Two Bus Drivers

We went to visit some friends for Shabbat.  Since they don’t live in Jerusalem, we had to check when the last bus left.  There was a bus at 15:30, 15:50, 16:15, and 16:45.  We wanted to take the 15:30 bus.  It didn’t happen.

Instead, we got to the Central Bus Station at 16:20, just in time to pick something up for our hosts (we hadn’t managed to bake something), take a few minutes to sit, and board the last bus to our destination.  We saw the bus pull up and went out to meet it.  We were among the first people to reach the bus, which meant that we would have our choice of seats and be able to sit together.

egged bus, israel bus system, israel buses, egged, buses, public transportation, afula, bus routesAs we got on, the bus driver called out, “I’m going to Rishon L’Tzion, he’s (pointing to the bus to his right) going to Ramle.”  He turns to each passenger and asks where they need to go, telling some of them to go to the other bus.  I didn’t quite get it.  And I was even more confused when he told someone that he’s not stopping at Mishmar Ayalon, because I know that that’s one of his stops.  It’s true that as each passenger boards and pays, he tells the driver where he is headed and how many tickets he is buying, as well as whether or not he wants a round-trip ticket.  But the bus driver was really into it, asking everybody ahead of time and repeating his announcements over and over.

Then the driver closed the door and started pulling away.  As one last straggler ran to catch the bus, the driver opened the door and yelled out, “Leave with me, so you don’t get anyone who wants Rishon L’Tzion.”


What’s the number of the bus beside us?

Ahhh, it’s the same as ours.  Why are there two buses with identical routes and numbers leaving at the same time?  I have no idea.

But I do know what the driver was about: He and his friend decided that they wanted to finish their last route early that day and go home, and knew that the passengers also wanted to get where they were going faster.  After all, it was only a few hours before Shabbat.  So the two friends split the route between them, shortening both bus rides: The other bus would stop at every stop until Ramle, inclusive, and Ramle would be his last stop.  Our bus would not stop until we passed Ramle, even though we were traveling an identical route, but on the other hand, it would go to the end of its route, dropping off everyone who was traveling past Ramle.

It took fifteen to twenty minutes off our ride.  On the other hand, we went fast enough that Shlomo threw up – all over the nice young ladies opposite us who let him sit on their laps and “play” their game with them (translation: they played with him when he insisted on asking for their game).

Only in Israel . . .

My Glasses

glasses, eye exam, eyeglasses, toddlers, eye chart, broken glasses

I got my glasses a few weeks after Shlomo was born.  I don’t remember how my old ones broke.

Since I didn’t know what my prescription was, I had to do an eye exam.  A lot of stores will do the exam for free – as long as you buy glasses from them.  If you don’t end up buying glasses, you have to pay for the exam.

So I called a few places, found one that had reasonable prices, and went with little Shlomo to find glasses.  The problem, of course, was that I was not wearing glasses – which just made it more complicated.  We made it anyways.

I got my glasses and have been wearing them for over two years.

One day a few months ago, I took a shower.  No, really?  Yes, I got in the shower.  I locked the top lock on the front door so that Shlomo couldn’t get out and left him playing with his toys.

Shlomo came into the bathroom for a few minutes and then went back out.  About halfway through the shower it became kind of quiet – never a good sign.  I asked Shlomo to come to me, and he didn’t listen.  I asked again, and he didn’t listen.  Not a good sign at all.  I finished the shower and went out to see what was going on.

But when I stepped out of the tub, my glasses weren’t where I had put them.

“Shlomo, where are my glasses?”

Nope, he doesn’t come.

“Shloomo, Ima (Mommy) needs her glasses.  Did you take them?”  Then I saw something dark, two something darks , on the floor in the hall.  I heard Shlomo standing up and walking towards me.  I got there first.  As I had suspected, hose two something darks were my glasses.  The lenses with one earpiece attached, and the other earpiece separated from them.  And wouldn’t you know, he didn’t break it in a way that I could just put a twist-tie in and be done with it.

There is a little peg on the earpiece that goes into the part that holds the lenses.  This little piece is what you use those tiny screws to hold in.  Well, the screw and the peg that is close to it are in the part with the lenses.  The earpiece itself is whole, except for most of that little peg.  Which, of course, means that it’s very difficult, if not impossible, to fix (at least by myself).

