Wednesday, July 30, 2008

Twice Dead (that's sort of like doubly screwed instead of twipply skwood)

I had a beta fish once named Alef who died twice. About a year after he had surpassed the life expectancy for beta fish, he died the first time. He floated on his side on the top of the tank for days, and I declared him dead. A couple days after I declared Alef dead, he righted himself and a had a second, shorter life.

I'm hoping the same thing happens to my computer. It's dead. Again. And so I'm trying to post on my kids' little Apple laptop. The catch is, the Apple doesn't let me do almost ANYTHING, including log onto blogger. So how am I posting this? Beats the heck out of me. I'm probably not; the Apple ate my last post.

But enough about computer problems - let me tell you about that guy o' mine and why he's the greatest. Not only did he show me all his favorite boobies in Washington (I'd post a link, but the Apple doesn't let me do that either) and teach my son about microwaving Peeps (another lost link opportunity), but he also taught my boy to dry a wishbone with a hairdryer. 'Cause who the heck can stand to wait a day or two for a wish???

While my boy was learning about instant gratification and alternate uses for common household appliances, I learned something too. I learned that if you get a wild hair (pun intended) and decide to give a ten year old boy a hairdryer that belongs to someone who actually cares about her hairdryer, you want him operating it over carpet and not tile. Not to worry though, Razor's daughter still has a fully functioning hair dryer. Somehow. And no thanks to my son.

OKAY! Well there WOULD have been a picture here of my boy drying a wishbone with a hairdryer if my computer hadn't died. I had other pictures to post too, but they're trapped in the guts of my computer, which has been shipped off to wherever it is that Compaqs go to gasp their last dying breath (for the second time).

Meanwhile I am here, opening the CD drive on the Apple for the 6121th time, because it happens to sit right where the Compaq's delete key would be.

Update to my unposted post: The Apple obviously didn't let me post, nor does it let me comment on anyone else's blogs. I can still read the comments though, so if you have anything mean to say, now would be the time: I can't actually respond. But the good news is that my computer death was under warranty. So it should be back to life in the near future!

Monday, July 21, 2008

The Bathrooms of Israel, Part 824 (and the last)

This is why Razor has my son pegged for an engineer: the kid was the only one who could figure out how to flush the toilet in the first hotel where we stayed in Israel.

Ok, so it's one of the reasons. And probably not the best one since although I'm not altogether sure of an engineer's exact day to day job description, I somehow doubt that they're called upon very often to figure out how to flush toilets. Even foreign toilets with funny flushers.

In my defense the flushy thing, while in plain view, looked some sort of tissue dispenser. It was similar to this flushy thing:except the two buttons fit together to form an oval and the oval wasn't actually part of the toilet but was part of the counter over the toilet. It just never even occurred to me to push on a tissue dispenser to get a toilet to flush.

I won't mention where I took the above picture, because as it turns out cameras weren't actually allowed in that building. The important thing to notice is that there are TWO flushy buttons, a high flush and a low flush.

The flushy thing on this one looks just like a US toilet, except that there are two handles, a high and a low flush:And then on this last one you can see the flushy thing on top of the toilet, although it's hard to tell there's a high and a low flush:Actually, the shape of the buttons on that one is very similar to the flushy buttons that confused my daughter and I so much that we needed a potential engineer to help us flush a toilet, but you must understand that the buttons weren't attached to the toilet itself, so we aren't as inept as...okay! Okay. So we were spectacularly inept at flushing a toilet. Whatever.

As I understand it, the high and low flush is designed to save water but there was only ONE toilet I where I could tell a real difference between the high and the low flush, and that was only because the low flush flat out didn't work.

At any rate, this concludes my series on the toilets of Israel. I'd like to stomp my foot and pout and say that I'd quit milking my Israel vacation for material when and if People in the Sun quit milking his, but he's got a cute baby so what can you do?

Wednesday, July 16, 2008

Overkill is my Middle Name

Here's a picture of my gal holding a hairless rat at our friends Gigi & Lee's house:And here she is vacuuming near the baseboards in our apartment:She's vacuuming because she found two fleas on "that other cat you never talk about". Yes. TWO. One, two.

