Monday, December 12, 2011


I’m warning you. This one is not going to be pretty. If you’re not in the mood, just skip it, ok?

The last few weeks have been really hard.

So much has been going on that I don’t really know where to start.

I guess I’ll start with the meeting with the CPA, the day before I went to the US for my latest work trip. The meeting I’d been trying to schedule for months, while they ignored and ignored my emails, and didn’t do my return for MONTHS. The meeting where I thought I was showing up to sign my 2010 returns, and in which I was told that I owed Bituach Leumi (social insurance) 13% of my gross income, from the date of my aliya, retroactively, and henceforth forevermore. About $10k on the spot, and 13% of my gross—not net, gross—salary, going forward. This is not including taxes in any way. This is JUST social insurance. And I still have to pay social security and medicare in the US.

I had had no idea. I didn’t cry until I got home, when my friend Zahava called to check up on me and I lost it in a fit of hysterical tears and uncharacteristic profanity.

It’s just too much.

I’m working full-time now. But it still isn’t enough to support us. We’re just breaking even now, with the free apartment.

We are losing so much money on our condo in the US. We can’t refinance.

Mr. Bigfoot doesn’t have a job. He just lost most of his tutoring hours, not because of anything he did but because the at-risk kids he was tutoring left the school. And the cartoons he’s been doing for pay haven’t been renewed—because even though everyone says to him how much they like them, only two people have bothered to tell the magazine.

Our washing machine died. We’re back to the laundromat.

I am so jetlagged and so tired.

Every time I turn around, someone is mad at me about something. Now? Not the time to jump down my throat because I have not been in touch, did not stop by when I was in the US, did not phrase an email quite in the way you would have liked. I don’t have the emotional energy right now to deal with anything that is not a child or a speech. Leave me alone.

Hitpatchut ha’yeled is not helping Iyyar. Iyyar needs help. Now. He needs someone to help him function in school, he needs help with attention and auditory processing, he needs help learning how to deal with stress. He needs to learn how not to run around in circles singing to himself. He needs the ability to register when his name is being screamed at him, and respond, not stay lost in his own world as he walks obliviously into the path of moving vehicles. But everything takes weeks, and even though we have been trying to make this happen since last June, here we are in December and he does not have so much as an intake appointment for speech therapy or OT or anything else. As of this morning, he’s been recommended for all kinds of things, but nothing has happened. I also have a two-page evaluation of him sitting in front of me, which I can’t understand.

They don’t pick up the phone. They don’t return calls. They don’t do anything, except, this week, magically find an appointment for the next day when I fall apart crying upon being told that the next available appointment for the next hoop-jumping step on which everything depends is not for another two months. That, they did.

Avtalyon’s ganenot are also worried about him. Right now they think it’s a hearing problem but also want us to start paperwork with Hitpatchut Ha’yeled. I can’t get that moving until we get another hearing test. I went through the hoops to get the referral and the guarantee of payment—two separate trips to two separate offices, each requiring a morning of no sleep—and called the audiologist. Earliest available appointment: January.

Does he have attention/processing issues like Iyyar seems to? Or permanent hearing loss from all those eardrum ruptures? I took him to the ENT and his ears are clear. Whatever it is, it’s not going to self-resolve.

I just spent a week in the US, and while I was there, everyone but Iyyar got sick. I had to listen to Marika crying for me with a 102 fever from 8,000 miles away. I came home to a house with no visible floor or horizontal surfaces in any of the bedrooms or my office. And kids with diarrhea who couldn’t go to school. Avtalyon threw up a few times the night after I got home.

This was after Barak threw up at school and I had to go get him, by cab, and then he narrowly missed throwing up in the cab—the same cab that, by chance, came when I called later that afternoon to take Avtalyon to the doctor for his ears.

Barak doesn’t seem to have any friends at school. He doesn’t play with anyone. He doesn’t talk about other kids. His Hebrew is doing better, his teachers are happy with him, but socially, he seems to be heading into trouble.

Oh, and did I mention the fight he had at school? The one that was started by another kid who knocked him to the floor and punched him? Whose mother then called me because Barak had, from the floor, thrown his pencil case at him and hit him in the eye? And thought I should talk to Barak about how unacceptable violence was as a means of conflict resolution? That was a fun day of phone calls right there.

And the hasaa which sometimes doesn’t have seatbelts.

And the hasaa which is different every day, so Barak doesn’t always get on it, because he doesn’t recognize it. Which means I have to go get him by cab, and pull Mr. Bigfoot out of seder.

