Thursday, August 28, 2008


SHIPUTZIM - part 4

We're now into the millionth week (what - it's not been that long? It certainly feels like it.) of my shiputzim (renovations). I am living in an absolute disaster area, and for someone like me - Marallyn calls me anal retentive - it's getting on to serious nervous breakdown time. I like everything neat and clean and orderly and in place - not even close to that now.

Our cast of characters has changed a bit. Avi and Shmuel and Liran are still with me. Max has finished his work on the soregim ( window bars), Uzi is still manufacturing my windows and doors, and Ahmad has left. Achmad is a plumber - an Arab from Abu Gosh - and quite a good plumber according to Avi, who has employed him for fifteen years. But - he and Avi had a rip-roaring fight last week and Avi fired him. Ahmad is about six-and-a-half feet tall - Avi is about my height - five-foot-two - so if they had come to blows guess who the winner would have been. No blows - just a lot of screaming in Arabic (Avi speaks fluent Arabic) - and Hebrew - that was I speaking in Hebrew trying to calm them down. No go - Ahmad is toast.

Now we have Jabal - or Jamal - I'm not sure as there are two of them with that (those) name(s) - who will lay the new floors and re-tile my new bathroom.

There is also Rahel - an Israeli who lived in New York for years - and who has a wonderful business supplying tiles and flooring and kitchen and bathroom fixtures for almost-wholesale prices. Wholesale has come to Israel and I'm taking advantage of it. Yesterday Rahel and I went out looking for toilets and brazim (faucets) for my bathrooms. We had already decided on the flooring, tiles for the new bathroom and the bathtub - so yesterday was the next-to-last shopping expedition - the last one will be for towel bars and accessories. And I managed to save lots of money. Who needs to buy retail?

Am also adding to my Hebrew vocabulary - we bought two interputzim (a fitting which allows water to come into the bathtub or toilet or sink). It's actually a German word - adapted to Hebrew with the "im" ending - and a word which I will probably never use again!

My bathroom is not exactly the biggest room in the flat - not teensy-weensy, mind you - just not palatial like those in Architectural Digest. For one solid hour Avi and Rahel and I were in my bathroom - yes the three of us - trying to finalize the exact placement of my bathub and toilet - and also the placement of all the various faucets and interputzim - who knew there were such cholices? Why wasn't Menash (my architect) there? He's off in Europe someplace - but he'll be back in time to supervise the way he wants the tiles to be laid - b'lachson (on an angle) - so that the tiles look like a carpet going up the side of the bathtub. Don't even ask.

And why am I not annoyed that Menash is away and that Avi went off to Italy for two weeks in the middle of the job? Because - I'm off on Sunday night to Budapest for a week. To tell you the truth - I think we Israelis are crazy - but a holiday is a holiday and as I don't get to see my brother more than once or twice a year at most, we will have a chance to be together next week. He's attending a kenes (conference) in Budapest over the weekend which will be over on Monday afternoon. So I'm arriving on Monday and we'll have a week together sightseeing and talking and eating and talking and just being together - and talking.

As I don't have room in my house for one more little "goody" - I actually have enough dishes and glassware and cutlery and serving pieces to feed the Israeli Army should they decide to come for dinner (just a bit of an exaggeration) I'll buy some of that famous Hungarian paprika.

Will write again when I get back.

Yalla, Bye.

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