Saturday, January 26, 2008

What a day...

Right now it is quiet. There is no one at home, and I am sitting by the computer grateful to God for giving me a chance to catch my breathe from a crazy week. Wednesday, Thursday and Friday were particularly awful days. My son was suspended from school on Wednesday for not listening to his teachers, playing on his cellphone and not giving it to them when they asked for it, not wearing his uniform (sweatshirt with the school name on it) and generally acting as he does in my home. He can't come to school until I go with him one morning for the same ol' same ol' with his teacher. Trouble is, I have to be at work at 7:30 am most of the week this week and can't make it to his school except for Monday morning.

The whole trouble began because my son wanted me to order this expensive cable tv station which showed live games from his favorite soccer team - Betar of Jerusalem. Being that this month was a tough crunch financially, my cable tv payment bounced and I tried to explain this logically to this nearly-16-year-old. But he doesn't do logic. I should have known. Besides, everyone knows that Betar fans are a bunch of football hooligans. And he is certainly one of them right now. He warned me he was gonna create havoc in his school and that he did. In turn, he ain't gonna see any Betar on TV, not live anyways, until the end of the school season, IF he turns it around for himself.

So since things go in spirals and angry thoughts beget angry thoughts and angry thoughts turn your life upside down, this is how it was for me for the end of the week.

Hubby in Toronto is telling me everything is groovy in the Great White North, but his brother is writing me heartbreaking tales and I sense quite a bit of jealousy and feeling threatened over their mom's attention and love. Like Jacob and Esau. I tried to calm "Esau" down (even though in this story, he is the youngest, but he always was the mom's "pride and joy"), telling them all to go to family therapy. I chuckled to myself thinking what would have happened to all those Bible stories had Esau and Jacob and Sarah, Hagar and Abraham, and countless other biblical characters gone to family therapy.

Back in Israel, I took a different bus back home Wednesday evening. Going a different route, the bus went through the ultra-orthodox neighborhoods where billboards are plastered with all sorts of notices - to avoid this transgression, to avoid that transgression, a rabbi's talk, a 'kosher' advertisement, and death notices. And I see the name of my sister's husband's mother on one of the death notices. No one in my family calls me about it, of course. At nearly 52 years old, I'm the baby in the family and perhaps no one wanted to upset the baby. But I called my sister the next day, told her how I found out and blamed her "over-65-year-old" status for her forgetfulness. And I forgave her and went to pay a shiva (condolence) call at the family's Jerusalem home on Thursday.

Afterwards I thought I'd get some shopping done. I pile my cart high with food for the week, go through checkout, try to write a post-dated check, as Hubby is late in sending me some $$ and the check doesn't go through. My credit cards are not equipped with enough credit to handle $125 worth of groceries and I leave the Russian cashier to deal with cancelling my order and unravelling the groceries. She is not happy.

I'm waiting at the bus stop and some idiot is trying to small-talk me (they appear out of nowhere when you're in the rottenest of moods, don't they?). My daughter calls to tell me her hubby is in the mall. I tell her what happened, and she comes to the rescue with their charge card. I, in turn, go back to the supermarket and rescue my groceries which are still sitting prettily in the cart. No one touched them.

A bit ashamed at having my daughter having to pay for my goods, I go home and continue to ignore my son, who is walking around me in circles, venting about how none of this would have happened had I gotten him the cable tv station he wanted. I pretend that there is this giant, hairy orangutan in my house and I'm just gonna pretend he's not there.

Friday, my unemployed daughter loans me 100 NIS ($25) for more food for Shabbat. Everyone and their boyfriends/husband will be by me for Friday night dinner - which is alot of people - and I'm pressed for time.

I really wanted to go on the "silent walk" in Jerusalem on Friday, put on by the Middle Way who were hosting Jack Kornfield, a famous American Buddhist, and for which I tried to get permits for a few of my Palestinian friends to be able to go on this walk. But I got out of bed at 9:00 am and my head was heavy. I didn't leave the house until the "heaviness" subsided around 11:00 am. I did my shopping, and should have known it was gonna continue to be a bad day when the local bookstore ran out of the Herald Tribute at 11:15 am.

I go into the health food store with my packages, check out the organic foodstuffs which I'm not buying this week and noticed that my bags are gone. But some other woman who went to the same stores as I did left her stuff in the store. I peeked into her bags and decided my stuff is far more interesting. But I worried, because this stuff was bought on borrowed money and credit card payments (which went through because of the smaller amount of money this time). Not only did I worry, but I burst into loud tears in the store and the young girl at the cashier set about calling the store owners trying to find out the identity of the woman who walked out with my bags. The neighboring store owner came in to get a bill changed, and saw me sobbing. He looked at me. "Why are you crying?" I told him, but he still was totally uncomfortable with seeing me in this state. I just had thoughts of the woman throwing her stuff (really my stuff) into her car and driving three hours to the North of the country and I'd be stuck without my things... Finally, thank God for credit cards sometimes, the cashier called the number on the slip and got the hubby who told her that his wife had gone to Jerusalem but would deliver the food to my home.

I walked out of the health food store and called my daughter.

"I can't talk now I'm in Terem" which is the emergency medical clinic where we live, about a 5 minute walk (at fast pace) from the health food store. I hurry there and my grandson is on an inhaler, and my daughter is crying.

"What happened?" I asked.

"Nothing" she said. But she calmed down enough to tell me that the baby had a very bad cough and the doctor here said if he's not on an inhaler, he could come down with pneumonia. And that scared the shit out of her.

The baby was squirming and crying with that thing on his face and stopped for a moment to smile at grandma.

I looked at her and told her to get him off the dairy formula and put him on soy formula.

"That will relieve his congestion." I felt like a wise owl grandma giving sound advice.

Yes folks. I'm back in control.

I get home, open the door for the upset lady who took my bags, and began cooking. The house is upside down, but I don't care - at least not until 5:30 pm, when I enlisted some of my kids to help me before dinner. And it all came together.

Hubby skyped me at 10:15 pm. I had fallen asleep on the couch but woke up to hear him talking to my son. I walk into the room and tell him of my awful week. By the time I got to the tale of the woman who took my bags, he's like..

"Why the fuck are you telling me all this??"

And I say to him - "You know what? If you're not going to be sympathetic, I'm gonna say goodbye now." And with that, I walked out of the room, knowing he can't follow me around the house because he's in Canada.

And maybe, just maybe, my son will become a fan of some calmer sport - like baseball.

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