Sunday, February 26, 2006

The Day My Car Wasn't Stolen*

* borrowed from an article in the conveniently well-timed Friday edition of the Jerusalem Post.

I know its time for another Snarky Sunday post, but instead I had to share this one with the blogosphere.

I appreciated all of the mommies and pregnants who shared their stories of pregnancy brain-drain. I particularly laughed at Lisa who told me she used to stop at green lights.

However, if any of you had told me the following story was possible, or that I myself would someday be in a mindframe to be the lead I would never have believed you.

Friday was my friend's 30th birthday. We took her out to one of my favorite breakfast places, T'mol Shilshom. I drove to downtown Jerusalem, found a fairly decent parking space without too much difficulty, and even remembered to put money in the meter. But I only had enough small change for an hour and a half of parking. After more than an hour and a half I had to excuse myself to make sure I didn't get a ticket. I went back to the car to put more money in the meter, and I thought I heard the engine purring.

Now, there happened to be another Toyota Corolla parked directly in front of my car, so I figured that's where the noise was coming from. But just to be sure I put my hand on the hood of my car, and sure enough it was hot. This seemed rather mysterious. I reached into my bag to get my car keys, but they weren't there. I looked into my car, and the car keys were dangling from the ignition.

Yes, that's right folks, I parked the car, put money in the meter, and blithely went off to enjoy breakfast while leaving the keys in the ignition, engine idling, and driver's side window wide open for almost two hours!

I was basically in tears when I realized how stupid I had become. I don't know which part of the story shocks me more, that I actually did something so stupid or that no one took the car, or even anything in it. In fact, I'm even more shocked that the police didn't blow it up, thinking it was a booby-trapped bomb car. It was parked on a fairly busy side street in downtown Jerusalem.

The only explanation I can think of as to why no one helped themselves to an automobile that basically had an engraved invitation on the windshield saying "Free Car" is they must have thought it was a set-up. I mean, who would be stupid enough to do that?

I called Bryan (whom I was supposed to meet after re-feeding the meter) and told him he better come to me, as I was clearly too stupid to be allowed to cross the streets by myself. He was particularly sensitive about the whole matter (I suppose because I didn't give away the only semi-asset we have), but I did notice he had some trouble with a few of the lines during "Eshet Chayil" Friday night.

I handed him both sets of car keys and made him drive for the rest of the weekend. In fact, I walked everywhere today, though unfortunately I have to drive to Jerusalem tomorrow morning for another exam, and I'll never be able to do it by bus.

Bryan suggested that the way to avoid the absent-mindedness is to make lists for everything, but honestly, how can you anticipate needing a list for such mundane things? 1) Put toilet seat down 2) Pull underpants down 3) Sit on said toilet seat... There's got to be a limit, people!

Meanwhile, my formerly very-innie belly button has begun its transition to an outie...but that's a little TMI.

Thursday, February 23, 2006

Happy birthday to you

Celebrating your spouse's birthday is a lot different than celebrating a boyfriend, or even a fiance's birthday. For one thing, its really great being able to simply roll over and wish your husband happy birthday, first thing in the morning. It does make surprising one's spouse more difficult though, seeing as how you can't hide too much from him.

Even more odd is the gift-giving ritual. Particularly since I am not working and Bryan is working. This means that whatever gift I buy him, he has actually bought himself. Last year when we were engaged I bought him a really nice watch as an engagement/birthday gift. This year? I have no good ideas. Anything I know he really wants or needs is way out of our price range (a new bike, a full set of the Schottenstein Talmud), and anything else is just silly to get for your husband's first birthday as your husband.

I settled (so far) on making pizza for dinner last night - with tuna on it (Bryan's favorite topping), since we're going out to dinner tonight. And I made fresh cinnamon buns with cream cheese icing on them and stuck a few candles in for breakfast. And I sent Bryan off to work with an entire freshly-baked Black Forest cake, in the hopes that sharing with the office will make them more likely to let him leave on time today. His ransom, if you will.

