I can't believe it!
At 4:34 this morning, little baby SoomSoom came into the world. She was 7 pounds and 19.75 inches. We got to the hospital at 4:00, and she just sort of popped out 34 minutes later.
Mozal Tov to me!!
We've started telling folks.
Since my sister lives in Portland, OR, and she feels like she's not with the family on special days, we decided to tell her before anyone else. We called her last night, and I led with "can you keep a secret?" She immediately guessed that I was calling to tell her that I was engaged.
This afternoon, we called the Sabra's parents to tell them officially. They already knew it was coming since I talked to them the other day for their permission (actually for their blessing because I don't know how to say "permission" in Hebrew), but we still wanted them to know that the deed had been done.
I am hosting Rosh Hashana this year, and my parents and oldest sister came here for dinner. Before we started making dinner, and before my sister got here, we told my parents. I said, "I have good news and bad news. The bad news is that it might take you a little longer to get to Japan, but the good news is that you are still going to get to go to Asia." When my sister arrived, we told her as well.
I guess it's becoming official now that the family knows.
OK, so the title gave it away, but I now have 3 nephews!!!
When I was little, I always wanted to go to my father’s work. He was a career civil servant, and he never felt that it was appropriate taking children to his place of employment. Of course, this always made me very sad. I wanted so much to be with him, to spend time with him, and it hurt to think that he didn’t want to share his time at work with me. Likewise, he never wanted us to call him at work unless it was an emergency. This, too, was not a pleasant feeling. Why? How could such a wonderful, loving father as mine not want to be with his son? Not want to talk to his son?
In all fairness to posterity, I must confess that I did get to go see his office on rare occasions, and from the span of 20-odd years, my limited memory recalls that my father’s desk was by a window. He had a flat desk with papers and books piled high. On the right-hand side, across from the window, was a long return that was rounded at the end. The other important feature that I can recall from the mist of memory is that the walls of his office didn’t reach the ceiling. How weird I thought that was. I didn’t know from cubes and open space layouts at that time.
Now, as a civil servant myself working in a cube in an open space layout, I understand that it wasn’t that my father didn’t love me or that he didn’t want to talk to me, but rather, he didn’t think it was appropriate for children to be in a space that would disturb others. He didn’t like to talk on the phone about personal things because there was no privacy. I feel like I owe him an apology.
Today, thanks to the cube environment, it all became clear to me that this was the truth of the matter. The woman in the cube on one side of me has her daughter here. This daughter has not yet learned inside and outside voice and talks entirely too loudly. I think it’s wonderful that she has such a creative mind, but a grown-up office is not the place for her to express her creativity or bang on the desk or run up and down the hall or run into and out of other people’s cubes.
I should mention that this disrespect for others working so closely together is not limited to children who don’t know any better (indeed, the child’s mother should have known better than to bring the child in the first place). The odious woman on the other side of me is on a teleconference and is using her speakerphone. When I politely asked her to take it off of speakerphone because it was disturbing me, she said that she was on a conference call. I said I understood that, but it was still a distraction to others in the office. She said, “I’m going to go ahead and leave it on speaker.”
In the immortal words of Jar Jar Binks: “How wude!”
So the weekend went pretty well.
I took Friday off, and lounged around, cleaned a little, packed a little, and finally made my way to West Falls Church-VT/UVA Metro station. I hung out there doing a crossword for about ½ hour to 45 minutes before the Sabra arrived (she couldn’t get time off work). We boarded the Washington Flyer and headed to Dulles International Airport. All went smoothly until we got to security. Now, I have flown a lot in my life, and I’ve very rarely been searched; in fact, I am pretty sure that I do not fit any of the current profiles. On the other hand, there is the Sabra. True, her accent is Hebrew and not Arabic, but do you really think the Haitian, Dominican, or Ecuadorian TSA agent really knows the difference betwixt Hebrew and Arabic accents? I don’t think so. So, as you have guessed, the foreigner with the Middle Eastern accent was able to walk right on through without any problems.
