Gray Areas of the Law

The past two weeks have been all about getting Ima back on her feet so that she can take care of all of us. As you know your leaving the house was hard on everyone. You consolidated your assets into suitcases and shuffled them off. Ima tried to consolidate whatever was left of you by sneaking past security with you which almost worked. Osmo seems to have come to terms with what was left of the family by accepting the fact that Tintin has basic rights to life not necessarily including happiness, but life all the same. After all two less heads at our table would be a little too much regardless of how annoying a head might be. Tal tried to make Fuff disappear at least for a few hours but Fuff has grown accustomed to our house and always comes back. All in all there have quite a few events that came out of nowhere and let to nothing. I would like to make heads and tails of what’s been going on now that things are back to normal.

On the face of it things were sad but normal after you left. In reality there was quite a lot of sublime yet destructive emotional baggage to deal with. The obvious could not be changed: you were away and that could not be helped. So dealing with the piece of reality was simple: you cry about it until you get used to it. It helped to know that you had most of your things with you, and they would surely last you for the first two or three months plenty of time to get another supply ship over. So the pressure was not coming from there. However the fact that you did not pack a computer was quickly becoming a black hole of guilt that threatened to drag the entire family into its pits of sorrow and despair. Most of us firmly believed that there would be more than a fair chance that you would have access a computer in Israel. Not Ima. Ima could not seem to touch a keyboard without feeling guilty. In fact the guilt was so bad that if she did manage to get some works done on a computer, she would find a way to accidentally erase it or lose it. Things got to the verge of self destruction. Had this been confined to working on computers for the sake of updating Hanchu with the changes to our family’s demography it would have mattered little. However it just so happened that one of those rare occasions where an employment prospect rested on a certain syllabus being provided in electronic form to the Hebrew Day School. Not getting a job is not the end of the world, but not working when all that is on your mind is the fact that you let your daughter be washed ashore on the west coast of Asia with nothing but three hundred items of clothing, cash in the bank, cleansing utilities that would last ten people the better part of a cool decade and the phones and addresses of some very close relatives and friends, that would could drive a person mad. And that we did not want. Working is one of those things that help people get their mind off things. You’ll find that out when you start picking them apples

And so our story begins

I believe you are aware of the fact that Ima had given up on teaching Lolita (or whatever that Vietnamese kids’ name is Lisa my ass) to speak Vietnamese. As a logical replacement she found a job teaching Jewish (that’s us) and Israeli (that’s even closer to us) kids to speak, read and write Hebrew. It’s strange how winding the paths of fate are having to try to teach a Vietnamese retard to speak a foreign tongue only to find out that you are destined to teach your own people their and your mother tongue So anyway here was Ima, confronted with her destiny. Based on her knowledge and experienced she was chartered with preparing the syllabus for the coming year. After all you do want to let the kids, their parents, the school board, the staff and Ginjah know what it is that will be taught over the course of the coming year. The kids don’t give a damn about the syllabus but they always get it so as to prevent legal grounds for their suing the school for ‘discrimination against minors’. The parents want to know because they think they are doing the right thing for their kids and seeing a plan (which they have no way of understanding) helps them feel secure with their decisions. Secure parents are very important to a school that lives off of their handsome donations so the parents needed a syllabus. The school board needs a syllabus so they can explain to the parents where their donations are going. The more detailed the syllabus the more money it can fetch. This is a very old and common fund raising trick beef up the needs to secure the funding and worry about execution later if ever. So the school board needed a syllabus. The staff needs a syllabus so they can quote it in every parents-teachers day. The staff doesn’t need to follow the syllabus but they do need it so that they can quote it correctly. Correct quotations from the syllabus assure parents that their money is being put to good use. This encourages to put in more money which the board is happy to collect and count. The only person who cares about the syllabus was and will always be Ginjah!!! Its not the syllabus per-se that interests her, its anything that she shouldn’t really care about that catches her attention with the power of a sea siren. She also has some unfinished non-of-her-business with the staff, parents and the board so Ginjah needed the syllabus.

So Ima sat down to work on this syllabus of hers.