I know this seems silly, but somehow Bryan's age change makes me feel older. Pardon the tabloid nomenclature, but I am now carrying the love-child of someone in their mid-thirties (Bryan insists its still early 30's, but he'll keep saying that until he's 39). I know I am young, but suddenly I feel older. Everyone always says Bryan looks young for his age, and no one would ever guess he's 32, but I have no idea what this means, to me he just looks like Bryan. And he's got quite a few grays (I have even found a few in his chest hair - which he vehemently denies, and insists they are light blond!), and wrinkles and laugh lines thanks to growing up on the beach. But when he shows up to work with toothpaste near his left ear (how does it get there, I'll never know) he looks like a little boy to me.

Anyway, what I'm trying to say is - I know that in short order all those chest hairs will turn gray. And to me, that feels like a promise, because I know I'll be there when they turn white as snow. Someday the little baby growing inside me will get furious at me and say "I hate you!" when I don't give him the car keys. And that's okay, because I know (I hope) that those times will be more than balanced out by the "I love yous". And there's nothing like a birthday to make you realize how fast time goes by.

When Bryan's mom called this morning (at the exact hour of his birth) she recounted that exactly 32 years ago Bryan was taking his first little cry, and she was knocked out cold from the anesthesia. And when she woke up a full day later, she turned and saw all the "It's a Boy!" balloons, and that's how she knew what she'd had. She said that to this day she'll never forget how weird it was, knowing that for 24 hours everyone else (it had even made it into the birth announcements into the paper before she woke up) knew about Bryan and she slept through it all. And how weird it was to find out she'd had a boy from the flowers and balloons. I'm glad the medical world has changed a bit in 32 years, and hopefully I won't have to find out what my baby is that way.

I kind of understand how she felt though, in a way. I mean, for 25 years I bumbled along through life, completely unaware of Bryan, who would become the person closest to me in the world. I slept through the beginnings, so to speak, when so many other people knew about Bryan. And I only got to find out about him later on.

So gray chest hairs and all, I am truly grateful to get to celebrate all the other birthdays with him. Happy birthday, sweet husband.

Wednesday, February 22, 2006

A little Mary Jane?

There are lots of things you can't have or can't do when you're pregnant, depending on how many mothers-in-law you have and which pregnancy books you choose to read. Among some of the very common, well-known no-no's.
*No sushi or carpaccio (or any undercooked animal for that matter)
*No boozing (cultural differences allow for a glass of wine here and there, all the way up to prohibition-era teetotaling)
*No cigarettes - this includes second-hand smoke (Israelis - we're talking to you)
*No scuba-diving
*No unpasteurized cheeses (say bye-bye to anything but overprocessed crap)
*No weed

Now, I was looking for a medical reason for the last one - since it seems clear that even if THC crosses the placental barrier, all it would do is chill the baby out. I mean, its not even addictive.

But I've discovered the real reason: I have become so brain-dead and memory impaired recently, that if I smoked a joint I would probably fall over afterwards because I would forget how to walk. I think my baby is eating my brain cells, and that loss, coupled with a little high would probably make me forget how to breathe.

The other day I went to the grocery store to pick up some things for dinner. I got into the car, but couldn't remember the code for disarming the alarm. After 5 tries, I got it. I started driving to the grocery store (which I go to weekly) but forgot how to get there. I started panicking. I figured I should just drive and my memory would kick in eventually - wrong! I ended up going to the first grcoery store I ran into, which was way more expensive and not the shop I wanted.

This morning I went to the post office for the sole purpose of picking up a package. I knew exactly where I had put the package slip, and took the car keys with me in order to get the slip out of the car. I got all the way to the post office, still clutching the car keys in my hand - with no package slip.

All of this has made exam period a little more difficult than it should be - its hard to memorize approximately 200 drugs, how they work, what they're used for and their contraindications, when you can't even remember how to start your car. I'm just glad I remember to study for the right exam, instead of studying for one that already occured.

To all the other mommies who warned me about pregnancy brain - dear lord, how did you find you way home every day? I've noticed my memory is even slipperier (is that a word?) when I am hungry...which is most of the time.

If only I could remember where I keep the food....

Monday, February 20, 2006

Snarky Sunday - Round One

I've decided to institute a new theme here at Jerusalem Revealed. See, I've noticed that being pregnant makes me even crabbier than usual, and while I've been sounding off more openly to those who make me mad, nothing beats a great ol' blog b**chfest.

But, I worry that every blog entry will become a rant. SO I've decided to limit my ranting to once a week. Eevery Sunday the Snarky Sunday award will go to the person, institution or phenomenon that has irritated me the most during the week.