So, yes, I—who is, I might add, 100% pure-blooded American—get stopped at security, and they require a baggage check of me. I expect that they are going to pull out my backpack, which was loaded with all kinds of electronic equipment, any of which could have been pieces of some unconventional weapon. But no, my computer, camera, lenses, cables, iPod, headphones, cell phone, blackberry, electric razor, adapters are all OK. What are these brainiacs who are protecting American skyways looking for in my bags? What weapon of mass destruction did they want to confiscate? Would you believe it wasn’t anything electronic, nor sharp, not even anything ticking. No, it was in fact my nearly empty tube of Crest. Admittedly, it WAS the new Pro-Health kind. They also took my nearly empty tube of shaving gel.
So, as I’m retying my shoes, and putting my tighty-whities and socks back into the suitcase, I was free to go and ponder this recent event. The first thing I thought was that if I actually knew how to take a plane down with nothing but an almost empty tube of toothpaste and an equally almost empty tube of shaving gel, I’d probably be a very wealthy man. Instead, I was in reality nothing more than an embarrassed average joe. Oh well.
We finally made it through security, found our gate, and just had time to get an Auntie Anne’s pretzel. Our plane was a little delayed and moved to a different gate (one down) because of some problem with a flight completely unrelated to ours. Once we get onboard, we sit down, and meet a very nice guy who was on the last leg of his journey. He had been flying for 20something hours from Singapore. One row ahead and on the starboard side (we were on the port side) was a screaming baby. I was ready to kill, but the Sabra kept calming me down. We finally roll out to the tarmac and get in line to take off when we learn that there are major delay due to electrical storms somewhere over New York. We ended up sitting on the tarmac for over 2 hours. The pilot came on and said that they were considering returning to the gate, but then we would lose our place in line. Before he could make up his mind, we got the all clear, and off we went into the wild blue yonder. It really wasn’t so bad, we ended up getting in around 7 instead of 5.
The Little Sabra’s brother and sister-in-law met us at the airport, and off we went to dinner. As we drove from the airport to the restaurant, I got the rather entertaining tour of the town. Beside the fact that it was dark and I couldn’t see anything, I’m not so sure they really had their bearings, the Bro would say look to your left, and the sis-in-law would say no, that’s further down, and the Sabra would say “are you sure we didn’t just pass it?” Like I said, very entertaining. If they weren’t pointing out landmarks, we were all chatting and getting to know each other. They seem like fun people, and we spent most of the ride laughing.
Dinner was at a frou-frou Indian restaurant. I had, of course, a biryani. It was quite delish. Believe it or not, I couldn’t finish it. The Sabra also had biryani, but her’s was vegetarian (of course). We got doggie bags. After dinner, we walked over to an ice cream shop, but only the sis-in-law got anything. So, back into the car. I was offered a quick driving tour of town, and as I’ve never been to Beantown, I took them up on their offer. We drove past Cheers, and Boston Common, and over the Charles River, and other places until we finally got to the hotel. It was way late, and we went to bed.
Saturday morning, we got up, ate breakfast, and walked. We walked all over town. From Beacon Hill to Little Italy, and then over to some water and into a produce market (a la Machnay Yehuda in Jerusalem), and back to the hotel. I honestly have no idea where all we went, but there are pics on the Photoblog. We were out and about all day. It was so nice to be a tourist. We met some interesting people, some not so friendly people, and some just odd people.
We eventually made it back to the hotel, where we refreshed and met her kinfolk again for dinner. We went again to a frou-frou place, this time for sushi. I think we all really liked the restaurant: it had great atmosphere, the service was good, and the food came out in a timely fashion. Unfortunately, as is the case in the more expensive restaurants, it was rather over priced, and the portions were very small. Nevertheless, as I said, it was quite tasty, and I think we all enjoyed what we ordered. From the restaurant, we drove back to her sibling's apartment, left the car, and headed into their neighborhood, and proceed to drink. We were all pretty toasted, and the Sabra and I got a cab and headed back to the hotel to go to sleep.