She opened Microsoft Word and worked on a document which contained quite a lot of important information regarding what was in store for the Jew-viniles in the coming year. Write it, save it, close it and then send it wherever it needs to go. If only things were that simple.

“Shouldn’t we check the contents before we send out the attachment to half the most influential bastards in the community? After all you are replacing Michal who got her ass fired for not being as prudent as she needed to be.”

“I guess we could check it one last time”, Ima concurred.

So I opened the document and lo and behold the whole screen layout of America On Line stared me in the face. “Funny way to teach Hebrew” I said. Not the smartest thing to say, but I really thought that the workbench of AOL with a sample of the mail menu and another cheap add for Brittney Spears endorsed ‘never-have-yellow-teeth-again’ product didn’t do a whole lot for the Jewish cause. As I was getting a grip on myself not to say anything stupid Ima was losing her grip on things.

– “Where is my document?” (the voice was not calm)

– “Why did you open AOL again?” (the voice was not calm)

– “I didn’t open AOL again, I opened the attachment”

– “That’s AOL we are looking at!!!” (from not calm to less then not calm)

– “It’s also the document you asked me to attach” how the hell did this happen?)

– “Where is the syllabus I worked so hard to create?”

– “This is the syllabus you worked so hard to create”

– “That’s not the syllabus That’s AOL Where is my document?” (the voice was not calm)

As the color coding indicates this could have easily turned into one of these endless repeating teasing poems that evil people make up to kill time, which by the way does not hurt eternity (thank you George Carlin I think). It could go on forever content wise and get more and more distressing emotionally. I had to say or do something that would get us back on a constructive track so I stayed quite to see where the winds would blow.

– “This is not my document!!”

I believed we had established that. However we lost an exclamation point, which was encouraging…

– “This is not the document! Where is the document?”

It was Peter Piper logic. We all expect there to be a peck of pickled peppers because Peter Piper supposedly picked them. In the same manner it stood to reason that we could expect there to be a syllabus document if Ima wrote one. The difference is that we know that the tale of Peter Piper is a myth and therefore there is a big ‘IF’ at the beginning of every sentence. The power of this ‘if’ is its ability to do away with the expected outcome no Peter Piper, therefore he could not have picked any peppers let alone pickled ones, and hence there are no pickled pepper But Ima was no Peter Piper and no ‘ifs’ applied therefore the document had to be there Ima was absolutely correct.

– “What happened to my document?” (time to get real)

“Well it says Sixth Grade Syllabus in the place where Microsoft word shows the file name”

“How did this happen to my document?”

“You don’t allow yourself to write anything meaningful as long as Yeela does not have a laptop.”

The room fell silent. I was hoping that Ima would come to terms with reality. It was pretty clear to me that destroying one’s own documents is a harsh form of self inflicted punishment. Maybe I’m a cold blooded son of a bitch, but here’s how the stone hearted rationalist that I viewed the situation. On one hand you were in Israel without your own computer. On the other hand you were in Israel with access to a computer wherever you went. While the computer you had access to was not your own, I expected that the computer itself, more often than not, would have no issue with the fact that you as a stranger would use it. This is a common phenomena with computers being the dumb piles of electronics that they are. So with that being the state of affairs wasn’t it better to make sure that Ima have a job that could help finance the next computer we get and ship it over when the time was right?

The thing that baffled me was the fact that the contents of a WORD document had been replaced by a screen capture of AOL. I simply could not recreate the sequence of key strokes that could possibly reproduce such an act of evil wizardry. Sensing that more information gathering would be required before a corrective course of action could be selected I decided that stabilizing the patient would be the best course of action. A combination of constructive support mixed with grand belittling of ones self usually works in these situations:

“Why don’t you let me scan the hard disk for any file which was changes during the past week”

“Will that find my document?” (still signs of resistance)

“It might”(yeah, right!)

So I ran the search which found the file we had been staring at in disbelief all along.

“I must have done something when I tried upload the file, I said, my voice disappearing in spite of myself.

“So its gone?….” (whew she still loves me)

“I’m afraid so, but I can work with you to recreate it.”

“Ok, some other time!”. (was this assertiveness or denial?)

