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Monthly Archives: May 2012

Yesterday’s, Today’s and Tomorrow’s Excuse

I can’t think, or do anything, because I’m so uncomfortable.

And then comes the baby, and there’s no time to think or do anything.

I have new respect for J.K. Rowling for completing Harry Potter while having and raising children.

I’ll bet her secret is magic.

(or a lot of money for housekeeping and nannies)

 
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Posted by on May 30, 2012 in Slice of Life

 

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Take it From Me

Kach es Sheli, from Avrhom Fried’s new album has got me thinking, and once again recognizing the pathos of my mindset.

He sings,

“Rebono Shel Olma, Ani Yodeiah, ShBais Hamikdahs Hashlishi aino bunoi mei avanim, hu vunoi me demaos, v’im cul ma shatah tzaruch rok dmaah achas, kach es sheli”

Creator of this world, I know that the third Bais Hamekdsh is not being built from stones, but from tears. And if all that you need is one more tear, take it from me.

When I listen to it, I feel inspired, like I can do this, we are close, redemption is near, and I can be a part of it.
But then I look around at my life. I sit and complain all day, about the smallest the thing. The driver that doesn’t know to ease into the intersection when making a left turn, the secretary that misplaced my papers – again. When it takes me more than thirty seconds to decide what to make for supper, when my kid gives me a run for my money when I try to change his diaper.

Kach Es Sheli?

Who am I kidding. I can barely handle day to day stresses gracefully, appreciatively, what nerve do I have asking Hashem to make me cry for my benefit. I’m not even appreciating the tears he gives me on a regular basis, am I an idiot? A glutton for punishment, asking for more?

It’s a beautiful song, but if I’m very honest with myself – that Kach Es Sheli – let him take Avrhom Fried because, well, I’m a baby who cries from everything, but I’m not an idiot who attempts a muscle to look strong and says “punch me” hoping the other person won’t take me seriously.

 
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Posted by on May 22, 2012 in Musings

 

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60 Second to a Minute

Alarm clock

Alarm clock (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

I’m coming to appreciate how lazy I am.

Of late, there have been a few songs sporting the lyrics
“Hayom Kutzer Vehamelacha meruba, vhapoalim atzeivah v’haschar harbei, ubaal habeis dochek”

Roughly translating to,

“The day is short, there’s a lot of work, the workers are lazy, the payoff is great and the owner is concerned.”

It’s a metaphor to this world and the world to come and man is lazy. (for those of you not religiously or literary inclined)

I don’t know why these lyrics are generally matched with catchy tunes, but I find myself hearing them very often – mostly in the form of A.K.A. Pella’s new album, and I’d like to think that they thought for a moment or two about the words that they chose for the song, so I in turn should consider them – and I did – and am.

Now, while I know I have lazy tendencies, I’m not usually slapped in the face with them.

Three weeks ago I was offered a tutoring job that would go through June. I wanted the job, it was a high school girl, with issues right up my alley. My only hesitation though was the time – 9:15 to 11:15 in the morning. I usually didn’t even look groggily at my alarm clock (with no alarm set) until 9:30. How would I possibly manage to pull myself together: up, dressed, fed, ditto for kid, drop off the kid, and be someplace 15 minutes before I even ordinarily scowled properly at the coming day. And besides, a woman in her 8th month doesn’t have that much energy to spare, right?

The money was good though, and with the summer coming, and no jobs, but a baby scheduled, I couldn’t just pass it up.

“I’ll try it out.” I told my husband. “See how it works, how I feel.”

And reassuringly he said,

“Whatever you decide, it’s your decision, I’m good either way.”

So, I took the job, secure in my husband’s support and my option to back out. Two weeks later, I’m ashamed. Did I seriously wake up that late every day? Did my day really not start until I left to teach around two? Was it possible that I never stepped outside, or ran an errand until I had to leave to teach. What was I doing with my time?

Yes, breakfast with my kid was an entire morning’s affair, so was getting him dressed, and changing his diaper. It was leisurely, bordering on lazy, nah, let’s be honest, it was lazy. Now it’s astonishing what I can accomplish in 45 minutes these mornings. And come 11:15 I’ve already achieved, and I’m up and about, doing things I previously felt I had NO TIME for (like I’d constantly tell my husband). My day is profitable (literally and figuratively) at a time where I’m generally wishing I could put my kid in for an early nap. Its horrifying to discover at my age that I actually have the capability to be efficient, and even worse, I might actually be a morning person after all.