Because of those two fleas we also:

-Vacuumed all carpeted surfaces in the entire apartment including moving the beds

-Washed all bedding

-Vacuumed the couches and couch cushions

-Vacuumed the area rug...and then rolled it up and put it away, because what the heck? I've been wanting to see how that space looked without it anyway

-Vacuumed that little part where the baseboard meets the carpet. I never knew that part got so dirty!

-Vacuumed the bookshelf and the book spines

-Vacuumed a lamp

-I even vacuumed that grate looking thing that covers the a/c filter, 'cause who knows when I'll drag those little vacuum cleaner attachment thingies out again. Probably not until next summer break.

At any rate, there shouldn't be a single flea or flea egg anywhere in this whole apartment. I'm pretty convinced I got every last dust mite, not to mention any lone lice or scabies that might have hung onto us from the airplane blankets on our trip.

So we're like all kinds of infestation free here at our house if you feel like a visit.

Unless there might be another flea on the cat himself that is. Because the flea poison that I bought was all natural and kid friendly. So how could something that smells that good be toxic enough I ask you?!?!?!?

My gal typed up this newspaper article about it on a manual typewriter she bought with her bat mitzvah money:Just in case it's not legible, here's the translation (loosely edited for punctuation):

Cats With Fleas!

In the -- household two fleas were discovered late this morning. Nimue, who the fleas were found on, quotes "meow meow meow meow!" Sugar, the cat who no fleas have been found upon replies, "No comment." "It was really gross," claims Cassie, the finder of the fleas, "but killing it by flushing it down the toilet was fun." Jared, quoting the popular song, says, "There ain't no bugs on me, there ain't no bugs on me, there may be bugs on summa you mugs but there ain't no bugs on me!" Well said Jared!

The cats will be treated later this afternoon with non toxic flea repellent and killer. The exact time is unknown. Says Jill, "I'll get to it when I get to it! We just got home. Let me rest a second!"

Breaking news! The flea repellant was just applied. Surprisingly, Nimue moaned and complained while Sugar was quiet and still. Both cats were held down by Cassie, and the goo was applied by Jill. Jared watched in awe.

Right now everything is being cleaned and washed. Later tonight the family is going to the -- house for dinner. The --s will also be attending. On the menu is pasta. The -- family hope they will still be invited in spite of the flea mishap.

That's today's news!
For the record, we were still invited to Gigi's despite the two flea infestation, which is how Cassie got to hold a hairless rat. So we had a good time. And, just because this post is five times longer than usual, I might as well leave off with these two pictures of last time we were at Gigi & Lee's:

Monday, July 14, 2008

Drinking is Legal

I'm thinking this is probably just your average, everyday public service announcement reminding the general public that prohibition went by the wayside some time ago: Or maybe it's merely promoting drinking on Galveston Island. Who can tell about these things?

"Look Mommy! I'm holding Sugar like this and he hasn't even killed me yet!" And that's why our cat sugar hates my boy (over and above why the average cat hates the average boy):Here's some pictures of "that other cat you never pay any attention to". Apparently even "that other cat" misses us occasionally, because he's been clamoring for a little attention too. Here he is making sure he's packed in the suitcase for our next trip:And making sure the laundry basket stays nice and warm:Did I mention Sugar tended my blog recently? Here he is sitting on a laptop:I took this second one when Jared noticed that he was googling 666. What do you know?!?!? The furball is evil after all! I knew it!!!

Thursday, July 10, 2008

Or You Could be Decapitated by an Elevator...

We had our Hebrew names before visiting Israel, but now we have our personalities too.

My mom in Israel: (clicks camera)

My dad in Israel: "This is how Israel differs from Vermont..."

Me in Israel: "Let's compare the ways there are to die in Israel to the ways there are to die in the United States..."

Here are my kids in Israel:
Jeff/tour guide - "...and as you can see from the edge around this stone, it is from the time of Herod..."
Kids - "LOOK! A CAT!! LOOK!!!"

Jeff - "...from here we can see..."
Kids - "LOOK! A CAT!!! Look at it!!!!!!"

Jeff - "In Caesarea the aqueduct..."
Kids - "LOOK!!!!! A CAT! Oh look!!!!!!!! TWO CATS!!!!!!"

