Monthly Archives: August 2008

Behavior Modification

A social experiment: It is too damn hot, so I venture out in a short summer dress and sandals (heels).  Suddenly, all the guys are being polite, helpful, and providing nice service.  Sheesh!  It isn’t as though I’m a cute little 20-something-year-old!  What a stupid way to trigger behavior modification in the male population. 

Mostly, I’m happy to have accomplished so many annoying errands:

  • post office
  • auto test (boy, is my car clean!  I mean really clean!  The emissions for CO2 were almost zero!)
  • accountant
  • misrad hapanim (department of the interior, if you will)
  • bank
  • spice market
  • gas station
  • something needed for my trip

While standing in line in various places, I managed to make three calls and get a few more things sorted out.

Considering that there are days when you can’t get anything on your list accomplished, this was great!

Office Doggies

Woof!  I drop Terri off at doggy daycare and head over to a new client for an afternoon of training.  Imagine my surprise to see an assortment of dogs wandering around the office.  I could have taken Terri with me!  She would have loved the company.  But she wasn’t totally left out, because she got to make a new friend this evening: Prince, a massive (40 kilo) Alsatian who is not yet one year old.  Prince and Terri ran around the park for a while like a couple of goofballs.

Such service!  The dryer guy shows up on Thursday, late.  He doesn’t have the part with him.  “I needed a part?” he asks.  When I suggest that he check the records, he stops and reads the form on his clipboard.  “Oooohhhh.”  He promises that someone will come out Monday morning.  Of course, they never show up.  At 12:30, when I am pulling into my client’s parking lot, I get a call from (a different) dryer guy.  He’s miffed that I’m not there.  “But it is still morning until 13:00!” he complains.  What, we’re on a different time dimension than everyone else, so that 1:00 PM is morning?  Sheesh.

Such service (part 2): I get an odd call at 18:00.  I am desperately trying to do a few things at once, and it is clearly a wrong number, so I’m a bit curt.  The guy calls back and asks who he’s talking to.  “Who are you trying to call?” I counter.  Turns out that he is “delivering something” from Bezeq and wandering around outside, unable to find the address.  After much discussion, it becomes clear that he has some sort of “package” that all new Bezeq customers get.  I’m not a new customer, but I moved, so that must be it.  “Can you come down?” he asks.  I finally get him to leave “the package” at the entrance of the building.  It turns out to be a small potted plant and more Bezeq promotional literature.  Hey, how about this: when you invest millions of shekels in an ad campaign to convince people that you have changed and are offering good service, how about not having rude, unprofessional clods deliver the damn things?

The Secret of Success

Finding more cool stuff:  As I go through over a month of email backlogs (server down, connection down, etc.), I keep finding cool stuff sent in by friends and readers.  This article by Dr. Farrukh Saleem, a Moslem journalist in Islamabad, is worth reading.  Hat tip to MD, who adds, “This guy is dead.”  I hope not, but I know what he means: there is probably already a fatwah out on the poor bastard.

No More Medals

Well, I think it is all over for us: Most of our athletes have had their turns.  The women’s group gymnastics (atistic rope, or whatever the hell it is called) is over.  The group had a bad performance in the preliminaries, but pulled it together here for a respectable sixth place finish.  (Since some of you overseas couldn’t see the previous Ynet news feed, there may be problems with this, as well.  Good luck.)

This ‘n That

Cleaning out the closets: Or the email folders…  finding some interesting stuff along the way.

Terri goes naughty: Worst of All Possible Terriers wages war on another roll of toilet paper this morning.  I discover a blizzard in the living room.  Naughty Doggy is unrepentant, even when exiled to the balcony while I clean up. Oi!

Kol haKavod, Shahar!

We get a bronze medal: Check it out.  (Click the video link on the right.  The sports announcers are Israeli, so they go a little nuts when Shahar Tzogeri clinches third place in the windsurfing competition in Beijing.)  I like the way some of the Israelis there watching run into the water and carry the whole damn board out!

IKEA Must Die

Are those stigmata on your palm, or have you been assembling IKEA furniture?  The damn stuff arrives yesterday, finally.  Those bastards don’t even offer me any kind of chuparim to make up for the three week delay.  Still, it is here, so I gleefully start unpacking.

I start with the little coffee table, which is simplicity itself.  Then it is on to my office work surface, and that, too, is quite simple.  Then I start on the dining room table.  Oi, gevalt.

First, the darn thing is quite complicated, because it has extension leaves and a gazillion parts.  But what stops me in my tracks is that I actually don’t have enough physical strength to screw the pieces together.  There are several wood screws that are supposed to go into partially pre-drilled holes, but I can’t get them in.  After lots of sweat, huffing and puffing, and the start of two spectacular blisters on my palm, I give up and call a friend.  It takes the two of us to hours to do the table and the sleeper-bed chair thing. 

