Tuesday, June 10, 2008

Whirlwind Weekend

The title today is both literal and figurative. I was afraid to sit at my computer any earlier because of the violent weather that has been going on for some time, but for the last hour,  the thunder that I am hearing seems to be quite distant, so I decided to brave being electrocuted at the keyboard.

The air-conditioning story is one I am happy to relate. We had purchased a whole-house appliance insurance through our mortgage company when the one-year warranty on our new heating/air-conditioning unit expired last year.  In lieu of paying the exorbitant fees we had been paying to ensure speedy repair in case our heating or air-conditioning broke down, we opted for a policy that costs approximately $40 per month and covers all our appliances. The company can be reached 24/7 and was very responsive. When their recommended serviceman could not get to us immediately, they allowed us to choose our own serviceman. Saul found the company we used through Craig's List. On Friday morning, the serviceman called at 10:30 to reassure us that he would arrive at 11:00 a.m. as he had promised. He showed up on time and luckily for us, discovered the leak in the system within minutes, and was able to repair it within an hour. He was polite, knowledgeable, and efficient. The contract requires us to pay a $60 deductible. The job cost $763.00, mostly because the freon which had leaked out of the system costs $21.00 per pound. We needed 19 pounds to replace that which had leaked out. Our air-conditioning was operating beautifully within 2 hours.

Saul and I made dinner, which was fresh-baked challah, strawberry soup, hydroponic lettuce with Russian dressing, vegetable lasagna, homemade blintzes and chocolate chip cookies. Jessica arrived with the girls by 5:30 p.m. and we were all pleasantly surprised that she made such good time traveling here on a Friday afternoon. Larry and Beth joined us and we had a wonderful and cool dinner.

Saturday we skipped going to synagogue services. We were all exhausted from the excitement of getting everything ready for the girls to come for the summer and we were going to be at synagogue every other day. We slept late and Beth joined us for a late lunch at 2:00 p.m. of leftover lasagna, etc. Ari arrived from DC at little after that. We decided to take the girls to the swim club late in the afternoon to avoid the crowds. Ari stayed behind with Mom to catch up with some work before leaving for San Francisco on business on Monday. We did not take Mom with us because the temperatures were in the upper 90s. As it turned out, we were very glad we didn't. She slept most of the afternoon and Ari did not even see her.

When we returned and we were having pizza for dinner, we went to get Mom from her room and found that she was extremely ill and refusing to eat. I managed to get some ginger tea with honey into her and then a glass of orange juice thinking she was having a sugar low from not eating. She seemed to feel a little better after the liquids, but when I called my sister, Adele, she said that Mom had been telling her all week that she didn't feel very well. We decided to take Mom to the hospital to be checked out because she is 86. Adele came over and it took the two of us and a phone call from our brother to convince her to cooperate. Jess put the girls to bed, Saul brought the car to the door and we left in two cars so that Adele could drive herself home from the hospital. Mom was moaning in the car on the way there. They took her after only a few minutes in the busy emergency room. By 12:30 a.m. we were all surprised to find out that she has pneumonia. After that, we sent Adele home and waited to see mom put into a room. By 2:00 a.m., we gave up and went home. They said they might assign her in the next five minutes or that it might take hours. She insisted that she would be okay and that we get some sleep. That finally happened around 3:00 a.m. In the morning we worked it out so that I got there at 9:30 a.m. with Ari to give her breakfast, Ken and Randi relieved me at 11:00 a.m. and Adele and Aunt Ruth relieved them at 1:00 p.m. Mom was happy with her nurses in the evening, so the first day went okay.

When Ari and I returned home, we all began packing up the food for the Rap for Israel Party. Beth came over to help and we were loaded and ready to go by 2:30 p.m. right on schedule. Ari  and I went to Produce Junction where we bought beautiful blue and white flowers for the tables--hydrangea, mini carnations, baby's breath, and some deep blue composite flowers I have never seen before. We also bought red and green seedless grapes, apricots, and bananas. Then, we went across the street and bought lots of ice. It was another day of temperatures in the high 90's.

