Tuesday, June 26, 2018

One Big Something Family

Normally I work from home. The company I work for is located more in the center of the country, while I live smack in the middle of the Negev Desert. Driving, it's nearly 2 1/2 hours. I don't get up to the offices on a regular basis, but occasionally there are holiday-related things I make an appearance for. Today, the team I work with organized a brunch at a cafe not too far from the offices.

Now, when I go up to the offices, I take the train. It's temperature controlled, I don't have to worry about sitting in traffic, there are bathrooms on board, and since I get on at the first stop, I always get a seat. Sometimes it's even got an outlet so I can charge my phone. The big disadvantage is getting from the train station to the office. The scheduling is way off, and often not particularly convenient. But for the three or four times a year, I manage.

For the most part, the seats are arranged four around a table. Well-padded, often even have a middle arm rest, decent-ish amount of leg room. Well, for me, anyway. And yes, I'm short. When you are lucky enough to get a car with electrical plugs, it's only two per table, so that can be annoying if your laptop or cellphone is low on battery and your seatmates are already plugged in.

On this morning's ride, as we pull out of the Ashkelon station, an older man (OM1) sits in the seat diagonally from me in "my" quartet. Right across from me was a young Ethiopian woman in IDF uniform. And right next to me was another older man (OM2). I forget what sparked the beginning of the conversation, but by the time OM1 got off the train over an hour later, I knew quite a bit about his life and family, and he knew a bit about mine.

I knew he'd been a farmer all his life.
Right now he's only growing peaches and persimmons.
He used to grow apples as well, but with the import of Pink Ladies from the US, it's just not worthwhile.
Climate change is real.
His wife was an English teacher.
His wife is from South Africa.
He lived in SA for 6 months and moved back to Israel mainly because of antisemitism.
His family is from the UK, but he was born in Israel.
Much of his family left Poland during the 1930s.
He served in the IDF during the first Intifada and Lebanon Part I.
He has a son and daughter, and then his wife couldn't have more children because she had cysts on her ovaries and had to have them removed.
He's not religious at all, but all during his service and reserve duty, he carried his IDF-issued Psalms in his shirt pocket, just in case.

And a whole megillah of more information.

He got on, a total stranger. And I still don't know his name, and I can't remember what Moshav he lives on. But there's something about sharing a few square meters of space with other human beings for a couple hours. And maybe it's one of these "only in Israel" type of things. Yes, we're strangers. But genetically we're Jews, the three people (OM2 seemed rather put out that we were talking - not loudly, mind you) having a discussion were all immigrants or first-generation Israeli. And that commonality - Jewish-Israeli - immediately made us family.

Sure, we're a loud, obnoxious, frustrating, dysfunctional family.

So what insightful public transportation rides have you had?

Friday, June 22, 2018

Stress Hamsters

So we've moved to a smaller apartment that's basically across the street from Elchanan's school in one direction, and across the street from a mall, the main post office, the central bus station, and a train station in the other direction. There's a supermarket 5 minutes away (although it's not particularly the chain I like), doctors' offices 5 minutes away, and the boys have their own rooms, which has made a HUGE difference in their attitudes and behaviors both at home and in school.

Every so often I find myself breathing. A sigh of relief. Releasing a bit more stress.

And then...

And then I start to wonder when the rug will be pulled out from under us again.

And then I start to wonder when the other shoe will drop.

And I'm back to tossing and turning in bed at night as stress attacks my thoughts.

Because I've been here before. And the rug HAS been pulled out from under us.

I know there are things we need to do, should do, HAVE to do, to keep the stress hamsters from running on their wheels inside my brain.

Oooh, I like that; stress hamsters. Going to use that for the name of this blog post.


We WILL be taking better care of our finances, which is basically the #1 stress factor in my life (well, pretty much anyone's life, amiright?)

I'm hoping my meds will help keep the stress hamsters at bay. And sitting on the beach.

But my Pavlovian response to things going well for us for a change really needs to change. When did I become such a pessimist?

So, how do you deal with your stress hamsters?

Thursday, June 21, 2018

Next stage

Yesterday, Zach and I had our last parent-teacher meeting of the year for Nati. One teacher will be going on for a third year with the boys and the younger teacher will be leaving. All in all, the meeting was very positive. Nati has made great strides in his socialization, language skills, his math is amazing (thanks to the paternal-side genes), and he's excelled in almost every aspect of his studies and therapies. We've all noticed a big difference in how calm he's been since we've moved apartments and given him his own room.

The big sticking point in his learning is his reading. Or rather, his lack. We've tried several different things, and nothing seems to be working. He just doesn't seem to have any retention or perhaps recognition for the written word. And because he struggles, he hates having to do it. I mean, if I'm bad at something, I wouldn't want to do it either. But reading is a rather important skill and we need to rethink a few things.

So at yesterday's meeting, his teacher brought up the R-word.

She's spoken to one of the therapists who works with Nati on a regular basis and they feel that it might be time to try medication to help Nati's comprehension difficulties. Specifically, Ritalin.

Now, don't get me wrong. If there's one thing you need to know about my husband and myself, it's that we're not ashamed of our family's various mental health issues. And our family motto is "better living through chemistry". Okay, that's two things.

So now we need to teach Nati how to swallow a pill. And I need to make an appointment for him with the pediatrician so we can take the proper steps for him to get the prescription before school starts up again in September.