Sunday arrived, and we set out for the retirement party that originally brought us to Boston in the first place. We took the T from the hotel to her brother’s apartment, and that was cool because I love subways. There was construction on the track, so we had to get off and get on a bus and get back on the trolley. We got back on the trolley at the wrong station and the guy tried to make us pay again. We didn’t. We finally got to her brother’s and we all set out to find the place where the event was. That, too, was a drama as he and his wife had no idea where we were headed, and we got sort of lost (sort of because they still basically knew where we were going).
So, once we got to the event, it was quite nice. Even though I didn’t know anyone, it was still pretty emotional. It wasn’t hard to see that at least 200 people showed up to wish this woman good-bye. She apparently built the organization and ran it for 15 years. The program was pretty good. Most of the people who spoke were entertaining. Her replacement spoke, and it truly boggled my mind that someone so bad at public speaking could be the one selected to take the reins. I don’t mean to imply that he was inarticulate; quite the contrary in fact, he seemed sharp as a tack, but he was clearly not comfortable speaking in front of that many people. They showed a video that someone had put together. I think if I knew even 1 person in the video it would have been good, but since I didn’t, I watched with a more technical eye, and could see that it was entirely too long. I understand that these projects are made with emotions running high, but even the folks who know everyone in the video were getting bored because it was running a tad too long.
We walked around a bit talking to some fascinating people. There was one professor who was married to another woman and their daughter seems to have some personal problems (imagine, with 2 professor, hippy, wacky moms, I’d be shocked if she DIDN’T have problems). There was another woman who was excited to tell us that she had taken her wife’s name. Then there was the woman who lives down the street from the Sabra, tried for the Sabra’s job, and runs a business not unlike one of my ideas. These were truly interesting characters, and I think someone like LtL could have found a mother lode of material for his writing.
We finally said our last good-byes and headed to the airport. We were running late, and time was of the essence. So, naturally, we hit mad, mad traffic. The long and short of it is that we missed our flight home, and after much debate, we decided that it was worth paying an extra $100 each and getting home Sunday night instead of getting a hotel and being back at that airport by 5 am on Monday.
We flew into Ronald Reagan Washington National Airport around 7 that night and were back at my apartment before 9. Even with the strip search and delay and screaming kid and traffic, I had a great time meeting her brother and sister-in-law and seeing Boston and riding on the T and taking pictures. All in all, it was a fun weekend, and I do hope that we do more of these weekend excursions.
Tomorrow I’m flying off to Boston with the Little Sabra. It’s our first trip together, and wouldn’t you know it, I’ve gone and gotten sick….Montezuma’s Revenge…well actually, I think it’s better to say Mohammad’s Revenge. We went for schawarma on Monday at Max’s Kosher Cafe and Marketplace. Every time I’ve been there, I’ve had the schawarma, and every time, my stomach has killed me. I really should have known better, and now all I can do is pray that I will be better before tomorrow.
Anyway, the trip should be interesting. She has some event on Sunday. Apparently, someone from her old work is retiring, and there is going to be a big gala. As my birthday is Saturday, we thought it would be fun to go out there together…sort of a long weekend vacation thing. The downside is (besides what was discussed above), we are going to be hanging out with her brother and sister-in-law. I will be meeting them for the first time, and since her parents live in Israel, it’s like de facto meeting the family. I’m sure it will be fine, but it’s still a little weird. She met my family on Memorial Day, but that was only for a few hours and it was over; I’m thinking that we will be spending most of the time with her family while we’re up there.
She still hasn’t told me if I’m going to be going with her to this event. I told her I was content either way, but I’d like to know. I’ve never been to Boston, and I’d be happy to walk around town with my camera and take pics. She said that if I hit it off with her brother, I could hang out with him. We’ll see how it goes.
At the very least, I will have a lot to write about when I get back.
My nephew was born today!!!! I'm an uncle!!!!
Because I was still on travel in Ohio when he was born, I decided that I was going to start a tradition that I stole from RC. She sends postcards to her neice and nephew when she travels. I did the same thing, but I made sure that it was postmarked in Ohio (something I kept trying to get her to do when we were together). My sister thought that was realy cool.
We're still waiting for the other sister to pop...more on that anon.