When Ari and I arrived at the synagogue, the preparations were in full swing. Jess, Beth and Saul had almost completed laying out all the food beautifully. Ari said that he overheard some Israelis at the party saying it was the most varied array of authentic Israeli food they had seen in one place in the United States. It turned out to be just the right amount of food even though the crowd was bigger than expected (about 85). We had a blast dancing Israeli-style with the kids to the music by Rak-Dan, and a few people had well-prepared themselves to perform a "Rap for Israel." The sign of a good party--people hung around past the announced ending time until the Rabbi had to announce that it was time to begin the Shavuot service. Jess left with the kids, and Ari drove back to DC. Saul and I with the help of the caretaker, Sam, and some other congregants cleared everything away, rearranged the tables for the 45 who stayed, and laid out dinner on the buffet  tables. After dinner, we participated in a study session in which Rabbi Addison provided some readings from the Zohar that helped us form a philosophical connection between Israel as a physical and spiritual State and the Torah as a balancing factor enabling humankind to reach a more perfected and Godly universe. I know this sounds rather obscure, but you had to have been there. I have tried to boil down a two-hour discussion into a few words.

We arrived home around 11:00 p.m., again exhausted, but pleased with the happiness our efforts had created. When I spoke with Mom early the next morning, she insisted she was leaving the hospital no matter what the doctors said. Within a few hours, she had been worn down by the shots, tests, bad food, unfamiliar medications given at all hours, and interrupted sleep. I had Saul and Jess drop me off there on their way to services. She was more rational by the time I arrived and we were both thrilled when the doctor agreed that she could go home with antibiotics in pill form. We talked for a few hours until Saul and Jess came after services to pick us up. We had lunch together at home, napped briefly, and I cleaned up the mess left by the hectic weekend. The kids fell asleep watching movies in our bed after dinner and we moved them into their own and went to sleep relatively early.

This morning, we went to services, which included Yizkor today, leaving Mom behind to rest. The girls were beautiful and well-behaved and I was so proud that they obviously know their prayers and are comfortable performing them on the bima. We rushed home to Mom, who was okay, and had lunch. Mid-afternoon, Jessica finished packing and left for Baltimore. We all napped and after dinner, we took the girls to ride on the carousel at Plymouth Meeting Mall and bought them a soft pretzel to share on the ride home. The last mile of the journey home was a bit scary as the weather became suddenly violent and huge trees were tossing around in the wind. Most of my trees in pots on the deck have been blown over, but I will not deal with the mess until morning. The worst seems to be over for now. I hope the temperature has dropped to something reasonable.

When I checked my email this evening, the new Legal Technology News had arrived electronically bearing the second article that Ari has now had published. The article is the second one under "Features" and is titled, "Transforming Roles." He had to quit his job at the end of December with one of the largest law firms in the world in order to have the first one published, so we are all  extremely pleased and excited to see the second article in print. He loves the new job he began in March and they are extremely supportive of his writing efforts. He will be flying back from San Francisco tomorrow morning.

I think I had better sign off now. The girls get up very early in the morning and I can't wait for all the fun to begin if only I can muster the energy to keep up with them.


Ari said...

I can't help but feel partially responsible for the bad hospital food, since it was I who filled in the menu selections on Sunday...

sabasenders said...

Ari, she was glad that you did order. She told me you ordered almost every thing that was on the menu. This gave her a nice array to choose from. That made her very happy.
When Marilyn says "When their recommended serviceman could not get to us immediately" the service man's time of availability was, next week possibly Friday. The insurance person replied. That will not do. We were about to get 3-4 days of up to 100*F. Therefore, she said find someone on your own and check with us for approval.
The hospital run brought back scary memories of last year. The Israel 60 party was incredible. The family strikes again. Maybe we should have stayed in catering? NOT! The room looked nice and Sami and Izzy had a fantastic time.
After two days of services Jessica’s comment to me was “maybe we are not advertizing the synagogue properly. It should be sold as return to what shool was like when you were a child. Remember the old nigunim and wonderful sermons? Do you miss them? We still have them come join us.”