This way, I'll definitely be blogging at least once a week (a major improvement), but hopefully will compelled to blog about positive things to balance it all out.

Without further ado....Today's Snarky Sunday Award goes to....

People who are contantly late (as if its merely a character trait, and not a sign of rudeness)

My dear husband has a few friends who are constantly late. My own husband has a somewhat cavalier attitude towards timeliness. If someone makes me late for something, my blood pressure shoots up at least 20 mm of mercury, and I am prone to ripping their head off. You cna see where the problem begins to occur. If it was up to me, I would not wait too long for the latecomers, I would simply move on without them. But my dear husband is too kind for that.

Saturday night, after another lovely Shabbat at our fantastic friends The Treppenwitzes (who stocked me full of good food and maternity clothes- thanks!) we were on our way to sheva brachot (a post-wedding party) for friends in another city. Just before we left Efrat this friend of my husband's, who has never been on time for anything in his life, including his own birth, called to see if we could go out of our way to pick him up and offer him a ride.

I wasn't too keen on it, but we agreed. We gave him a time to meet us, necessitating us to go out of our way, and him to take a taxi to the agreed upon meeting place. When we arrived, he wasn't there. We called him - he didn't answer his phone. When he did, it was to tell us he hadn't yet left the house, but he would be there in 10 minutes. Eventually, 45 minutes after the agreed upon meeting time, he showed up. After the first 10 minutes of him being late, I begged my husband to let us leave without him and teach him a lesson, but he wouldn't let. After 20 minutes, I begged again, but he wouldn't let. After 30 minutes, I started getting cross with my husband.

And once we finally got on the road, I was freaking out because we were going to be a good hour and a half late for the party (was a sit-down dinner, not cocktails) and because we were supposed to have planned a romantic dedication to the couple, except my husband neglected to tell me that until we were already in Efrat. The game plan was to stop at home, grab my violin, find the sheet music for this love song in Afrikaans, and play it. Clearly, that wasn't going to happen.

I got cross with Jeremy (the friend) and my husband. When stressed and late, I tend to backseat drive at my husband, who is a slow and deliberate driver (whereas I rarely drive less than 120 kmh, unless a cop is right behind me). So my husband got cross at me. Jeremy meanwhile is sitting in the back seat, enjoying watching the 2 of us bicker - never thinking for a moment he may have contributed to the stress in the car. Towards the end, I got so stressed I started to have what I think were contractions.

We got to the party after 10 pm (it started at 8:30) - there were no seats left, no food left, we interrupted someone else's romantic dedication (we never did ours), and the party was done about half an hour after we got there.

Bryan is still upset at me about the backseat driving - overlooking the fact that the section of driving from Efrat to the point where we met Jeremy saw absolutely no backseat driving, and the section form the party home was equally quiet. The only time I got stressed was when Jeremy was making us so late, it was basically rude to show up at that point.

I've noticed that the always latecomers tend to be single guys. Bryan tried it about once when we were dating, and I explained to him that it made me so angry and upset that he never did it agian. If he's running late, and a has a plausible reason, he calls to let me know.

So single guys - I say this to you. Showing up late is not simply a flake. Its says to the person waiting for you "I completely disrespect you and my time is far more valuable than yours". When guys used to show up late for a date (without a good reason) I knew right away that there would never be a second date. When a guy shows up on time, it shows he is considerate. Sure, showing up late is not so much a crime of commission, rather a crime of ommission. Its not necessarily saying "You mean nothing, so I didn't bother to come on time". It says, "You mean so little to me, I couldn't be bothered making coming on time a priority". Let's be honest, people don't show up late when they really want to be where they are heading.

When I had a date I was looking forward to, I was ready an hour before the date. I took time to get dressed, then re-dressed, a hundred times. When I had a date I couldn't care less about I made plans to do something else beforehand, and try to get back in time to slick on a fresh coat of lipstick before heading out. Did my dates notice the difference? Perhaps not. But I did. I knew I was sitting on a date with a guy I had initially found (for whatever reason) not to be primp-worthy.

Anyway, I've rambled from my original rant. But my point is this. Next time you're running late, call the person to let them know. Single guys, consistently running late may not piss off your buddies, but eventually it will piss off their wives. Their pregnant wives. Their b**chy, crabby, stress-out pregnant wives.

