF THE HOUSE? WHY? WHY? WHY???!!!!!!!!!"

Normally I would just have a cup of coffee to calm me down, but somewhere the self-preservation and the desire to protect my young instincts kicked in and I actually started cleaning first. Because if SubHub saw this, he probably would've lost it too. After half of the clothes pile, which couldn't even be sorted properly on Shabbat, was put away, I calmed down a bit, i.e. was only plainly yelling and not raging like a lunatic that I am . When I asked who had done which damage, DD pointed a finger at her brother, and DS, who had recently learned the same trick, did the same. ( Only this time he actually pronounced her name correctly! For the first time! I only wish it would've been a better set of circumstances.) With both of them blaming each other and me not actually being there, all three scenarios (only DS, only DD, or both messed up the house) seemed plausible, so I had no one I could punish with clear conscience. (I know, I know, punishment should be for the benefit of the kids, to teach them something, yada, yada, yada. All the perfectionists living in the perfect world can go back to their unicorns now...) So I poured all my anger into cleaning up.

As soon as I was done, and it was not soon, I made myself coffee. But before I had a chance to drink it, SubHub was home. He actually expressed his excitement about the house being particularly orderly... Ugh... Wait till you need to wipe your nose, mister. Then I will have a story to tell you... And I grounded myself until the end of the century. I am just too embarrassed to face the neighbors. Hope our loud air conditioner muffled at least some of my screaming...

Wednesday, June 11, 2008

It's miracle, I know

Before I begin the story, let me start with this: I like numbers, and usually they like me. I am doing accounting for living, so I am quite comfortable with them. I like mathematical tricks, I like all the funky stuff involving numbers, and I would go as far as to say that I am fascinated by them. I always liked arithmetic and did pretty well in math classes until we started learning geometry, but that is less about numbers and more about spacial perceptions. That being said, I also have moments in my life when adding 2+2, I somehow get 6 (no, we are not talking about creative bookkeeping here) and wonder why everyone else looks at me as if I have two heads. I rarely err in complex calculations, somehow the software brain malfunctions performing easy math. Yes, it is a long preface, but you'll know soon why it was necessary.

Last week I tried to make an appointment to a dermatologist. I needed one fast, but no doctor in a ten mile radius from my office would take me in before the end of NEXT month. I cannot comprehend why it is so hard to find an appointment to that particular specialty. After all, dermatologists are not dentists, so their suicide rates are not that high. Are Americans a particularly acne-prone nation? Long story short, I found one office in Brooklyn that agreed to take me in, a new patient, next day. Now I was bothered by another thought: why was this doc so easy?

As I was on my way to his office, which was a few blocks from the subway station, I looked at the house numbers. I was delighted to see that I was on the right side of the street, with odd house numbers. "Wow," I thought, "that would be a first one for me. I am ALWAYS on the wrong side of the street!" Merrily I strolled along completely, absolutely, positively, beyond any doubt sure that I needed an odd-numbered side. As I came to the block were the house was supposed to be, I found 2095 and then 2105. There was no 2100 in sight. What did they do with the building? Was the receptionist wrong? I was totally baffled. And then I saw 2100 across the street, and for a split second - I will admit that much - I couldn't understand why they would put an odd-numbered house on the even-numbered side of the street. I even thought it had something to do with it being close to the street corner. I guess it wasn't a split second after all...

And then a light bulb went on in my head: 2100 is an even number!!! (I will allow one loud DUH here...) I was on the wrong side of the street! Even though I was the only one who knew of my idiotic error, I was overcome with embarrassment (which turned into hard to control giggling marathon.) Having a 2-minute psychotic moment involving bad math is forgivable. Forgetting Murphy's Law, on the other hand, is not. One shall never forget that when looking for any house for the first time, one is always on the wrong side of the street. Always. Anything else would be contrary to the laws of physics and would lead to anarchy, and we cannot let this happen.

P.S. This episode reminded me of a great parody from an old KVN. It really has little in common with my story, except for one line. But in either case, it is funny and worth watching, especially if you ever saw the original Serov song. My apologies to those not speaking Russian...

P.P.S. Why was this doctor so easy? Could having a specialty in venereal diseases have anything to do with it? (pun somewhat intended...)

P.P.P.S. I do NOT have a VD. Just in case anyone wondered.