By the end, one of the blisters has ruptured, leaving a raw, red spot smack dab in the middle of my right palm.  I’m thinking that the first case of stimata might actually have been a devout Catholic trying to assemble some IKEA furniture without power tools. 

Time for some thank-yous: Yes, it is way overdue, but here is a partial list of those wonderful people who helped me through this period of shiputzim and moving:

  • Leah S: Rose petals tossed in your general direction for peeling wallpaper, spackling, hanging shelves, drilling holes, assembling IKEA furniture, making me laugh, and generally keeping me from slitting my wrists.
  • Gilah S: A gold medal for peeling wallpaper, scrubbing, prepping, more scrubbing, baling me out with a much-needed card table, and offering some excellent advice.
  • Cathy T: Assorted virtual chocolates for offering extended doggy daycare during shiputzim, plus accompanying me on that grueling and painful IKEA shopping experience (and keeping me from inflicting serious bodily harm on several IKEA employees).
  • Renee R: A sweaty hug for lending me you furniture, your kids, and helping me hang pictures.
  • Alex T: I grovel at your feet.  As Der Spachtel Meister who did more to help prep the walls and fix electrical stuff, you deserve at least a Nobel Prize in shiputzim.

There’s still more to do, but it is already a real home, rather than an empty shell of an apartment.  It is clean, fresh, and pleasant, and I thank all of you from the bottom of my heart.  Also thanks to all of my friends who kept me sane via phone calls, email, and just good thoughts!

Not So Cuddly

Still think that they’re cute and sweet?  Terri goes nuts every time she sees shefan selah (hyrax) on our walks.  From a distance, they look like marmots or big, lumpy guinnea pigs.  But want to see what they really look like?

Still not scary enough?  How about this guy:

They are supposedly herbivores, but…  Here’s more hyrax facts than you’ll ever need to know.

Only in Israel

It’s all negotiable: My makif (comprehensive auto insurance) goes up 10%, which makes no sense.  The car is a year older, yes?  “There are more of those cars stolen,” they tell me.  Oh, really?  A little Suzuki Ignis that is so small, you can’t even cram three goats into it?  (Inside joke: it is common practive in the rural areas for thieves steal a car, then use it to rustle goats or sheep, totally trashing the car.)  I make a fuss and they drop the price.  Yes, even car insurance is negotiable.

Muddling along together: On one of my super-early morning outings with Terri, I pass three Arab women going in the opposite direction on the walking path. They are totally shrouded in their costumes, but must have thought that I was the one who looked ridiculous (shorts, tank top, running shoes).  They wouldn’t give me or Terri eye contact, but they are neighbors, either from one of the Bedouin encampments or one of the Arab villages.  Then there goes some family in their hi-tech spandex running gear.  In one walk, I hear Hebrew, Arabic, Russian, Spanish, English, and French.  Gotta love the mix.

Huckabee sounds rational?  Yup, only in Israel.  On a whirlwind visit to Israel, Huckabee was interviewed about his thoughts on Israel, the Palestinians, and the Middle East.  I was expecting more idiotic sound bites, but he actually sounded like he had done his homework. 

The BezeqInt parrot goes large?  Looks like the obnoxious parrot in our ads, but here he is popping up in an Indian condom campaignHat tip to Northern LS.

Seen on the road:I get passed by a small car crammed with… goats.  At least it isn’t an Ignis…

Nicely Naughty

Miss Dogness goes to work: I take Terri to the office on Wednesday.  Other than drooling excessively in both my car and the boss’s car (after he graciously picked us up from the mechanic’s where my car was in for service), she settled down and was a little angel in the office.  (She’s a nervous passenger; I hope that she grows out of that soon.)  Her coat, still fresh and sweet-smelling from a recent shampoo, won her plenty of compliments, as did her polite behavior and friendly demeanor.  But don’t be fooled.  There is still a naughty puppy lurking under that curly coat:

  • Any rolls of toilet paper, paper towels, napkins, kleenex, or odd papers left lying around get chewed into tiny shreds.
  • Particularly yummy treats are carried out of the food bowl and over to the sofa, where they are enjoyed with the maximum amount of crumbs and mess.  (Thank goodness the darn thing has been scotch-guarded to within an inch of its life.)
  • The stray cats that live near the dumpsters make her lunge frantically.
  • All dogs make her go nuts (she wants to play with them).  She cannot tell the difference between friendly and deadly.  She lunges at them happily, hoping for a game. 
  • Toys are frequently dropped in the water dish.
  • Four AM is apparently a great time to jump on the bed and roll around, kick her legs in the air, and make wuffling sounds.

Of course, after any of these naughty things, she gazes at me with those big brown eyes and manages to look guilty and adorable at the same time.