And when I walked into the living room, I saw something else: He was playing with Jack’s medicines.

No wonder he had taken my glasses.  It was a pretty good distraction.

In the meantime, after I got over the frustration of being right after a shower (with little things like hanging the towel to dry still needing to be done), with no glasses, and the worry of whether he had eaten medicine, I taped my glasses back together.

They are still taped.  We (or rather, Yitzchak) redo the tape on them every week or two, because it keeps coming loose.

Then one morning, a few weeks ago, Yitzchak gave me my glasses, and I didn’t put them on right away, and fell back asleep.  So Shlomo climbed up and suddenly I felt something poking my face: Shlomo putting my glasses on my me.

Another time, I was in the shower and left my glasses on the toilet seat, one side folded, one side not (because it was taped and has to stay straight).  Shlomo took them, folded the second side, and put them on the back of the toilet.  Good intentions, bad results.  Yitzchak redid the tape.

But how can you get mad at a kid for trying to help?

The Table Is Not For Climbing On

And the computer is NOT a toy!

Nor is my new mouse.

Thank you.


Oh – and just by the way –

mercury thermometers

are not for playing with.

You might break it,

and then the mercury

will spill all over the floor.

Good thing I can manage

two days without it, huh?


Oh – and books –

even spiral-bound books –

are for reading,

not for taking the spirals out of.


You are one tough two-year-old.

Hopefully, soon, you will get over

your contradictory phase

and start playing with real toys,

instead of everything I tell you

NOT to play with.


In the meantime,

we love you.

Always have,

and always will.


So stay with us

for a very long time.*

Well, at least until

you grow up,

get married,

and have your own kids

who will drive you (and your wife) nuts.






*Do any of you know the book “Koala Lou, I DO love you”?

The Search For The Bread

bedikas chametz, bedikas chometz, bedikat chametz, bread crumbs, search for chametz, passover, pesach cleaning

The feather, candle, and spoon traditionally used for the search for chametz. In the bag are ten wrapped pieces of bread.

The night before Pesach (Passover), we do a search for chametz (leavened foods).  By this point, the house should already be clean, which means that we may not find any chametz.  What most people do is hide ten pieces of bread (or pasta, or cake) and then “find” them.

By the time we did the search, we had no bread left in the house.  Yitzchak insisted that we could still say a blessing for the search, because the main thing is the search itself, and not whether you find anything.  I told him to prove it, and he did.  We searched without having hid anything.

Turns out, Shlomo hid more than ten pieces for us.  Not necessarily that day, but in the months prior.  Yitzchak looked in all the little corners – between the closet and the wall, between the bottom drawer and the floor, and a million other places that are nearly impossible to reach without doing heavy-duty furniture moving.  He found more than ten pieces, just by getting into extraordinarily uncomfortable positions, without even moving the furniture.

I guess it doesn’t matter whether or not you hid the bread, as long as there’s a toddler in the house.

Ha! I Outsmarted You!

wooden door, doorOur bedroom door is about a centimeter too big for its frame.  It is also the only door that actually closes without any fiddling (which is fine, since we usually keep the living room door open, anyways; the bathroom door broke a month or so ago – different story – and we haven’t fixed it, but even prior to that, it wasn’t the easiest door).

Anyways . . . Shlomo likes to open and close the bedroom door.  If you pull it shut hard, it sticks in a way that he can’t open.  So, of course, some of the times that he pulls it closed, he pulls it too hard and then it gets stuck.

On a regular day, I don’t feel like either standing up every two minutes, or standing beside the door for half an hour to help him out.  Today, I am achy and sore and tired, and I certainly don’t have the energy for that.  Brilliant idea to the rescue!  (Why didn’t I think of this before?)






Put tape on over the part that keeps it shut!  So I took our roll of clear, wide, packing tape, and cut a long piece off it (which, of course, got tangled a bit, but not too badly).  I split the long piece into two good pieces and a few garbage pieces, and put the two good pieces in two layers over the little part that sticks out when the door is closed.  Presto!  He can slam it shut and still open it by himself!

I outsmarted my toddler!

On second thought, is that really something to be proud of?

Dolls Drink, Too

doll, soft-bodied doll, cloth doll, rag doll, pretend play, playing with dolls, play therapyShlomo knows how to open water bottles.  Thank G-d, this is not a skill that he has transferred to other screw-on caps yet, because we have empty sugar jars that hold: brown sugar, white sugar, barley, rice, flour, and cocoa.  I don’t even want to think what would happen if he unscrewed those.  No, I’m not going to think about it.  No.  I won’t.  I won’t.  No.  No.  No way.

