Just two days

Just two days that are worth a small note. Yup, this is my life for the last two days. I will start with Thursday morning.

Adele and I woke up at 6 am to drive to Netanya for our driving tests. Why Netanya, since I live in Zichron almost an hour away you ask? Well, don't. So, we get in the car only about 10 minutes late and speed away into the usual morning traffic. Yes, blood pressure is rising... and yes... we are talking about the whole driving test thing here which if you have been following, isn't exactly the best topic for Adele and I to handle. Oh, I forgot, on Wednesday after work Adele called me and said that I need to go to the Doar (post office) to get some Toffuses. You know, I don't even think that is a Hebrew word. Toffus?... somebody must have just made it up so that everyone can have a good laugh every time it gets uttered by guys like me. So the Doar was closed. I called the driving office in Netanya to find out what to do and this is all in Hebrew mind you, and the secretary tells me, (I think) that I can get to Netanya a little early and go to the Doar there. Yup, we got into the car 10 minutes late and hit a wall of traffic. Now the blood pressure thing has a little more weight, doesn't it?

After traffic interspersed with Adele and I artistically spatting across the car our unique brand of Parsel-toungue, we arrive at the Netanya Doar at 10 minutes to 8! This time my fancy short cut worked! Yay, there is a G-D! Adele goes running off to, yes... stand in line. The Doar opens at 8 and there are already about 20 people in line. Oyyyyyy! OK, so now I am just breathing deeply and trying to remind myself that it is only a stupid driving test. So what is the worst that can happen? I just have to wait some more time and take the test with a pissed off instructor and tester just waiting to fail me. Did I mention that I failed my first ever driving test in the States because I was so nervous that I almost ran an old lady down in the crosswalk? Yeah I was only 16 but at least everyone spoke English.

So I am in line now and Adele is pacing just out of sight. We wait, and wait… a spot opens up and we run up to ask about the Toffuses and the lady says,
"What? What is a Toffus?"

Adele does some fancy explanation and the woman seemed to understand but we still don’t know how to pronounce the friggin word. In the mean time the driving instructor has called and is now livid because we aren’t at his office already. I guess his secretary didn’t tell him what we were doing, and come to think of it, why didn’t his secretary tell us we needed the toffus thing earlier? Maybe she did and we just didn’t understand the word. Who knows? So we race off to a new meeting place at the canyon (mall) and pull up at exactly 8:30 to a large grin on our instructors face. He hurries us out of the car and we stand around for about 20 minutes while paperwork and stuff is filled out by not only us but two other guys that are going to take their test also. These guys are from Russia and have been in Israel for only 2 months. We all get into the car with the tester, which is no simple feat since now there are four men and one woman all trying to squeeze in to a car the size of a matchbox, and slowly creep away from the parking lot. The older Russian man is driving and it feels like he has got one foot on the gas and one foot on the brake. As he goes swerving down the road Adele gets into a conversation with the other Russian guy in the back of the car with us. I look over at him and notice that half of his face is a bit saggy and he is slurring his words a bit. Adele looks at me and whispers, "I think he has had a stroke."

Our eyes got bigger around but I figured if he is here in the car he must have had some practice before the test, right? We continued the conversation and in the process of this find out why we needed to take the driving test in the first place. We thought it was just because it was a new Country with different rules and what not. Makes sense right? Well, to make a long story short, The Russian immigrants that had been coming to Israel had been getting into all kinds off accidents and when the government looked into this it found that in Russia you don’t take a test to get a driving license. In Russia you buy one. I have no idea how that works. You just pay somebody some money and they give you a license? Kind of like a fishing license I guess. So, while we had this discussion with the guy in the back seat Adele and I are getting a little nervous about being in the car with the Russian guy that seams to be just barely missing every other parked car on the road as he meanders his way through the test. In the end, it all worked out. No accidents and we now need to wait until next week to get the results. The instructor told us that they used to give the results right away but there were two little incidents in the Country when someone failed the test and pulled out a gun and shot the instructors! South Central L.A. ? Actually they probably have had the same problems in the States.