When someone says ‘some other time’ with an exclamation mark its usually a sign that the person is in control and will determine when and if events will take place. This however was not the case. Under normal circumstance the conversation would have not taken this course. Ima was succumbing to a prophecy which she was creating about the nest becoming empty and life losing its meaning to a degree where syllabuses did not matter anymore. This was not a good sign. Somehow I knew that there was a whole lot to live for (we had to get Ginjah a syllabus) and that things were actually working out for the better. The problem was how do you make Ima see things that way?

I knew I couldn’t rationalize with Ima about their being no relationship what-so-ever between you getting a computer and us leading normal lives. On the other hand I had no clue as to what courses of action were open to me. I knew I couldn’t continue to take the blame for everything that was wrong in the world because for one that would shatter the kids confidence in me, and secondly I have very strong ‘resistant to blame’ genes which run deep in some parts of the family. “The last thing we need right now is for Ima and Tintin to fight over the razor blade” I thought to myself gloomily.

“When do you need the syllabus?” I asked?

“Not for a week or two”.

This was good news. We had time. A lot could happen in two weeks.

“So if this waited for a few days would that be ok?”

“Of course, forget about it” (I hate how she says that) “gotta call Yeela”.

I almost asked “again”? But opted against it. What’s a microwaved brain compared to a mother’s happiness when receiving a first sign of life from her first born daughter whom she has not heard from in 15 minutes? But then you know this better than I do. In fact all these phone calls were a good gauge for Ima’s touch with reality, and how susceptible she was to doing any real productive work. The next few days would be spent improving the means to help ‘rain man’ out of the ‘gotta call Yella can’t do syllabus’ ranting.

The ‘do it yourself’ angle must have been paying attention during the first woeful hours after the syllabus was officially declared ‘missing’ as the word ‘gone’ was not allowed in the house. As a side note the synonym for ‘gone’ is now ‘Osmo or Tintin think they know where they put it’. Anyway (NO ‘s’ IN ANYWAY), Ima was investigating calling card plans. At first this puzzled me. I knew for sure that we were using the most optimized calling plan that one could possibly have Ima wouldn’t have it any other way. ‘Gotta call Yella AT&T to expensive”. At 10 cents a minute how much cheaper can you possibly get? “Gotta call Yella a lot 5 cents a minute is cheaper than 10 cents a minute”. And how much do you plan to save buy saving 5 cents a minute? “20 dollars a day”. So in a month you’ll be able to buy a computer with the money you saved? (during those hours I had given up on the school job). “Yes”. And then we’ll be able to work the syllabus? “Of course” (a twig to cling too).

My inch deep understanding of behavioral psychology made it crystal clear to me that having Ima ‘dial for dollars’ was a wonderful way to make her feel functioning. The next step would be to make perception a reality.

So Ima got this electronic calling card where they charge you only ‘5 cents a minute’. It turned out that they indeed charge you 5 cents a minute but not for all the minutes. In fact the five cents apply only to the minute you spend dialing the unbelievable combination of numbers that have to precede every number you dial. The rest of the minutes where you actually use the phone were much more expensive. The initial payment was 20 dollars which on the face of it would have paid for 400 minutes of phone calls. As the credit ran out sometime during the afternoon Ima was somewhat surprised but refreshed the credit line without giving the time-to-money calculations to much thought “time is money and that’s the way it is.”. “If Peter Piper talked for two hours at five cents a minute where is the rest of the 20 dollars that Peter Piper paid?”. “Hang in there” I told myself.

The next 20 dollars ran out two days later – I guess you were getting acquainted with the kibbutz and didn’t have a lot of time to talk. “Something is not right with the calling plan, the credit is evaporating way too quickly”. “I think I’ll switch back to AT&T”. Now how many times in the past was it Ima that had to switch back from the plans that a sales cadet had managed to sell me during his/her lunch break from their ‘find-a-sucker-and-you-can-sell-anything’ classes? Ima was showing signs of self awareness! Words cannot express the emotions that swept me. Ima will be ok just give her time (, money) and support. “You know that this is more like me to sign up for one of those plans” I said more to test the waters than to take the blame. “As a matter of fact I don’t know what came over me these plans always have a catch, even you know that by now”. Ima was definitely in control, not to be taken for granted, but in control. What a wonderful development.