Did I mention Israel has TON of cats? Dad says next time he wants to take my kids on a luxurious vacation, he's just going to rent an apartment in Hoboken, fill it with cats, and leave them there for a week.

My infatuation with the relative dangers of Israel versus the US might be what led me to find the various danger signs so intriguing. This one was to warn of land mines. Obviously we weren't walking around near potential mines, so that's why the picture is so blurry. I took it from a moving car:I loved this one posted on an electric pole. It reads, "Danger of death!" Nothing like telling it like it is!I wonder if the death comes from falling from the tower or electric shock?

This last one at Gamla warns of the danger of falling off a cliff. Cassie loved that the little guy's (or gal's) head has seemingly already been removed from his or her body. I liked that it operates on the assumption that one is enjoying a day at the park, unaware of walking along the edge of a humongous cliff. But then again, they say you can never be too careful: In Houston you just have to settle for being decapitated by a malfunctioning elevator. For real.

Monday, July 07, 2008

An Ancient Toilet (Bathrooms of Israel Part II & other vacation photos)

Here's an Israeli bathroom, of least this is what our tour guide Jeff says was used as a toilet during Roman times in Caesarea:I promised to introduce Jeff last post. Here he is at Gamla telling my dad something fascinating about vultures, I'm not sure exactly what. Dad's in the Boston cap. Jeff's got the talons:I'm pretty sure Jeff thought I never listened to him, but that was really only true in between the hours of my normal lunch time (noonish) and whenever the heck Jeff's normal lunch time is. The man claims lunch time is his biggest meal (See?!? I did listen to something!) but he might be confusing it with afternoon snack. Either that or he just doesn't get hungry.

Anyway, my point is this: I didn't not listen. It's only that ten days is not nearly long enough for me to internalize the amount of information on Israel that man contains in his right pinky fingernail. In fact, ten days probably wouldn't be enough to digest what he could tell me about Fayetteville, Arkansas (whether or not he's ever been there).

I heard some folks at the airport discussing whether or not their tour guide was an adequate driver...or something like that. We obviously had nothing to worry about since Jeff got us out of this situation in Jerusalem on what is, amazingly enough, a two way street:At any rate, I highly recommend Jeff as a tour guide if you happen to need one in Israel (or anywhere else, I imagine). He's great with kids, entertaining, and knows a ton of stuff. Just, y'know, bring snacks.

Here's my gal in a waterfall at Ein Gedi:And my boy skipping stones into the Mediterranean at Caesarea:At least, I think that's what all that stuff is. But, y'know...Jeff would know for certain.

Coming up: More modern Israeli bathrooms AND why my cat hates my boy...I mean aside from the obvious - that cats hate 10 year old human boys on principal...

Wednesday, July 02, 2008

The bathrooms of Israel, Part I

I'm back & ready to show off all my vacation pictures! Okay, not ALL of them (I took 300, more or less), but at least a few of the bathrooms.

We stayed our first couple nights in a very nice hotel in Jerusalem. It was such a nice hotel that I felt bad about the fact that I couldn't seem to keep the shower water inside the shower.

Three nights later when we stayed at the Deganya Bet kibbutz, I realized why I was having such a hard time: in Israel it's apparently not that big a deal to get water all over the bathroom floor.

Here's the bathroom in Deganya Bet. See how the glass wall doesn't go all the way to the floor?That stick thing is a giant squeegee so that you can wipe as much of the water down the drain as possible. That way when you slip and fall and bust your head open on the wet tile, you don't drown in the process.

I'll say one thing for this method - it must really encourage people to keep the very bottom of the toilet clean. You know that little part that meets the floor and gets all gross and slimy if you don't clean it religiously? Israelis probably don't turn their backs on that part of the toilet even for a SECOND! 'Cause who'd want to have their feet swimming around in the same water as that mess?!?!?!

Just, y'know, to get a head start on the vacation photos, here's one of me & the kids standing on top of a mosque which was built over Samuel's grave. Our tour guide, Jeff (who I'll introduce later), sounded slightly skeptical that ole' Samuel was really under there. But, y'know what? The guy had to be buried SOMEWHERE around there. Why not under the mosque?


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