My Brother-in-Law, sister, and I went to the Rhino Bar in Gerogetown last weekend to see the Eagles kick the crap out of the Saints. Sadly, the Saints trounced the Eagles. There were many a dejected Eagles fans angrily and drunkenly making their way back to their beds after the game ended and the bar closed.
Who won or lost that game, however, is not really what this post is about (although it should be noted that my kinfolk and I were rooting for the Eagles). As most of my loyal readers know, Jo Cose doesn’t really know the Stanley Cup from the Ryder Cup or "The Ashes" from Arthur Ashe. Nevertheless, I love my sister and Brother-in-Law, and I savor the opportunities to spend time with them (that, and they usually end up paying the bill). Also, football is one of those sports that I actually enjoy watching, but I just don’t get all the rules. The Bro-in-Law does (he used to play), so it’s enjoyable to watch with someone who can call the penalties before the refs, AND explain them to me at the same time. Finally, it was an opportunity for me to observe my fellow humans in their environs—one, I might add, that I would not normally go to on my own.
That is where this post is going. I have heard tell of how people behave in sports bars, but I was still fascinated. I am sure that I was completely wide-eyed and stuck out like the proverbial sore thumb. First of all, everyone was wearing Eagles jerseys except the brave few wearing Saints shirts. By the time we got there, most of the Eagles fans were 3, if not 5, sheets to the wind…so the energy was pumping. We sat in the back, close to the big screen projection TV. Fortunately, my sister and I were against the wall. This was good for 2 reasons: 1) I’m small and terrified of being trampled, and 2) my sister is preggers. The Bro-in-Law sat on the outside, and it’s a good thing he is a big guy—there was a lot of hitting and body slamming…but more of that anon.
The folks next to us were hammered and loud. They did a rollcall, and each person in the bar that was wearing said jersey number would stand up, and everyone would cheer. When this ritual was complete, they (the Eagles fans) turned on the Saints fans (who were towards the front of the bar [that is, by the doors] for some reason). Middle fingers abounded and someone began to chant. Before long, the rafters were ringing with the sportsman-like incantation, “Fuck the Saints!” Once everyone settled, another chant began, mostly as a gurgle from deep within the belly of the bar and rose through so many throats and mouths: “DEFENSE! DEFENSE! DEFENSE! GOOOO EAGLES!” Even I got wrapped up in the moment and found myself banging on the table and clapping my hands.
The waitress came by time and time again: first with pitchers for the table next to us, than Irish Car Bombs for the table on the other side of us. She rushed back with our food and beer (diet coke for my preggers sister), then more pitchers, then more Irish Car Bombs. It was a constant flow of alcohol. I didn’t think people really consumed that much liquor in one sitting.
Finally, the game began and a new chant was heard, “DOWN IN FRONT!” Once the fratboys in the front settled down, the ball was snapped, and the Eagles–Saints game was underway. Before, I could even determine who had the ball, one of the fratboys in front of me jumped up and blocked my view of the TV. He looked around, as if looking for his compatriots, and settled down. Within seconds, he was up again, this time a personal foul was called on the opposing team. Apparently, this is good for us. He proceeded to give high-fives to his fellow drunken buddies. Everyone was happy. Each play ended this way: something would happen, but before I could determine what, my view of the television was blocked by the aforementioned fratboy.
Eventually, the Eagles scored their first touchdown of the game. To say the place went wild would be an understatement. The bar was packed; we were lucky that we had gotten there between games and were able to get a table. There was actually a line to get in because they had reached their fire-code limit. So, imagine being in a room the size of a small 1-screen theatre with probably 800 people (including the upstairs), all drunk, all screaming their lungs out. A small mosh pit started right in front of us, and my Brother-in-law was either dragged or willing jumped—I couldn’t tell which—into the melee of sweat, arms, fists, and hugs.