My husband too – he’s davening at an earlier minyan so he can still see me in the morning, and I drop him off at yeshiva a 45 minutes before seder even starts (about half hour before he’s usually there). It’s almost a shame the amount of prime parking spots I pass while dropping him off. And he’s learning more, writing more, accomplishing more – in a day that both of us thought had no time in it.

And now I’m left wondering, how much work have I left undone in the field? How much will I have to answer for? Yes, I may have accomplished, but I’m learning that I’m capable of a lot more. How many more hours will I discover in my day, and how soon will I unearth them?

The day is short, there’s a lot of work, and sometimes this worker is not lazy, though the owner’s still concerned.

 
9 Comments

Posted by on May 15, 2012 in Musings, Slice of Life

 

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Begging For Validation

 

I never answer my door – unless I know you’re coming. Someone can bang away all they’d like, if I wasn’t informed of your arrival, I’ll become selectively deaf to your hammering. If you really want me to open the door, just call my house, tell me your standing there waiting for me, and I’ll be ever so gracious.

Seems really rude, I know. But I have my reasons (whether you agree with them or not)
1) The only people knocking on my door who I’m not expecting are collectors
2) I don’t keep any cash in the house
3) I think it’s an easier let down to think no one is home, than to be told they have nothing for you

It’s not a big deal, really. Most collectors will knock once or twice and leave if there’s no response. The problem arises when the collectors are not bona-fide meshulachim, with shtars from the Vaad, but when they come in a more miniature and menacing form – children.

Kids are the worst. They knock – persistently. They don’t wait, pause, give you moment to walk across your kitchen to receive them; it’s just knock – knockknockknock – knockknock –knockknockknockknock. And they don’t leave if you don’t answer the door. They peer into windowshades and start knocking all over again. Also, they’re generally neighborhood children, so they know my car, and whether they saw me leave or enter my home recently. You’d think they’d pick up after 3 years that I don’t answer the door. But they are a dogged bunch.

You know what, even if I did keep cash in my house to pass out when benevolence strikes me, I wouldn’t give to children. And further, I don’t intend to allow my children to collect. It may be standard procedure in Lakewood, I just think it’s bad chinuch.

The position of a meshulach, to have to go door to door to procure necessary funds is degrading. It’s embarrassing, and is only undertaken in the most dire of circumstances. And so it should be. To just ask of another person, another person in which you have no regard for each other, is the epitome of taking – and if the most Godly behavior is giving, then taking in such a manner is its contrast, and thereby ungodly.

My question is, why are school, organizations and parents encouraging children to engage in such behavior. Yes, I suppose in many cases the causes are worthy, but do you want to teach your children to just ask a random stranger for money, to take away the human mortification of the deed, and further embed it into their sociological structure of acceptable behavior? There are other ways to encourage a child to fundraise for a worthy cause without them soliciting door to door.

And then there’s this story.

I was on the phone with my sister while it happened so I can attest to its veracity. Her 6 year old daughter came over to her and requested 11 dollars.

“Why do you need 11 dollars?” my sister asked suspiciously. “Is this for a school trip of project?”

“No,” her daughter replied simply, “It’s for Rochel.”

“Why do you have to give 11 dollars to Rochel?”

“She’s collecting for Organization Blank Blank”

My sister got a litter confused here,

“Why does she need 11 dollars specifically?” my sister asked, voice rising, getting slightly indignant, “I can give her whatever amount I see fit.”

“Well, she want the Gameboy prize, and she needs 11 dollars.” My niece answered plainly.

My sisters eyes popped (I’m assuming they popped, I didn’t see her, but I know her expressions)
“You can give her 25 cents –from your own money!”

And my niece, totally not following what happened, stated simply,

“But she needs 11 dollars.”

My sister then put her hand on her hip and wagged her index finger at her daughter (once again, just speculating here), and said sternly,

“I’m not giving tzedakah, so Rochel can get a prize. If she wants a Gameboy, let her parents buy for her, I’m not sponsoring it, especially not with my tzedakah money.”

I’m not sure if my niece understood the message, but she definitely grasped her mother’s tone of voice and dutifully walked away.

“Did you hear that?” My sister asked me, returning to our conversation. “The chutzpah!”

And I agree.

 

So, would you let your child go door to door collecting?

 
10 Comments

Posted by on May 7, 2012 in Parenting, Slice of Life

 

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