The next thing to do was to create a warm and nurturing environment around Ima wherever she went. The new school’s staff had to be bonded with and what better an opportunity then a barbecue with the teachers? Being the social creature that I am (that’s why I attended every flower class Ima took) I really looked forward to this one. Nothing like a middle class all white half Jewish American get together. I could see the hot dogs which were prepared two days in advance sitting in the house plate surrounded by cantaloupe (yes cantaloupe is much better for you than potato chips) with counted sparkling water to wash it down and two cans of diet coke that no one would touch for fear of being accused of taking the next to last one I was also very excited for the opportunity to “nice to meet you’ ten or fifteen times with people of my own flesh and blood (type O is common). And to top it all the hosts lived in one of those water front housing communities right next to where I work so I would have a chance to “share”

When the day finally came on the weekend that followed us losing the syllabus, I couldn’t wait to get into my party clothes and go. The get together was a marvelous success. I bonded with everybody and paved the way for Ima into the warm and loving bosom of the staff. We easily found the little plastic neighborhood, with plastic grass around the plastic houses right on the shores of the ‘unique sweet-water-salt-water ecosystem’. What a joy, all these birds (large mosquitoes) in the meadow (weeds) with the wind blowing the smells (odors) of that rise from the beach (scum) when the tide (filthy water) recedes. In Israel these ‘delicate ecosystems’ are labeled for what they are and are called ‘Jora’ (J as in Goerge) if you managed to stay far enough and ‘Hara’ if you had the misfortune to get too close or worse step into them. Here they put a dirt road called a ‘nature path’ right through the middle, stick a ‘dogs must be on leash’ sign at both ends of the path, call it an ‘ecosystem’ and build plastic neighborhoods which they populate with people who cannot cook or barbecue. Then you bring the people who work on one side of the pond to a barbecue with the people who live on the other side of the pond and share It was almost perfect.

The only thing that broke my heart was that Ima wasn’t all that into partying that day and kept hinting that maybe it was time that we leave. Time and time again I had to ask for “Od kamah dakot”, until I could no longer do so. Ima really needed to go. So seeing that it was only us and the hostess that were left anyway, and any additional second that we stayed would be held against us, I promised to stay in touch and we left. Too bad, I really like parties. I hoped that I had at least managed to ease the pressure of the new school environment. Not that I could do much more at the time.

Basic socializing behind us we could work on fundamentals. I knew that in cases like this there were ripple effects throughout the social fabric of the immediate family. When a matriarch weakens anarchy has a tendency to set in. In doesn’t happen immediately. Usually there is somewhat of a delay before any patterns begin to emerge. I was more concerned with the boys than with Tal or with Tweety. The boys constantly live under the bad influence of the immediate neighborhood. Without Ima’s character and attention it was only a matter of time before they diverted from the path of civil behaviors. So it did not surprise me at all that they broke into Yolakach’s house to steal Game Boy controllers when they needed one more for a four hand game @#&!!!

I’ll give you a minute to contemplate this before I continue.

As serious as this is the reversed roles that everyone played in the ‘crime of the summer’ were quite amusing. One can easily see how kids get into situations where an additional Game Boy controller is needed. Under normal circumstances kids pick up the phone and ask a friend for a ‘loaner’. This however is the ‘conscious loaner’ approach which has one obvious disadvantage: if you are missing one controller calling a friend can complicate things a bit because the friend that has the controller is very likely to want to join the fun, often reducing the availability of controller at least to a degree. Every child knows the drawbacks of the ‘conscious loaner’ protocol, but subconsciously suppresses the alternatives. This suppression in the result of a very powerful image of a disapproving matriarch should a friend not be included in a search for a solution. But when the matriarch is weak the alternatives become far more tempting. Things are even worse when interacting with kids like Yolakach on a regular basis and seeing first hand that ‘alternatives’ are an option.

