“Acharei haChagim” – the return to “normal”

Around the time of the High Holy Days (“the Chagim”) – Rosh Hashanah all the way through til the end of Succot – things sort of grind to a halt. It’s busy season. Stores are full, traffic is crazy, it’s high season for tourists, and nothing much gets done outside of holiday prep. So, even though school began September 1st, we have known that only “acharei haChagim” would the kids start getting the extra Hebrew help they are entitled to as Olim. We knew that job hunting would be slow, because no one hires before or during the Chagim. There’s not a lot of point trying to accomplish very much at all.  Unless you purchase things for your kitchen or home – those are on sale before the Chagim, but never again afterwards.

So now it’s finally “Acharei haChaim” and things should start to get back to normal. The question however, is, what the heck is considered “normal” here?

The Holidays were wonderful. Our new shul was a great place to daven (pray) on Rosh haShanah and Yom Kippur. My parents joined us in Israel for Succot, which was fabulous, and a large number of our friends from Boca were also in Israel over Succot, and we did get to spend time with most of them. We rented a car for the few days of Chol HaMoed, and were able to go to Gush Etzion, Jerusalem, Netanya – for a Boca bat mitzvah – and to an archaeological dig at Beit Guvrin. Not having school allowed the kids to relax and just enjoy life here. We built a large succah in our yard, and it was a lovely change to not need fans! What a difference to Boca – Succot in Israel is actually pleasant. I wasn’t yearning for the much coveted air conditioned succah of my cousin in Boca. In fact, we really dwelled in our succah this year. We didn’t sleep outside, but we ate our meals, sat reading, davened and simply hung out in the succah.

And then, after Shabbat, “chozrim laShigra”, as they say (return to schedule). The kids went back to school on Sunday. No, that wasn’t pleasant – I will always lament the loss of Sundays. It’s time for me to start my work, running a mobile manicure business. I now have full weeks to work, and hopefully the kids having full weeks at school (just not full days – the younger ones are home by 2 most days!) will allow me to at least get started. I also purchased a washing machine finally. After all the days of chag, and the excess laundry produced (plus excess sheets and towels from having guests), my neighbor’s generous loan of the little washing machine that leaks just had to come to an end.

I ordered the washer from the same store I purchased my fridge. They might not be the easiest to bargain with (they seem to stick to their prices and maybe knock off delivery at best) but they seem like decent people, and I’ve been told by others that they stick by their products. When we bought the fridge, it was next day delivery, and the delivery guy unpacked it and plugged it in. I did have to call a technician to come and validate the warranty. Yup – the guy from Samsung had to come to my apartment, look at the fridge and explain to me how it works. So I was prepared to be told that a similar system was in place for the washer. Correct.

So, the washer was available for next delivery. I was given a 7 hour window. Luckily it arrived within the first 2 hours. The delivery guys brought it up and then announced they wouldn’t be able to fit it through the door to the laundry room without unpacking it, and they are not allowed to unpack it. Only the technician can do that. So they dumped it in the middle of the living room. And left. But not without demanding a tip. Even though we paid for delivery and they did nothing but roll it into the elevator and then into our apartment. I could have done that myself. (They used a dolly – give me a dolly, I can move anything). So now, here is my  lovely new washing machine:

IMG_3920

See how the white contrasts so beautifully with the wood on the china cabinet? And clashes with the shiny tile floor? There it will sit for two days, because the earliest I could get a technician to come out is on Wednesday afternoon. He will hopefully not get annoyed that he has to move it into the laundry room. And then he will plug it in, hook it up and explain to me how to use it. I’m sure it’s more complicated than a fridge. I wonder how much more laundry we can drum up between now and Wednesday night…

So yeah, what is normal again?

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