Did I call this letter a short note? Sorry, but this is only halfway through one day. Maybe you should take your time and read it like the morning newspaper or something. Anyways, after the test we drove to my mother in laws house to help her fix some stuff and hang some paintings and on the way I decided to take another short cut since the last one worked so well. This time it didn’t work so well. We got stuck in traffic and went in circles for a while until I pulled over and let Adele drive. Yes, the parsel-tounge was back and it lasted until we got back to Zichron, or actually Faradise, which is the Arab town next to Zichron when Adele asked to be let out of the car. I refused, for obvious reasons, and eventually we made it back to Zichron. You know, all this fuss over a driving test sounds a bit over the top, doesn't it? Well, the day is not over yet.

Zach had been planning his birthday sleep over and we decided to do it at the beach. It started out at maybe six or eight kids but by the time it finished we ended up with sixteen! And that was only the ones who ended up sleeping, well actually no one really slept. The night started out fine. Zach and two of his friends were responsible for collecting wood and when I got back to the house after the test they were, yes… sitting in front of the computer. After some gentle reminding I went to run some errands and they went to find some wood. I came back to a pile of junk in my driveway. (it is still there by the way) so I drove them around the neighborhood and between pallets from the local winery and other assorted stops we did all right. We had enough for a bonfire to last until four in the morning when the rainstorm finally hit. But I am getting ahead of myself.

I decided to let Adele off the hook because it was quite plainly making her life hell to think about the logistics with getting her to work at the base and after just returning from Jerusalem the night before our test, she was very tired. She rode her bike to work, about and hour and a half ride, and I went down to scope out the camping situation. We found a great spot in the bushes next to the beach and set up. One of Zach’s close friends from England was helping and at about 6 or 7 o'clock the kids started to show up. I left to pick up Adele from work. She was whooped. We came home and later took Josh down to check out the situation at the beach. There was about 20 kids all running and dancing and yelling and playing and who knows what else around the bonfire. The food I laid out was shredded and all of the kids stuff was everywhere. We helped a bit with semores and I drove Adele and Josh home. I went back and set up a little spot on the sand to sleep. It was great to watch the teen rituals going on. The boys were walking a thin line between childhood and adulthood. They would all be sitting and engaging with the girls at one point and the next they would be romping around like a bunch of monkeys. So funny!

Well, I mentioned rain didn’t I? Yes, I got the weather report before I left and it said that there might be some slight rain showers the next morning. OK, we can handle slight - right? At about 10 o’clock I was tracking a storm out in the Mediterranean Sea that must have been over Greece . It was moving towards us. By 12 o’clock the wind kicked in and all the kids started dragging their tents into the bushes because there were no stakes to hold them down. By 2 o’clock I was hoping the storm would turn away because it was an electrical storm and by 4 o’clock I was counting the seconds between flashes and booms. (so now you know what the photo is at the top of this page is, my friend Zohar took it at exactly four in the morning just down the beach from us) After one particularly large boom I decided to climb out from under my hastily thrown together tarp contraption and get everyone under some cover. All the kids had just started to settle down and I told everyone that they needed to get all of their stuff together and drag it all over under one of the caravan roof that were near by. There they continued to pack stuff and fold up the tents in the dark as the rain pelted down for about an hour. Everything was wet because the tents weren’t really water proof but at least we didn’t need to worry about the lighting so much. One of the kids called his dad who had a car that could take 7 kids and I shuttled 7 of them and all of there stuff over to the entrance to the beach in my little rocket powered cardboard box of a car in shifts and came back for the rest. They as well were shuttled in shifts, first to the entrance, and then to their homes and to ours. We had five kids crammed into Zach’s room and all got to sleep about 6 in the morning with a pile of wet and sandy stuff sitting in my studio downstairs. I went back to the beach the next day and found some tarps, shoes, towels, and my prescription glasses that I had lost in the dark and the wind and the rain and the lightning bolts, during our hasty retreat. OK, that’s the story. I guess it was only one really long day and not two. Whfeew! So, with that, I will just say,
Love to you all, be well, ve shavua tov,

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