If you ask me whether I watered the plants I will answer that I did. But the shriveled orchids will erode my credibility. I think that’s what they were; it’s hard to tell from the tall bent dried stems. When you see them you will ask what else I did not water. If you ask whether I fed the child I will answer that I did, but when you come home and see me wearing Osmo’s jeans you will ask where the food came from. You will not ask about the Jacuzzi, because you care less for what’s in the water as long as it’s hot, and yet it’s also drained, cleaned and refilled. You will wait until first light and then, jet-lagged and tired you will go out to check on the Blue Berries – they did not do well. For the first few days following your departure I stood by them and ate from the bush like a goat until the neighbor asked when you were coming back; very subtle the neighbors in America, unless the hot tub is noisy at night. Not that I had problems with that. From the Blue Berries your eyes will go to the figs. You might be surprised to see CDs wrapped around some of the branches, but only a few of them. I wanted for many more to be there but cutting CDs is not easy. I asked R&D for help. I brought a stack of them over when I took your car for maintenance. I was hoping to make cuts half way through the CD to the middle with the glass torch but Dana said the plastic would melt. Rafi also said that the plastic would melt. I said that melting the plastic was the point, and Dana said that she has a saw, and she asked how many I wanted cut, and I said that we should cut no more than 10 just to see that I can put them around the branches so she cut only 10, and asked how this would help and I said that when a squirrel climbed up to the figs it will see another squirrel coming towards it and they will fight to the death, during which time I will be able to come out and spray the live one with the water jet that is now assembled on the garden hose, and if I don’t finish this sentence you might lose track of what you are reading. So Dana asked what about the birds which came from above, and I said that I would put two CDs back to back, and I also said that we could probably cut the CDs in half and I could glue them back to back on the tree and R&D laughed but I was serious, yet she cut them only half way through and said it might have been better to make two parallel cuts to give the CD a wider opening but she didn’t do that. So I put them on the tree, and one broke because the branch was too thick. I will go back with more CDs and have Dana make more cuts if it’s the last thing I do. I did give the orchids mouth-to-mouth watering but it was probably too late. The larger plants in the living room did recover. I have to go back to Rafi anyway to give him a check for taking care of the car. He did a very good job; he washed the engine from the inside with special gunk removing oil, and only then put in the new motor oil. The auto shops never do that. The Jacuzzi shop sold me a lifetime supply of liquid silicone which prevents bubbles. The silicone makes the water too soft for bubbles to form, or in other words too slippery for bubbles to from, or in other words after a few minutes the bubbles were back with a vengeance. Perhaps it’s the formula he told me to apply to the filter when I rinsed it. He did warn me that it would foam if I did not rinse it well. The directions on the bottle give the same warning. I guess we all read the instructions and the bubbles came even though the filter seemed clean to me when I put it back after rinsing it thoroughly with the water jet which I managed to attached to the garden hose in the front using a vise to clamp the hose around it. I sprayed and sprayed until Dick came and asked when you were coming back. He was a fireman you know. He could tell that I was not in full grasp of what I was doing, but his messages were subtle. I went back to look for the hose adapter I knew we had, and found it in the fourth box I tried which gave me hope that I was somewhat competent. Now the nozzle is attached to the hose in the back yard and I can rinse and spray all the way up to the power line, and chase away crows and squirrels and cause power outages. On Saturday afternoon we lost power. I knew we lost power because the emergency light was on when I went to pee. I called Hanan to see if we could borrow power and he suggested that we come over but the power came back and we didn’t, so Hanan called to ask where we were and I said home. And he asked why we did not come over and I said that the power came back and I did not want to wake him again to tell him that we were not coming, and he thanked me and hung up.