Jeremy called last night becuse he was (surprise!) running late for a date and had no idea where the restaurant was located where he was supposed to meet the girl. Already late, and he still had no idea where to show up. I know what that girl was thinking...and she wasn't impressed.

Sunday, February 05, 2006

More about what no one ever tells you...

Thanks for all the well-wishes about being knocked up! Particular thanks to the other women who acknowledged that being pregnant can be very rough. I don't want to sound in any way ungrateful, because I am totally aware that being able to get pregnant this effortlessly and quickly is a huge blessing, especially since we know so many people who have been having a much more difficult time, but I must say, it is very tough!

Somehow, based on all the movies and the magazines and the books, I guess I never expected pregnancy (particularly the earlier stages) to be so demanding on my body. I thought the rough part would come during the last month or two and then sleepless nights due to a newborn.

Very wrong!! Despite the fact that morning sickness is supposed to magically disappear by the second trimester, that has not yet happened for me. In fact, its only gotten worse. I'll spare the gory details, but whereas before morning sickness was sort of a late-evening belly-ache for me, it is now actually being sick in the morning, causing me to lose my breakfast (unless its Cocoa Puffs - not the nutritionally balanced breakfast 'What to Expect When You're Expecting' recommends).

As for that pregnancy guide - I know some women consider it "the bible of pregnancy" but it basically makes me feel a little guilty. It tries to be permissive, and not make you feel bad for things you've already done before you knew you were pregnant (in my case, drinking alcohol, eating sushi and carpaccio, exceeding the daily limit on Advil for several days in a row and getting a rubella vaccination) but then it tells you to eat so damn much, there's no room in your belly for what they're trying to get you to shove in there. Just looking at the so-called Pregnancy Diet sends me to the bathroom - 11 servings a day of whole-grain carbs, 4 servings on dairy, 3 of protein, 3 of green veggies, 2 of other veggies...who can eat all this stuff!!

Which brings me to my next pregnancy gripe...maternity clothes. Why is it, that in a country so clearly pro-childbirth/reproduction, there is only one chain of clothing stores that sells maternity clothes? In all of Israel there is one chain (and ladies, if you know of others, don't hold out on me). This chain is expensive, exceedingly poor quality, and the clothes are neither attractive nor sufficient. You know you're in trouble when their seasonal catalogue is a) the size of a postcard, b)contains not one item you consider wearable and c) has three bare pregnant bellies (one with a tattoo, the other a piercing) as if to say "We couldn't find anything to wear either!" Its cold here now, yet tights for pregnant women do not exist! They don't have them! They also have no tank tops or undershirts, but almost all of the tops they sell are so low-cut that my newly expanded chestage is very exposed.

I gaze longingly at the online shops in America and dream of outfits I'd put together if I had those clothes! I truly understand why Israeli maternity fashion etiquette includes letting one's stretch-marked flecked belly hang out for the world to see...its that or wearing a tent!

Speaking of pierced belly buttons - I have one, and the thing I am very much not looking forward to is removing it. My doctor (who I see again on Wednesday) has asked me twice now when I will be taking it out, but I am loathe to do so. See it was always my sort of hidden, sexy thing. No one really sees it (except Bryan) since I don't generally let my belly hang out, but it makes me feel sexy and young and little bit cool - and also it was a present to myself when I finally got a flat belly 3+ years ago. And now, I don't have a flat belly (I know, its a baby), so its gotta go, but with it, I feel, goes some of my sexy young wild thang...and I'm not quite willing to part with that.

Its bad enough I look so matronly now - particularly when I wear maternity clothes, plus I cover my head (Jewish thing - sign I'm married/taken), but to lose even the thing that only Bryan and I could see is like the final nail. I'm thinking I'll pull it out before the doctor's appointment and put it right back in, and hold onto it for one more month at least, without angering the doc (who is honestly - so laid back I can't really see him getting angry).

And my final pregnancy revelation/gripe - the tiredness!! No one told me that being pregnant (particularly the 2nd and 3rd month) would be like walking uphill all the time! There were times when I couldn't stay up past 7:30. Even now, I need a nap or at least a little break to put my feet up, or I will not make it past 9 p.m. I can only imagine how tired I'll be when the little bugger actually comes. Its truly ridiculous...I mean, I suppose making another human being is a pretty big job, and is understandable that it makes one so tired, but how did the women in the field 5,000 years ago keep going and stop for 20 minutes to have another kid, plop it on their back and keep sowing the field??