And luck would just have it that Yolakach’s family was on vacation away in Israel, but their lessons were well remembered. ‘You can take what is not yours as long as you do not get caught’. Heaven help the boys if they ever stoop that low, but there is a twist to this approach: ‘You can take what is not yours as long as you put it back before anyone misses it’. And so it further came to be that the boys and the ‘concilyeri’ were in need of a controller. The version of the story that I heard from Osmo was “It was the concilyeri’s idea” so far so good that’s what councilors are for “we waited outside while he went in a GOT the controllers”. Hmm For one thing if its his idea how come he’s so dumb as to execute by himself? And I assume he didn’t bring you over to the house tied and gagged in the trunk of his (sister’s) car.

Given that the essence of the story is not what stupid mistakes little boys make at times, I’ll move through this rather quickly. The good news was that no sooner did they set foot in the concilyeri’s house with the ‘borrowed’ controllers that Tommy (more of a role model than meets the eye) beat the crap out of his misguided son. Needless to say that the break-in was reversed and Ima was informed of the incident. As much I hate to say this, there is a reason for everything. Ima put two and two together, gathered herself and set out on a crusade to get Osmo and Tintin to tell her what happened. This has been going on for a couple of days now and two things have become quite clear. Ima was recovering and the boys were getting closer and closer to the facts. I will not bore you with the details.

Calling card costs and the need to restore law and order are essential restoration factors, but in and of themselves they are not sufficient. Something else was needed to get Ima back onto a foundation that was free of guilt and full of confidence.

The warring gods of the road really worked up one for the books. I only came to the scene after the fact, but it is was not hard to complete a chronicle of the events based on the evidence on the scene. Ima was on the sidewalk talking to Dick. The policeman was on the other side of the street Dick’s car was a little closer to where Fuff is usually parked. Fuff was nowhere to be seen, instead a brand new Taurus was standing in the next available parking space in front of Tweety’s toilette. Moran was standing amused next to the rear end of Dick’s car making gestures that clearly indicated that she was not impressed. Tal was next to Moran and her body language had ‘what a wasted opportunity’ all over it. In case I didn’t mention it the brand new Taurus had a very useless front right side it was smashed to bits. Moran was making wide sweeping motions with her hands pointing from the back of Dick’s car to where the horizon was. These gestures were accompanied with slapping both her hands together with the forearms parallel to the ground, and the palm vertically facing each other as in ‘SMASH’. Moran was obviously describing a more impressive car mashing scenario which I later found out was right out of her own ‘drive-like-a-menace’ resume. Apparently she was letting Tal know that there are ‘real’ ways to drive into cars this was sissy stuff for grownups

You are probably better acquainted with Moran’s driving accomplishments, and you know the details of what happened that afternoon[1]. The bottom line is that Ima has full faith in Nili who she had known as a woman who drives like a drunk for more than three minutes, use Fuff to complete whatever Dick’s car prevented her from achieving with her own Taurus.

I do want to tell you about the things that the hours of waiting for Fuff did to Ima. At first Ima was bonding with her new acquaintance Nili Caspi. “Come to think of it she has been gone for quite some time now”. This could have been interpreted as going one of two ways. Either Ima was working up anxiety regarding the well being of another human being she had sent on the road in a state of distress in a car like Fuff. This of course was the last thing I needed more reasons for guilt. On the other hand Ima could have been working up a healing viscous glee as she contemplated the fate of Nile Caspi who first destroys one car and then steals another As the minutes ticked away it was heart warming to see Ima regaining ‘Kipperman character’: “First she doesn’t even say thank you, then she disappears with the car”. “Go on, go on”, I eagerly thought to myself. “She probably slammed into another innocent driver and stole a third car”. Wonderful “I feel kind of bad for her she was quite distressed when she left with the car”. Oh oh don’t go there. “She has to be a complete idiot to think that we gave her the car”. Tal didn’t like that sentence, it made perfect sense to her to give Fuff away. All I cared about was the nature of the remarks. “I wonder what she’ll have to say for herself when she finally gets here”. “She probably won’t even say thank you, HAMEYUBESHET”. Music to my ears I decided to pitch in: “Mazeh Meubeshet; she’ll turn a lake into an ecosystem”. Ima did not hold back any more: “Ashkenaziyah, Ma Yesh Lehagid”. Ima was connecting with herself and her true identity. If only Nili stayed away for another few hours I thought to myself.

