Monthly Archives: March 2010

Wine

One of my sons came home from Yeshiva with an explanation about wine that I had never heard before. I know that I cannot drink wine if it is opened by a non-Jew. But he was taught to take it a step further, that if someone who is Jewish but who is not shomer mitzvot – ie someone who is not Sabbath observant or Kashrut observant – opens or touches the wine in some way, then that wine becomes “Stam Yaynom” – wine that an observant Jew is forbidden to drink.

Is this a chumra or is it halacha? Can anyone enlighten me? What about mevushal wine? Where does that come in? (their Rebbi told them to be careful, especially if they were at a seder where there would be non-religious people).

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Just to let you know

That for the next couple of weeks I will be updating the blog only sporadically as we will be very busy preparing for Pesach, and then extremely busy enjoying the holiday. Next Wednesday there will be NO Wacky Sign as it will be the second day of Pesach.

Wishing you and yours a Chag Kasher veSameach – Happy Passover everyone!
HSM

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Ah children!!

Today’s mail brought two items for my eldest son. (Why can’t they address my bills to him??) One was a package containing 2 Mike and Ike packs. He had eaten some Mike and Ikes a while back, and they tasted weird to him. So, being my son, he complained to the company. They sent him a lovely letter apologizing for the poor quality, suggesting reasons for said poor quality, and some free Mike and Ikes for his trouble.

The second piece of mail made me laugh. My 12 year old son has been learning about writing letters in English class. How to address an envelope, how to start and end a letter etc. So for an assignment they had to write a letter to someone, address it correctly and mail it. He told me 2 weeks ago that he wrote to his oldest brother and was eagerly waiting for his letter to arrive. Here follows the letter (which by the way was written on paper, but stuck onto a card made from sandpaper!!):

Dear Lenny

I am writing to tell you that it’s very nice that you don’t punch me all the time and you semi-like me. But I’m not so sure but hey we’re all human. I plan on repaying you somehow. I look forward to you not killing me.

I’m sorry for constantly insulting you. Thank you again. Many thanks for that.

“a world without me is like me without food”

Without Wax

Your Bro

PHF

PS could you do something about Prince ChatterBox for me.

Well, I do have to say that the layout of the letter is correct, and the envelope was correctly addressed other than leaving off “Montreal, Quebec”. The sandpaper card cracked me up – I am wondering if that was deliberate or not. I hope my son will keep this card for posterity. Would love to see what Prince Hockey Fan will think about it ten years from now.

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Internet Woes

My Internet connection has been acting up the past few days. The phone company tells me there are line errors. They had me installing extra filter thingummajiggies on the phone lines, but that didn’t help. It keeps timing out on me. This morning when I awoke I turned on my laptop and I had no connection for two whole hours. Which meant that Wednesday’s Wacky Signs didn’t get posted till later than usual (thanks, people, for the phone calls and emails wondering if I forgot) and it also meant that I got plenty of other non-puter related stuff accomplished today way ahead of time.

The Bell technician will be here today between 12 and 6. My bet is that he will be here closer to 6 than to 12 but you never know. So I am trying to squeeze in all my errands this morning, as well as doing laundry. The boys have a chore list to work through.

Hopefully this will be a productive day. I just need my Interwebz back….

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Folks, I need your help

I am sitting here trying to breathe through this iron band around my chest. I lost it with one of the kids this morning. This child is not a neat child by nature. He is the type of kid that makes himself at home wherever he is, takes off his socks and stuffs them in his trouser pocket while reading or watching TV, or under the sofa cushions. He doesn’t notice mess of any sort. Mind you, neither do the rest of them unless I point it out. Is that perhaps a boy thing?

I am not a perfectionist when it comes to the house. I like clean, I like tidy, but I am not OCD about it. My house looks lived in – not immaculate. BUT there are certain standards that I expect everyone to adhere to. Beds need to be made in the morning, there needs to be NO dirty clothes on the floor, clean clothes must be put away and I need to be able to navigate through a bedroom without stepping on Lego.

This morning I asked ALL the boys to neaten up their rooms, make sure all their dirty laundry was brought to my room to be sorted, and I went to investigate. 3 out of 4 had done what I asked. The fourth was doing his thing (lolling around doing nothing) and I asked him why he hadn’t cleaned up. “I cleaned up yesterday”. I pointed out to him that there was mess that was made since yesterday and I wanted it taken care of. At this point I am still calm and rational. “But, Ima…..”. I pointed out to him exactly what I needed him to do, told him it would take him 5 minutes. I got lip and aggravation. “It’s always me that you are nagging to clean up, you never nag the others” – I never nag the others because they always do it straightaway and properly. Begrudgingly he said he’d do it. I went in 5 minutes later and nothing was done.