You know how every once in a while a news story will come up about some women who "didn't know" she was pregnant until the kid popped out? All I can say is "Bullsh*t"! There is *no way* that you could miss this stuff, unless you were on so much drugs or alcohol that would could not notice your body being in a war.

Tonight I'm attempting to stay up and watch the Superbowl with my mom - my hometown team has made it in for the first time in 10 years, and for the first time in about 26 years, actually has a decent of shot of winning! Since the game kicks off at 1:18 a.m. in israel the chances of me staying awake are slim, but I'm gonna give it a go!

Wednesday, February 01, 2006

Double entendre?

Although my hebrew is fairly decent (and earned me passing the Hebrew University fluency exam by 2 points at 76%) I very often come across words that are totally new.

One such word is puncher - pronounced exactly as it looks. Now, most of you will know that it means a flat tire. Not sure about the etymology of the word, since its obviously derived from English in some way, but whatever.

However, yesterday I learned that it has another meaning - a puncher is the slang (though not altogether derogatory) term for an unplanned pregnancy. I have yet to find out if it applies to the child born of such a pregnancy (if that is the route chosen for dealing) or if it simply refers to the unplanned pregnancy itself, whether its continued or not.

This term disturbs me, and I have spent the past 2 days trying to figure out what the connection is between a flat tire and an unplanned pregnancy. Why use the same term? Using the exact same word for 2 seemingly unrelated hebrew concepts/objects is not a new thing in hebrew, but usually when you look for a connection you can find one. I can't think of any really great examples right now, but the hebrew word/root for counting ( l'saper) is very similar to the hebrew word for cutting.

But the flat tire/unplanned pregnancy thing is a mystery. I've decided it comes down to the "Oh Sh*t" factor - its probably the first phrase uttered out of the mouth of anyone who discovers they have a flat tire, as well as anyone who discovers that they're pregnant and didn't mean to be. Granted, dealing with a flat tire is a lot more simple than an accidental pregnancy - but there they are, they are both accidents. If anyone else can come up with a better connection, feel free to share.

Now, I've never experienced the "oh sh*t" factor - neither with respect to a flat tire nor an accidental knock-up. However (if you've read this far down/are still reading my blog after months of no postings - here comes your reward) I have recently experienced the "holy crap" factor of finding out that you are pregnant when you wanted to be!!

So I'll let that be my explanation for the paucity of postings - I'm pregnant and between the nausea and the total exhaustion (which I am thankfully passing/past) blogging took a back burner. Housework took a back burner. Cooking dinner took a back burner - hell, just swallowing a bite or two of dinner was a rough chore for a while.

Also, I've discovered my blogging stinks when I have no drama in my life - or in this case, there was plenty of drama but none I was willing to share with the blogosphere yet. Plus, we hadn't gotten around to telling some of the friends who we think would be pretty mad if they found out through the blog [if this is you, I am terribly sorry - we'll name the kid after you].

We're due in August, we have no idea what we're having, I haven't gained a pound yet, thank god all is well, thanks for asking - and no, this baby isn't a puncher!

The more "blog-gy" aspect for me will be how becoming a mom will affect my life, my world views, my relationships with my husband and family, and my relationships with my friends.

One thing I've discovered about friends is this - its really easy to be a good friend when something bad/sad happens to a friend. Its a lot harder to be a good friend when something good happens to them (particularly when things aren't going great for you). I have a couple sets of friends going through fertility difficulties right now, and I really was worried about sharing my news with them. One set (you know who you are) reacted really wonderfully - I don't know how hard it was for them, but I really felt like they were happy for me. And I so appreciate it. Because I have other friends who haven't reacted as well - not necessarily because they have fertility issues, but because they are having other personal issues or simply can't make be happy for me. And I'm trying not be hurt, or be too distanced, though obviously that may be inevitable, because I know its not personal. But I really appreciate the friends that have reacted positively, even if it is difficult for them, because I see now how hard it really is, and it makes me thankful to have such friends.

Anyway, I promise this blog will not become a place where I regale readers with tales of bodily functions/fluids that should not be made public. I really hate when seemingly normal people become parents and suddenly start sending out mass emails (with pics, natch) about the size and color of their son's "productions"...