God was listening, and Nili did take her sweet time. Finally she did show up with Fuff in the same condition as she had received it. This was quite unfortunate because it had the potential of undoing some of the goodness that transpired during the hours of waiting for its return. However Nili lived up to her perceived reputation and did not bring along any token of gratitude other than her children which she had all the intentions of keeping. Thinking back in retrospect this was not the time to expect any gifts but then healing sessions do not always have to be realistic. We closed the door with Nili on the outside and Fuff’s keys on the inside and spend a few more minutes butchering Nili’s character, just to be on the safe side.

That evening I could tell that we were over the hump. We were not yet ready to assume work related responsibilities but we were out of the danger zone and the snowball which was threatening to roll down the hill had melted early in the process. All that was needed now was to keep building the support and suppress events that triggered remorse or guilt.

As though to spite me Nili did show up two days later with a package of Godiava chocolates making up for the missing token of gratitude, whose absence had worked wonders for Ima. Fortunately Ima was not home. The last thing I needed was for her to see these chocolates. The first thing to do was make sure that Nili did not stay. The second thing was to make sure she doesn’t call to ask Ima about the chocolates and kind of get in cahoots with her. The first part was easy knowing that her neurotic two year old daughter was afraid of Tweety I made no attempt to keep the dog from stepping forward to sniff them hello. The child immediately recoiled in horror. I obviously ignored the situation. It was obvious that Nili was well aware of her daughter’s mounting plight. If I called Tweety in she would have an opening to say that the child was afraid of the dog. If that happened it would have been way too rude for me to ignore the comment and I would have had to move Tweety, which in turn could have paved the road for Nili to keep standing there, thus forcing me to invite her in. THIS COULD NOT BE ALLOWD TO HAPPEN AFTER ALL WE HAVE BEEN THROUGH. So I ignored Tweety completely and let the child cower in fear (chuckle).

Seeing that she was not in a welcoming situation which on-the-face-of-it was of no fault of mine, Nili turned to leave. Knowing that I was winning I refrained from reciting the Polish clich�s “Are you crazy, you shouldn’t have brought anything”, “Why did you bother”. These can easily backfire because a true Polaniah will call to apologize for having brought a gift “Pashut Hyiti Muchraha” and that’s a conversation I did not want Ima to have. “Thank you VERY VERY much for the chocolates, It’s really nice of you not to have taken everything we did for YOU for granted”. I used ‘we’ so as not to disassociate myself from the events that triggered the Godiava. I had to be accepted as a valid representative of our family who was fully qualified to receive such gifts. I could see something die in Nili’s eyes I could see the “So much for a follow up phone call” thought pierce her brain. “Sorry lady”, I though to myself, “I’m not a cruel person but our relationship ends here in the most terminal manner”. I could not take the chance of having Nili’s presence trigger a relapse in Ima’s improving condition.

I almost undid my cunning two days later when I fell asleep on the carpet in the living room with the half eaten box of chocolates by my side only to be awakened when Ima walked in. Ima was back from a visit to Rivkaleh in San Francisco. “What great taste she has”. “Such a lovely apartment”, and then she saw the chocolate – “what’s with the chocolate?”. “That’s something that Nili just dropped over to say thank you” I said. “Then why did she eat half of it?”. “That wasn’t her, that was me” But it wasn’t Nili or the chocolates that I was thinking about. “Tell me more about Rivkaleh”, and she did

And then it clicked “If Rivkaleh can have a ‘lovely apartment’ why can’t we”? Restore ‘consumer confidence’ and we Check Mate this passing depression in six simple moves. First get her back to Ikea to work on the looks of our house. As part of this we would obviously get to reorganize the boys’ room. Part of this is sure to include the fact that they cannot use their computer because their monitor is gone. “Go for� a monitor and a new computer cannot be far”. Once you have the computer this frees up a laptop to send to Yeela. Yeela has a laptop we can go back to writing the syllabus It wasn’t completely clear to me how it all comes together but I was sure that once we had a few of “HAHANAH LE whatever” nothing would turn back the tide.

