Wednesday, July 23, 2008



And so the craziness begins. Shiputzim is the word we use when we are talking about renovations - and I have just begun to leshapetz (renovate) my flat. Three days into the job and I am already asking myself "WHY?". Don't ask. Or as Marallyn and I sometimes say - "dun't esk".

Wasn't my flat beautiful enough as it was? Why can't I leave well-enough alone? Why do I need this meshugas (craziness)? Well - because I want something new and modern and beautiful - and if I get through this with my sanity intact - it will all be new and modern and beautiful.

...and because I wanted a new refrigerator - a very big - VERY BIG - "Sharp" refrigerator - stainless - four-door - and VERY BIG!! So - in order to make room for this new member of my family we had to break a wall in my kitchen - what a dirty, messy job. The dust doesn't end. It's in everything.

Why just stop there? I'm putting down new floors in the whole flat, changing all my front windows - putting in a new en-suite bathroom (a very dramatic bathroom I might tell you) - building a big storage unit for all my "stuff" (serving platters and serving dishes and all the "stuff" I use when I have dinner parties) - moving my living-room furniture around (which is why I need the new storage unit so that I can get rid of the one in the living room) so that I can fit in a large dining area (which, of course, means buying a new, large, dining table) - building more book shelves for my ever-growing collection of books - and on and on and on.

I'll tell you about my cast of characters. We'll begin with Menashe - my architect - who is one of the sons of one of the best-known restaurant families in the city - but you already knew that everything I do is - somehow - tied in with food. He's half Parsi and half Turkish. Incidentally, I've eaten at his family's restaurant hundreds of times over the years I've been here - and like the food very much - so that part works for me.

I like him because he knows what he's doing - is very professional - and he listens to what I have to say. He doesn't always agree with me - but he gives me the courtesy of listening and discussing. And he didn't run in horror when I presented him with three single-spaced typewritten pages of what I wanted to do. Some things are do-able - some things not - we compromise.

I wanted to begin this job a month or so ago but Menashe wanted me to wait until a particular kablan (contractor) was free to work for me. And was he ever right. He brought me Avi - a Kurdi - who brought with him Shimshon - also a Kurdi. I cannot believe what yekkes (from the German word for 'jacket' - which is used in Israel to describe someone who is very exact and precise) they both are. Suits me just fine. I've never seen people who work with such care and precision - just my type of people.

And Avi also brought me his father - Shmuel - an old-time cabinet-maker - who is also a Kurdish yekke. Couldn't be better.

Last - but not least - is Rachel - who is my source for floor tiles and wall tiles and bath-tub and sink and faucets - Moroccan - who is like everyone's Mama - she worries about every little thing....the right tiles - the correct roba (grout) to use - finding me the bathtub I wanted when everyone said it wasn't available - and a voice of calmness and sanity. Nothing seems to faze her.

And so it begins. Will keep you up to date on the progress. Wish me well.

Yalla, Bye.

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