P.P.P.P.S. It just occurred to me that the receptionist in the office might have attributed my violent giggling to late stages of syphilis. Oh well, at least I was laughing...

Okay, I found the original, though I couldn't find the one where he sang a verse in English. Even for native speakers, some lyrics, though beautiful is way too complicated to understand in a format of a song. I think it is worthwhile to note for those who left Russia young, this song was a huge hit.

And here's one of the best KBH parodies of all time:

I love having complete lyrics, especially for parodies, so here it is, courtesy of

Дом обезлюдел, и я молюсь неистово,
Знаю, что любишь ты меня, неказистого.
Чай пью тревожно, медленно чебуреки ем,
А душу гложет Моцарта чудный „Реквием“.
Ты меня любишь, я тебя тоже люблю.
Ого. Пусть нескладно, зато по смыслу.
Я — страшно умный, есть во мне божья искра.
„О“ — это буква, ноль — это цифра.
Выйду на поле в мятых трусах коричневых,
Знаю в футболе пару финтов гарринчевых,
На деревяшке выжгу тебя паяльников,
Скину рубашку, спрячусь под пододеяльником.
Ты меня хочешь,
Стало быть, перехочешь,
О-о! Так случилось —
Все меня хочут.
Бродишь не глядя ты по аллее буковой,
Спрячусь в засаде, с ловкостью Чингачкуковой.
Выскочу голый — „Здравствуй, моя отрада!“
Ого. Очень больно. Больше не надо.

I love you, baby.
I just believe in what you say.
Yes. It is table. And it was table yesterday.
I love you, baby. Baby, you love my „имидж“.
O-o. I am crazy. I can speak English.
O-o. I am crazy. I can speak English…»

This is not how it was supposed to happen...

It was back to work after a four day weekend for us, observant Jews. I can't say that I missed work, but I wasn't dreading it either. As I was waiting for the train, all of a sudden I saw a familiar face, someone I haven't seen in a while. After his obligatory, "How's everything, how are the kids? You still got two?", and my obligatory, "Thank God, everything is fine, yes we still got two, and you guys?" an uncomfortable silence followed. The guy said, "You might not know, but we (another uncomfortable silence) split." I probably looked shocked because he added, "It's okay. It was a while ago, about two years now." And then went on about how he still has a relationship with his daughter, that he sees her during the week and every Shabbat. How he is looking to get remarried, and that he already started going out. The guy who was always very cheerful and with a smile on his face, seemed beat and a bit depressed. Our conversation was interrupted by the oncoming train. My friend offered to go to the first car with him, but I declined. I just could not bear having this conversation any longer.

The first time I found out that someone close to me was having marital difficulties and subsequently got a divorce, I cried for a good half hour the minute I hung up the phone. I couldn't calm down for about a week. This time I think I coped a bit better; not being in the privacy of my own home helped avoiding tears that still welled up in my eyes. I still remember the couple's wedding: how happy they seemed, how hard my friends and I went out of our way to show up at least for half an hour because it happened on the same night as our classmate's. No, these two weren't a couple that seemed rock solid simply because I didn't know them very well, but they both seemed to be very nice people and really fond of each other. And yes, they seemed a bit mismatched, but isn't every couple to some degree a bit mismatched?

For whatever reason, I take these news hard. The minute I got to work, I called my sil. I just had to talk to someone. Though in many respects she is a more sensitive person than I am, sil was taken aback by my reaction. After all, the agony is gone. They have been apart for two years. The fact that I just found out doesn't make it harder for them. So why am I so upset?

It's hard to explain. For one, it isn't supposed to happen. Happily ever after is rarely blissfully and problem free happy, but it still is ever after, right? At least it's supposed to be. Once you go through the chupah, you shouldn't be looking for someone else five years down the road. And divorces shouldn't happen to nice people. And little girls (and boys) aren't meant to see their fathers only on week ends. Not in my world. Not in my universe. (I almost want to say "Not on my watch", but think it might sound stupid. At this point I am already crying because I am in the privacy of my own home...)

The saddest scene I have ever had to witness happened about five years ago, when I was getting my nails done for my date with SubHub, at this point only a potential Hub. I was completely and utterly bored and looked out the window. I saw a man and a girl. The girl wanted to get a ride on one of those mechanical ponies that some owners put outside of their stores. The man put a girl on the pony, put a quarter in and turned my way. I realized that I knew him; he was recently divorced. It hit me that it must be his week end date with his daughter. While the girl was completely consumed by the pony ride, the father seemed to be unable to get enough of her: he would constantly touch her hair, pat her hand, fix her dress and hug her. The man couldn't look at anything else around him except his little girl. I had to turn away, it was too painful to watch. I have never been able to tell this story without getting choked up. I can't even put it on my blog without doing so.

