Since I got back from the US, what was it, almost three weeks ago now? I have not been able to sleep. Like, REALLY not able to sleep. Like awake until 4 or 5 AM, and then falling asleep during the day at inconvenient and inappropriate times. I wasn't like this before, so I have to assume it's the jetlag, which technically I "should" be over by now--but the thing is, it's really hard to adjust back when I'm not really adjusting back. I'm still working on US time. I'm still going to sleep (for a nap) not too far off the time I would have gone to bed in America. So it's not crazy that my body thinks that my nighttime sleep is the nap and my morning sleep is the real sleep, and doesn't let me wake up conscious and refreshed after only three or four hours.
Anyway. Right now I am in an empty house, which I have been cleaning up; I just ate some breakfast and have a sinkful of dishes soaking in hot water. Quick blog post, then dishes, then nap. So: a list?
1. Did you hear about El Al's new baggage policy? As in, only one 50 lb bag per passenger?! Wasn't it only three or four years ago that you got 2 70 lb bags? All of the European carriers have been doing this for a while but I think a lot of people, myself certainly among them, were shocked to see it from El Al. Because the people who are most loyal to El Al are the people who come frequently, who have family here, who tend to bring a lot of stuff. And the kids who come for a year for seminary and yeshiva, and bring a lot of stuff. And the people like me, who go back for work and regularly come back with a lot of stuff.
There was a time when I would have shrugged and said, who needs more than 50 lb of luggage? But now? I DO. This last trip I came back with two 49.5 lb bags and had to leave a laundry basket full of stuff that didn't fit by Yehudis. OK, some of it I didn't strictly need. The Tootsie Rolls, for example. And my policy with these trips is to let each kid make one food and one non-food request, and it happened to be that Iyyar and Avtalyon requested soy-free hot dogs and bologna, and Barak requested Rice Chex (!!) so that took up a lot of space. But the rest of it? Six pairs of kids' leather Shabbos shoes of good quality and reasonable price, a combination nonexistent here, for my sister-in-law (a gift from her father-in-law, that he ordered and had sent to me). Scary underwear for the boys. A huge box full of kids' clothes from the last time Lands' End did a $40 off any order of $100 sale. Tons and tons of Hanes socks, which last longer than any socks I've come across here, for the boys. Sneakers for my own boys. Books I needed for work, English books for the kids. Chanuka presents--toys that will not disintegrate into choking hazards after a few days and that cost less than a week's groceries. School supplies, good quality at a third the price of what you see here. Diaper cream, a third the price it is here. Tums, ditto. Aquaphor, not available at any price. The list goes on. And no, mail is not an option, for a number of reasons: exorbitant cost, unreliability, customs fees among them.
El Al! Don't you realize what this is going to do to your customer loyalty? Because I for one am going to go with any airline that isn't Turkish that will let me have two bags. Is it really worth it? Does it really save you that much money? How about charging something reasonable for the second bag--say, $50 or $75?
2. Marika is getting so verbal. She says so much! "Thank you" is no longer "ta ta" but "dangoo Imma!" She loves plums and calls all plums apples. She calls all bread pita ("deeda!") As of today, she didn't cry when I dropped her off at Carmit and was even excited on the way over ("Mee!") And she brings me her clothes and shoes when it's time to get dressed, and even asks me to put kukus in her hair ("dyoudyou!") and, if she finds a barrette, demands that as well. Asking her to stay still while I comb her hair and put it in pigtails, however, is a different story entirely.
3. Her favorite thing to do these days is look out the window. Either she climbs up on Iyyar's bed to look out toward the playground, or gets up on her little yellow chair to look out the living room window (over the windowboxes containing dead tomato plants that I really need to deal with. Soon.) She loves to holler Barak's name out the window, even when he patently is not out there. I think she is hoping it might help, somehow.
4. School and Iyyar are sort of touch and go right now. He comes home and says other kids aren't playing with him. I want to think this isn't true but I don't know. The teacher says he hasn't made friends yet but gave me a list of names of kids she think have potential. Unfortunately the one he likes best is in tzaharon (afternoon daycare) but Succot is coming so hopefully we'll manage some playdates then. In the meantime, he is much much better behaviorally at home. MUCH. I still see things that worry me--the singing-while-eating, the in-his-own-worldness, how hard it is for him to stay on task long enough to just get dressed--but I don't want to smack him fifty times a day anymore, or, usually, even once. The degree to which this is an improvement, for my own mental health along with everything else, cannot be overstated.
5. I cleaned up our bedroom. Thoroughly, including a full closet clean-out. It is a little embarrassing what a mammoth undertaking this was, but it was so satisfying once done. Now I want to do all the bedrooms. Cleaning mojo is not a thing to be wasted, and I have a visit from Deb coming up to motivate me, so let's see how this one goes.
6. Oh! And Deb is coming!! This is quite exciting. She is also planning on coming back with me when I come back from the trip that is supposed to be happening next month (that I still don't have dates for), which is also exciting. I am hoping she allows me to hijack at least some of her luggage allowance for books, yarn and Tootsie Rolls.
7. Speaking of ADD (I wasn't? Oh. Sorry) I think I may have mentioned that Mr. Bigfoot has a pretty raging case of it himself, which has never been diagnosed or treated but is blindingly obvious to anyone who lives with him or works with him for any length of time. He's developed coping strategies for some of it, and I sort of kick him along for some of it, but there's no pretending it's not an issue. Someone recommended to him an herbal ADD remedy (gingko, crataegus, scutelleria, verbana etc.) that is supposed to help and he started with it last week. So far, it doesn't seem to be doing anything but it hasn't been that long. Does anyone have any experience with using that? For adults or for kids?
8. The rash. Oh dear. The rash has been getting... worse. And I looked back at my blog and yes I did have this with Marika. How did I forget that? (Probably got lost in there somewhere with the shingles and the exploding toaster ovens and the month I waddled around at 5 cm.) Yehudis said, take a good probiotic. That never hurts, but... I'm not sure what else to do. I can't smear ANYTHING on it right now--it sends me straight through the roof. Oh for a bathtub...
9. What should I make for dinner? Ideas? Anyone? There is that last pack of soy-free hot dogs...
10. Because shabbos has effectively been canceled this week due to Yom Kippur, I decided to make chicken soup (really turkey soup, since I discovered how well turkey necks work for soup and how very very cheap they are) on Sunday, for dinner and the break-fast. Usually, when I make chicken soup, I do all the prep on Thursday night and go to bed with a pot full of vegetables and a cheesecloth bag full of bones and greenery in the fridge. Then in the morning when the kids leave for school, I add the water and put it on the stove, so that by the time the kids are home I am at the matzo ball stage. This time, I started cutting up vegetables at about 1 PM, aiming for dinner at 6. Wow. BIG mistake. Avtalyon saw me, Iyyar saw me, Barak saw me, and I think someone asked me when oh when oh when the kitchensoupandmatzoballs would be ready at least every five minutes for five hours straight. I think it was just too much for them to see the pot and smell the soup and be told, nope, sorry, not ready yet, allllll afternoon. That's the last time I do something like that for a very very long time.
Time to wash dishes. Thanks for not giving up on me, even though I don't post so regularly these days. I mean to, I want to, it's just, you know... I'm a little busy.