How is Tintin supposed to know that omelets come from eggs? At UCLA all they teach them is that omelets come from the lady behind the counter. Sometimes I ask myself why we have to pay for this type of education. We ran out of eggs and eggs come from supermarkets. Tintin didn’t know that, but I did and I felt so guilty that the child had to settle for cereal this morning. Usually he has an omelet. He makes the omelet. I made it once, used three eggs, he does too. Unlike Tintin, I did not remove the broken shells because I only get little splinters into the dish when I break the eggs, and that too only because I use one hand. A cook in the military – his name was Jacko Harra – taught me how to break eggs with one hand. I told you this many times before, but you finally have it in writing. I can only do it with my right hand, but it still qualifies as a skill, not a very important one, but a skill nevertheless. I feel strongly about it because I am generally incompetent in the kitchen and there are no other opportunities to break eggs. I don’t like poking around raw eggs with my fingers, so told myself that the little egg splinters I left in the dish were just the right amount of calcium Tintin needed, all the more so now that he’s home and cannot take illegal supplements. I yearned to tell Tintin that if he heated the pan before adding in the oil and eggs, the eggs would fry so much faster and they would absorb less of the oil. It’s a common beginners’ mistake when making scrambled eggs (I misled you when I said omelets but it didn’t matter up to this point) – scrambled eggs do not need to be slow cooked. It’s just that he’s under so much pressure with his studies, that I could not find it within me to add to the things he needed to worry about. For the same reason I didn’t tell him that he heard wrong about turning the frying pan 360 degrees when he washed it. Turning 360 degrees is from one side back to itself, leaving one side unwashed. You have to turn the pan 180 degrees, wash, and turn another 180 degrees and wash, but I couldn’t tell him that in his condition. It will prove to be a dire decision not to have told him. I lie awake at night thinking of what his wife would have to say about his never having learned how to clean a frying pan, and the kind of parents that we were. What a bitch, and this would not be your fault, as you would go after her with a vengeance, as if taking your youngest from you were not enough, not knowing that she was right, that it was I who washed the pans a second time after Tintin set them to dry, with eggs clinging to the dark side of the pan.

What I didn’t provide in omelets I tried to make up for in bagels which Tintin took to campus every day. I do not know for sure that he ate them, but I couldn’t blame him having to eat the same bagels over and over. Every day I put turkey, avocado, cheddar cheese, only one slice because it’s an orange square of empty calories (which is a term I don’t understand – either it’s a calorie or it isn’t, isn’t it?) but we have a cubic meter of the stuff which none of the people at the barbecue Tintin threw last month ate. I was expecting for much less to be left over. I have to say that I pretty much lost faith in Ryan Blodget’s proclamation that he was so good at barbecuing. I kind of look at him funny whenever he mentions this skill ever since. I also put slices of tomato in the bagels, but I didn’t do so this morning. It was the first time that I skipped his tomato – we had a lot of tomatoes which I picked from the garden. I checked the tomatoes every day. I picked the ripe ones. Some of the orange cherry tomatoes cracked open when picked so I ate them right then and there. If they fell to the ground I rubbed gently on my pants and ate all-the-same thinking that they were organic even if they were grown with tap water. Perhaps in my favor I can mention that I scraped a tomato for Tintin, the day before, to have with the Malawach which Ossi gave R&D and they donated to us seeing how I was cutting CDs to save the harvest. This was a one-time event, but then skipping his bagel tomato was a one-time event. Scraping vegetables was hazardous, but not nearly as much as pushing fruits and vegetables down the tube of the juice machine with your hand – thank goodness only Nehamah had to do that. I pointed out that he might want to add hot sauce to the scraped tomatoes because Frida’s Zhuk was frozen solid in the freezer. I took one container out to thaw but it was too late to help the Malawach. Tintin barely touched the ground tomato dip so I ate it yesterday, dipping the kebabs in it along with Tahini, feeling terrible as I ate the food the child so desperately needed. With all this weighing me down, I put everything I have into the bagels he takes to school. I like bagels with small holes, or no holes at all because the avocado does not leak when I spread it. I hate smearing avocado around a hole. I am thinking of cutting cork bottle stoppers in half and using them to fill the holes while I prepare the sandwiches, but something tells me that with that I should get the CDs and egg shells out of the way first. I could put the cheddar and turkey first, to plug the hole but somehow it seems wrong to smear avocado over turkey, they would be nothing to hold the sandwich together if it fell down. With the avocado sticking to the bread and what’s on top of it, there is a 50-50 chance that one half of a dropped bagel would land with the avocado facing up, but if the avocado is on the cheddar the sandwich would explode all over the place. So the avocado leaks through the hole and I push it back from the other side with my finger. I keep a clean finger just for that. I don’t like it when the avocado leaks because it makes a gooey stain on the Bounty paper towels I use to wrap the sandwiches. I use paper towels because we do not have wrapping paper, but we didn’t have wrapping paper long before you left (nor did we have brown paper bags), and my charter was mainly to sustain what I was left with rather than to embellish, notwithstanding hanging CDs on the trees. I hope you find it in you to forgive me. I love you dearly.