I still haven’t found a doula. Or registered at the hospital.

The house is a mess.

We got an absolutely huge water bill. I called the maintenance guy and said, there is no way we have used that much water. He looked around and found a leak in the toilet tank--the water has been running in there nonstop. Not our faulty plumbing, but the water bill? Still our responsibility.

We got an absolutely huge ($400) phone and internet bill. Considering we don't use the phone, and the internet is supposed to be the same every month, this is obviously a mistake, right? Multiple calls to the campus communication guy. He promises to look into it. So far? One guess.

I mentioned that the washing machine died, right? The one we bought less than a year ago? With no warranty?

I’m eating so badly. I’m pregnant, I need to be eating well, but cooking real food in my horrible little excuse for a kitchen is so hard, and what I should be eating/what the kids are willing to eat/what I can make in that kitchen are just not the same at all.

And oh, what we spend on food.

I brought back $26 worth of Target pullups. They leak. Avtalyon has wet the bed every night he’s worn them, and woken up crying that his bed is wet. It soaked right through the mattress pad and now the mattress is ruined.

Also, I have a new laptop from work, which is behaving strangely. Hours on the phone with computer support. Hours I should have been writing speeches.

The external keyboard I brought back doesn’t work at all. Not salvageable. It’s a toy now. Good thing I didn’t toss the old one—the one I’ve used so much the letters are worn off the keys.

I spent too much money in the US, some of it on stuff that I then had no room to bring back. Because I was using the space on a broken keyboard and leaky pullups.

And the Meuchedet insurance which has still not paid us back about NIS 650 we are owed. But in order to deal with it, I have to deal with endless Hebrew, and I just… can’t.

I hate my OB and don’t know where to find anyone better. Dr. Nili Yannai doesn’t seem to exist anymore, or at least, none of the numbers I have for her work. Anyone?

I am ignoring my 26-week gestational diabetes screening, even though I’m almost 30 weeks. Every single day, there is something else that can’t be put off.

Two simchas in the kollel this week, with signup sheets posted for who’s bringing food. I can’t ignore it. I can’t deal.

Three days a week, I have to do all the afternoon pickups. This means pushing a stroller up The Hill. That is really, really hard right now.

It’s 2 am. Did I mention jetlag? Or that I have to be up in 5 hours?

I’m leaving out the good stuff, of course. There is good stuff. I just can’t see it right now.


Carolyn said...

I'm sorry you are having such a difficult time. Hopefully things will get better.

Anonymous said...

Oh, you poor, poor thing. I'm so sorry things are so awful for you right now. I can see you are working so hard and trying to do all the right things and it's so horribly frustrating and difficult and it's just not fair. And you're still supporting Em with tichels.

I have no useful suggestions and I can't send you anything that would help. (New diapers are too big to get to you reliably through mail, right?) I wish I could and if anything occurs to you that I could do that would help even a tiny bit I would be very glad to do it.

So all I've got is sympathy and supportive thoughts and strong hopes that things will get much better again, and soon.


Safranit said...

Oy! I can't even begin to help you with most things, but I figure if I even can help you with two or three, it is better than nothing, right?

Amanda Goldman is a wonderful Doula...she isn't frum, but she is openminded, knows her stuff

Keep crying in offices, that should help you move things forward.

I can't recommend an OB, because mine is away until January, and he ok (nothing special)

If you can find the time to go into the Gichon office about the water bill, and bring the bill showing you fixed the leak, they will often give you a discount (even up to 50%).

I think Shaarei Tzedek lets you register by fax...

I don't know if you shop at the shuk ,but there is a veggie vendor who is for people who are financially in go, fill you bag with everything you want and he gives you a very reasonable number. Write to me if you want directions. (We went there when we first made aliyah)

LC said...

{{{hugs}}} and best wishes, and hopes that things improve immensely, quickly, and stay that way.

persephone said...

i already gave my sorry excuses for helpful suggestions, so i'll just be here. listening.


Megan said...

I wish I had uber-helpful advice. All I can offer is prayer and recognition that you are working VERY hard to keep it all going. BH it will get better.

anonymous said...

Oh my. I will work on finding Nili Yanai's phone number. Her office is in the Wolfson Towers in Rechavia. I have a friend in Hashmonaim whose daughter used her. Will email now and get back to you.

anonymous said...

Ok--found it (I hope). Have you tried this number for Dr. Yanai?:

anonymous said...

And her address is 9 Diskin Street. Hope this helps. Sorry for making this message into 3 comments.