No, divorces are not supposed to happen. Yet they do... I do realize that there are times when divorce is the best option for everyone involved, children included. I realize this with my head, but my heart refuses to accept that and stubborn tears do not want to dry up...

Friday, June 6, 2008

Another thing I hate about you...

I don't know how I could have forgot this one!!!!

#13. (in reality should be much higher on the list) - People who still haven't discovered the invention of deodorant!!!! Especially the ones that take a subway! Especially on 34th or 42nd street! And if on top of it they wear flip flops....

Wednesday, June 4, 2008

12 things I hate about you

I am the first one to admit that I dislike summer. I didn't dislike summer before I came to New York, but here the minute winter is over, the temperatures get into high 80s within days, making spring virtually non existent. So here are some of the reasons why I dislike NY summer:

12. It is harder to hide extra weight in light summer clothes. Also, finding modest summer clothing that doesn't suffocate the wearer. requires all the skills of Sherlock Holmes, Hercule Poirot and Miss Marple combined.

11. Flip flops, everywhere. I don't know why, but they are annoying.

10. Allergies

9. Heat

8. Bill for electricity, double the usual amount due to constantly running air conditioners. For some reason I don't mind the extra expense of ice cream consumption. I wonder why...

7. The music from the ice cream truck!!!

6. Inevitable arguments in the middle of the night, "I want to raise the temperature, I am cold", "But I am hot as is!" "But I am REALLY cold and can't sleep" "Well, get a blanket" "I already have a blanket!" "Then take the winter blanket!!" "Don't you think the temperature is too low if I have to use WINTER blanket in the middle of the SUMMER?!!!. There is a reason why they call it a WINTER BLANKET!!!!!" Not really conducive to the marital harmony. Makes cold winters look really romantic, when one's natural inclination is to cozy up to the significant other...

5. Cooking in the hot kitchen.

4. Having to figure out ways to warm up the food on Shabbat without melting itsconnoisseurs.

3. Ants. Everywhere. Literally. Having to check EVERYTHING in the kitchen for the presence of their little bodies. Even salt. Ewww. Also reminds me of the ant story in Hundred Years of Solitude, bringing back unusually strong desire to strangle the author and hug my children all at once.

2. Mosquitoes, bees, beetles and all other insects that are unusually active during summers.

1. Taking subway. If anyone had ever taken a subway on 34th or particularly 42nd St in Manhattan in the middle of the scorching heat wave, they would know what I am talking about: temperatures that is 10-15 degrees higher than on the surface, terrible smells of subway, hardly pleasant in the chilly weather, intensified tenfold during the summer, gasping for every breath; need I go on? Those who believe in the flames of hell should try it - a very good deterrent against sinning...

Sunday, June 1, 2008

No thank you, that's too much sodium for my taste...

I have made a decision recently to start bringing my own lunch (probably seventh decision of this sort since the beginning of the year). First of all, my own lunch would be healthier; secondly, it would save me time to do other things during lunchtime; and lastly, it should save me money. So it is easier said than done, but for a few days last week I actually managed to bring something edible to work.

Last Wednesday I was rushing in the morning, and could not find my usual lunch container. I grabbed the first thing that I found in the drawer and left with it. When the time came to warm it up, I proceeded to double wrap my container and put it in the microwave. A few seconds later my co-worker came for the same reason I was in the lunchroom. He watched me taking out my bundle of food out of the microwave, and I saw his eyebrows go up as he saw multiple wrappings, but he kept to himself. Then after I unwrapped my food, he could no longer contain himself.

"Pickles? Sour pickles? You are warming up sour pickles????"

Of course not, I was just using the plastic container, but decided not to reveal the true contents of my lunch. And then I asked him if there were any packages of ketchup left over from the lunch served during some morning meeting the day before. And again, "Ketchup??? With sour pickles???" After my co-worker regained his composure, he said, "I believe those go better with soy sauce. Would you like some?"

My turn to raise eyebrows. I didn't realize he had a sense of humor.