Anyways, yesterday was a fast day.  Since I was fasting pretty well, I decided to do some shopping for Purim, instead of waiting until the last minute (Sunday) and doing it then.*  So I took a big water bottle, filled it up just more than halfway, and put together a bag of stuff to take with us.  Then I went to the bathroom, took a phone call from Yitzchak, and sat down to wait for my neighbor, Y., who we were going to go with.

While I was talking to Yitzchak, Shlomo took the water and started to drink.  Mind you, I am pro drinking water.  But Shlomo has started to dump the water and play with it, and I just didn’t have the energy.  So when I noticed that he wasn’t really drinking, I took the bottle away, cleaned him (and the mess) up, put the bottle in my backpack and zipped it up.

Guess what happened next?  Yeah, that’s right.

He unzipped the backpack, took out the water bottle, saw that his doll was also in the backpack (we were getting ready to go, remember?), and took her out, too.  Then he went back to drinking water, while I kept an eye on him from a distance.

When I turned around two minutes later, I saw a large puddle of water on the floor.  In fact, it looked like almost half a water bottle’s worth of water (if you remember, I filled the 1.5 liter bottle up just more than halfway).

“Shlo-mo!  Oh, no!  What are you doing?”

I visually follow the trail of water to its source, Shlomo, taking in the extent of the mess.  And then I see that he didn’t dump it.  Or, at least, he didn’t dump it for the sake of dumping it, or for the sake of playing with it.

“Yeah?  Yeah?  Mmmm?”  he asks.  As if to say, “She’s not drinking it, can you help me make her drink?”

Because he wasn’t dumping water.  He had laid his doll on the floor and was giving her water to drink.  And since it wasn’t working, he kept doing it.  When I came into the room, he asked for help.

Doll was dripping (or, as I said, peeing, and we all know that too much water makes you pee a lot), and Shlomo was soaking, right down to his shoes.

Doll didn’t come with us – she went in the dryer with the white load that was already there.  And Shlomo wore his too-small sandals for the trip (not uncomfortable, because they’re sandals, but it makes me feel bad).

But how can I be angry that he gave the doll a drink?



*Jerusalem celebrates Shushan Purim, which is a day later than the regular Purim.  Purim falls out on Sunday this year.  We lucky ducks celebrate on Monday.  Since [regular] Purim on Sunday means that the fast day before it would be Shabbat (Saturday, the Jewish Sabbath), it was pushed up to Thursday.  Everyone fasts the same day, regardless of which Purim is celebrated in their city.

Whose Money Is It?

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Yesterday morning, when I put Shlomo in his booster to eat breakfast, he saw some money on the table.  He pointed to the coins, then picked one of them up and handed it to me.  “Ab-ba!  Abba!”

Meaning, this coin is Abba’s (Daddy’s) and either Abba forgot it, or it fell out of his pocket or wallet.  In fact, it was bus fare that Yitzchak had left for me in case I had to go somewhere, so that I wouldn’t have to use the [big] bill in my wallet (and so that I would still have bus fare if the bus driver didn’t want to give me change for such a big bill).

Little chauvinist!  What, only Abba has money??  Don’t you know that I help earn the money, and that we make all financial decisions together?  Why do you think all money is Abba’s?

I know why: Because Abba goes to the store for last-minute items.  And even though I also do grocery shopping, and run errands, Abba does it more frequently.  Abba is the one whose pockets always have a couple agurot (pennies) in them (my money stays in my wallet).  So, money is for Abba.

Sigh.  Oh, well.  He’ll understand when he gets older . . . right?

Battery – Flipped?

cell pjhone batteries, batteries, replacement batteries, cell phones, chargers, phonesCall me dumb, but when I need a few minutes, I take them any way I can.  Okay, so not any way . . .

One of my neighbors (H.) needed an emergency babysitting favor, so I did it.  Her baby is 8.5 months old, and was not at all happy to be left in the house of someone who she only knew as an acquaintance, without her mommy.  She cried when I held her, she cried when I didn’t.  She cried when she sat on my lap and when I put her over my shoulder.  In short, it was one tough hour.