Eventually everything settled down, and all were glued to the set…would the kicker get the extra point? Of course he did, and the crowd let up a great cheer. Apparently the kick after a touchdown isn’t as worthy of mayhem as a touchdown is. That didn’t stop our fratboy cum jack-in-the-box from jumping up. He went around his table and high-fived everyone. Even the ones that weren’t paying attention: He would hold one hand in the air and tap his potential high-fiver with the other until he got their attention and then would commence the obligatory high-five.
I missed the next several plays because Mr. Jock-in-the-Box would jump up immediately. It was pretty aggravating. Is this a part of the ritual of watching sports? Is one supposed to continuously stand and sit throughout the game? What does it accomplish? If the play was good (for his team anyway), he would jump up out of his seat, high-five everyone, again heckle those who weren’t ready to be high-fived until they complied, and point to no one in particular (à la the apocryphal Babe Ruth stance) and nod his head in an affirmative. If a play was bad (again for his team), he would jump up out of his seat, alternately either throw his hands in the air in disgust, put them on his hips and pace sulking, or thrust his hand as if he were throwing something, run his hands through his hair, and sit back down. Touchdowns required special animation: he would (as you may have guessed) jump up out of his seat, bear hug his buddies, high-five others, and rub the girls (who were hot, I might add) on the head or face either before or after high-fiving them as well.
What interested me the most was the passion with which he would hug his fellow sports fanatics. I am not speaking of a sexual passion, but rather of a passion that one would expect from the players themselves who scored the touchdown, or the coach who would enter the game with trepidation that he might be looking for a new job come Monday morning. It was a passion that said, “That was me. I made this touchdown, and it has deeply affected me.” If he is the stereotypical sports fan, then I was indeed lucky to have sat next to him. I honestly felt like Jane Goodall as she observes her primates.
I think that that is the most alien part to me of watching sports. I am dispassionate about it. I can admire a good play (when I understand what happened), I can appreciate quality teamwork and good sportsmanship. But I just can’t seem to become so engrossed, so obsessed that I actually become so viscerally affected, that I believe that my world hinges upon the outcome of a particular sporting match. Sometimes, like last Sunday, I actually feel like I’m missing something. I feel left out. I wish I could care about sports like so many others do. I try, but I lose interest too fast. For instance, there is another big game this coming weekend; yet, if I miss it, it won’t be the end of the world. In fact, I will most likely miss it as I have a packed weekend, and none of my plans include watching the game. I’ve been told by a co-worked that I’m actually better off for not being so involved with sports, but I don’t know…I sometimes feel like the only one in the world who doesn’t care who plays in, or wins, the Super Bowl.
I'm going to be an uncle...twice!!!
Yea, so back in August I went to my sister's house in Virginia for my dad's birthday. My other sister out on the left coast called in over Instant Messenger so we were all chatting. Very nonchalantly (about as nonchalant as a ton of bricks falling on your shoeless toe), she asks the ‘rents, “So, S— and I were wondering, would you prefer to be ‘grandma’ and ‘grandpa’ or ‘bubby’ and ‘zaidy’?” In typical form, it took about an hour for my folks to get it. OK, so that’s not really fair, it really took about 20 seconds, but it was like watching a horrible accident in slow motion.
Once it finally occurred to them, and we were pretty certain my mom wasn’t going to drop dead from heart failure, my other bro-in-law (the one living in VA), says, “that’s not all, we’re pregnant too.” I will overlook this ridiculous concept of “we” being pregnant. Yes, it’s true that he helped (and I try really hard not to think about that part), but my sister is the only one of the two who is pregnant.
Anyway, at this point we all really think that my parents are going to have coronaries from the news. The way my mom kept saying “Oh my God,” you would think that she had just heard that her only friend in the world had just been found brutally murdered instead of hearing the news that she has been waiting for for years…that she was actually going to have grandchildren. I guess all that time practicing on the cats (you know, talking to them like they were the grandkids) will pay off.
Anyway, the important thing is that they both had their sonograms last week, and both heard the babies’ hearts beat. Since they are both old, they had to have some extra tests to ensure that the babies don’t have Down Syndrome or any of the other problems prone to babies of old people. Since all of that checked out A-OK, they decided that we could announce it…so, I’m announcing it, I will be an uncle some time around May.