First things first – get to Ikea. The wonderful thing about this was that Ima was so far along in her recovery that she settled for Tal driving her there and I did not have to tag along. The memories of the previous pilgrimage to Ikea were still very vivid in my mind. They got back with everything that one could have hoped for. New bookshelves for every room. New baskets to throw dirty clothing in, new supports for mattresses to put between the main poles of bed frames (none were missing but that’s not the point) and plastic sheets with pockets to put CDs in which you hang on whatever is left of the bare walls once the bookshelves are up. The nice things about all of these new pieces is that to make good use of them one really has to reorganize every room that they go into. Reorganization makes broken or incomplete things stand out. Once you fix such problems in one room the same problem stands out like a sore thumb in another.

To make a long story short we now have very well organized book shelves in every room. We also have a computer table in every room, and we have a computer in every room. This called for buying a new computer, but believe it or not Ima found a computer, monitor, keyboard and all just sitting in a shopping cart in the price club with a price tag which said :”Display 477$”. I didn’t understand what the sign meant but ima did and began to push the cart to the register. At first I thought that she had seen too much of the concilyeri and almost threw a fit. However I managed enough self control to ask “Are you sure this doesn’t belong to anyone?”. “It belongs to us” was the answer.

Ima was back to normal and all I had to do was to figure out how we really wanted to do all this new computer layout. When confronted with problems like these one needs to work backwards from the end goal if such a path exists the problem is solved. If not, it means that there is at least one more item in some store which remains to be purchased.

The end goal was to free up Tal’s laptop so it could travel to Israel with Max. To do this we would have to replace Tal’s laptop with Ima’s laptop. This would be fine because Ima’s laptop has a wireless card which would allow Tal fact Internet Access. This would assure that Tal wins on all counts both a newer (better?) laptop and a faster connection which can be moved around – you can chat from the bathroom!!! Ima has already taken care of replacing her laptop when she found the shopping cart with the computer waiting for her in the Price Club. This computer had to be connected to the Internet and it would also need a printer that works. In order to connect to the Internet we would need to free up a port in the hub (that little blue box) so that we could connect the computer to it. This is where it all seemed to come apart. There were no ports to spare on the hub!!! “We cannot go back now”. “Its so unfair, so close to pulling it all together and we lose it for one lousy port?”. The first thing to do in situations like this is to throw one’s self on the barbed wire so that others may flourish. I disconnected my laptop from the hub and connected the new computer to the Internet.

We were almost able to trace a successful path from the goal to reality. Everyone had their own computer, or should I say there are enough computers for everyone. Each computer has a fast Internet connection and two of them have printers. The only remaining obstacle was connecting my laptop to the Internet. It would have been really cruel to get so close to perfection and lose. Suddenly in dawned on me that there was a little cardboard box on the little desk in the living room (the one where Ilana’s version of the statue of liberty stands) which I used to use before the Internet mattered. With trembling hands I opened the box and there it was gleaming in the morning sun a spare ‘wireless’ card (these magical little things that allow you to connect with out a cable or a phone line). With moist eyes I inserted the card into the laptop not daring to think where I would find the inner strength to go on should it have not worked.

I’ll tell you, child, there is a purpose for everything in life. That card worked. It worked after sitting there for two years, missing getting tossed by a hair’s breadth many times over. I was connected, Ima was connected, Tal was connected Osmo or Tintin were connected and you will soon be connected. We’ll get that syllabus done and we will also print it. It will be a wonderful year. There is no turning back. Max picked up Tal’s laptop (its harder than it sounds) and you will soon have it. Believe it or not Ima managed to pack a carpet into the same bag instead of the mouse pad.

Keep in mind that you need a transformer to work this machine it’s seven years old and will fry if connected directly into a wall socket in Israel.

We Love and miss you very much.


[1] For the benefit of those who are reading this letter out of the blue we will only mention that a lady came around the bend with her car, smashed into our neighbor’s car and had to get a replacement car so that she could continue on her way to fetch her child from school and head on to a doctor’s appointment. Having heard a loud collision from the street, Ima rushed from the house. Once the situation was clear: the lady had to stay on site until the police arrived Ima hustled the woman into Fuff and let her go attend to her business.