And then, after she was picked up, Shlomo wanted me to do something that he refused to explain.  Turn the toy on?  No.  Turn it off?  No.  Play with it?  No.

So I gave him my cell phone for a few minutes so that I could de-stress.  It had had a low battery, so when I looked for it a few minutes later, after Shlomo had started playing with something else, I wasn’t surprised that it was off.  Of course, the natural thing to do is to charge it – right?

The back was off, which was no surprise, because it doesn’t fit quite right, so I put it back on, and plugged in the phone.  Nothing.  No picture of a battery filling and emptying and filling again on the black screen.  I try to turn the phone on.  Nothing.  So I figure that I have to push the battery down a bit (the guy who fixed it had to fiddle around with the battery and change it a bit, because for some reason this battery isn’t the one the phone needs to be using).

You know what I find?  The battery is in upside-down and backwards.  Yes, you read right: The battery was in upside down, and backwards.  Or maybe just upside down.  Either way, the spot with the stripes that is supposed to meet the gold spikes was facing up, not down.  And yes, I’m pretty sure it was on the right side instead of the left.

Do you know what that means?  It means that Shlomo took the battery out (or the battery fell out) and then he put it back in.  Which, of course, is hilarious.

It took me about a minute and a half to finally get the battery out of where he’d stuck it, and then I plugged it in and saw the battery-charging picture.  I guess the phone isn’t too much worse for the wear . . .

Don’t Back Down

phone technician, fix phone, cellphone, iphone, smartphone, phone, office phone, phone companies, phone techsAs you know, we have been having problems with our phone and internet.  We finally, thank G-d, got someone to help us fix the problem.  Hopefully, this will be the end of the phone/internet trouble saga.

It is fixed.  Mostly.  It is still cutting out, and still turning off intermittently.  There is one more little section of wire that has to be fixed, and hopefully, it will be fixed on Sunday.  Please G-d, we will not have any more problems like this, nor any worse.  Honestly, as harrowing and stressful as these past few months of phone troubles have been, even though it has cost us stress and a bit of money, it could have been worse.  There are much, much worse problems to have than these.  I pray that the stress that we went through with our phone line filled our quota, and that we won’t have to worry about worse things.  Because, in the long run, phones are phones, and health, life, day-to-day finances, and family are all much more important.

But why the title of this post?  Because of this:

When I went to set up the tech appointment with the secretary, she put the two technicians on the line, with each other.  After a few minutes, she put it on speaker.  It was hilarious.  You could hear the two technicians yelling at each other, arguing, blaming, and somehow having a decent discussion.

It reminded me of the street we lived on before we moved on campus.  It was a two-way street that could only fit one car down the middle.  Actually, it could fit two or three, but one side of the street was legal parking, and the other side was used as parking illegally, and no one cared.  So, it could usually only fit one car at a time.  There were sections where two cars could pass, but they were few and far between.

When two cars going in opposite directions would meet, the drivers would honk at each other.  Obviously, no one moved, because in Israel, you are not allowed to be  a “fryer” (a weakling).  Then they would start yelling at each other, each threatening to call the police.  They got out of their cars, screamed at each other, and called the cops.  In the meantime, traffic piled up behind them.  Eventually, before the police came, and often before they were called, one of the drivers would decide that he needed to get to his destination, and would allow the other driver to pass.  Mind you, if these drivers had met anywhere else, they would have been friends.  And if they meet in the grocery store, after the incident, they will still be friends.  But, you are not allowed to back down.

This is what the technicians’ phone conversation reminded me of.  When the tech guys came, they worked together for over an hour and a half.  Really, why should they fight?  They’re both phone technicians, working on a job and getting paid for it; they’re working together, in the cold, for the same reason.  Neither felt the responsibility was his, but both are working on it, and so each can take comfort in the fact that he’s not working alone.  As a matter of fact, the first tech to come called the other guy, who was late, and say, “Brother (achi), what’s up?  Where are you?”  Then, when he found out that there was a delay, he got upset and asked why he wasn’t informed earlier.  But he took the conversation outside, because it’s not nice to scream at someone in front of other people.  And when he came back in, he wasn’t angry at all.

Israelis don’t back down.  There’s a tough love.  We’re brothers.  Sure, you fight with your brother.  But at the end of the day, he’s your brother, and you love him, and will help him no matter what.  So, Israelis don’t back down.  So what?