I reminded him that I asked him to take care of it, and would he please do so. No. He was in a very contrary mood and it seems that I was asking too much of him. He felt very put upon and singled out and refused to do it. Somehow, it just set me off. I am not proud of myself but I told him there was no maid service here, and he needs to learn personal responsibility and I hope that he marries himself a rich wife who can afford to pay someone to clean up after him. Of course I got into the whole “I do so much for you and you take me for granted” business. I hate when that happens. I got so angry with him, and he was mad at me. I shouldn’t have yelled like that, very not like me. He isn’t talking to me now, but his room is clean.

When I ask this child to clean a common area – like the bathroom or living room – for Shabbat he has no problem doing it. In fact, yesterday he and his brother cleaned up my spare bedroom (read “junk room”) together – and it looks awesome and is sparkling clean.

How do I teach this child (one of the older ones, I’m not saying whom) to care about his things? How do I teach him personal responsibility – his brothers seemed to learn it from an early age. I have tried charts and rewards. I even told him that once we move if he cannot keep his room clean (he will have his own room for the first time) he will lose the privilege of not sharing a room and will have to move into shared space. He is a bright kid and understands the consequences of his actions, he just cannot bring himself to care enough to follow through with the right behaviour.

My heart hurts. I lost my temper with a child. I will apologize to him when we have both calmed down. I just hurt so much that I cannot get him to care. Do you have any ideas how I can get him to do what I need for him to do, without it being a battle every single time? Without him telling me I am obsessed with cleanliness?

Thanks.

(I know I am human…..and most parents lose their temper occasionally…..but I hate how I behaved. How will I ever make it up to him??)

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Wednesday’s Wacky Signs

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Some people!!

Why is it that some people have the need to fill silences with total ridiculousness? I ran a few errands today and bumped into an acquaintance. She’s had a tough time with the males of the species – she is one of those who thinks that all men are bad. Part of me understands her – I went through that a while back but even then I was not as bitter as she is.

So she knows our living situation, and commiserated with me. Then she said “it must be so hard sitting at home wondering all the time if he is where he says he is, if he really sleeps at home, constantly worrying that he is cheating on you” – Projecting much??? I was flabbergasted!! I told her, with a smile, that we trust each other 100% and there is no doubt in either of our minds as to the other’s fidelity. She snorted, said “there are none so blind as those that will not see” and flounced off.

Now, this woman has never met my KoD, does not know him at all. If she did she’d know how ridiculous her statements sound. How dare she make these terrible generalizations just because of her negative experiences with men and marriage. How dare she try to put doubt in my mind? She didn’t succeed at all, because I rest assured in the knowledge that my KoD is totally worthy of my trust, and I am worthy of his.

I feel bad for her that she thinks all men are cheats and liars. It’s tragic that she hasn’t found that special someone that she can trust. It’s devastating that she will never be able to pull herself out of this terrible mode of thinking to allow herself to ever trust a guy again. It’s become so ingrained in her, that she doesn’t even see it.

So sad.

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Immigration Questions

Our immigration interview is coming up real soon, and I have spent the morning printing out photos, making sure I have the right documentation (criminal background checks from everywhere I have lived since the age of 16, medicals for all of us, birth certificates, marriage certificates, divorce decrees etc) and putting it all together in a file. I have been told by others that it’s important to also provide any paperwork that shows the KoD’s name with mine – for example: bank statements, bills etc, even though it isn’t asked for specifically. I have to take more passport pictures tomorrow for myself, luckily I still have two each for the boys from when we took photos for the medicals.

Over the weekend I spent some time talking with the boys about how to conduct themselves at the interview. To only speak when spoken to. To speak politely. To answer the questions posed – but not add any additional information. To tell the truth only. I could apply for the younger boys to be exempted from the interview – but I think it’s important that they are there and take part. One of the older ones told the youngest that if he is as annoying as usual they might not let him into the States. Brothers can be so nasty.

One thing I couldn’t tell them was what questions we will be asked. I have absolutely no idea what kind of things they will want to know. I know the documentation will tell them most of what they want to know. I know they are looking to see if this is a marriage of convenience. Let me think about that for a second. Living apart, managing two residences, juggling 7 kids between us, car issues, driving up and down the I-87 every other weekend for over a year, missing each other – this has hardly been convenient!!

If you have knowledge of this kind of interview – will they ask the boys any questions? What questions will they ask me and the KoD? Will they even ask the KoD anything as he doesn’t have to be there, but chooses to come? Does what we wear matter?

None of us has anything to hide – so I am not too worried, I just want to be adequately prepared and have the kids ready for anything that might happen.

Thanks in advance.

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Poll for the menfolk

Of course, it’s a poll about your ladies. Do you like them to wear make-up and get dressed up, even if it’s just to spend time with you? Does it bother you if they make no effort whatsoever and shlump around in their sweats / pjs – or do you prefer that look? Do you ever ask your lady to put make up on, or dress nicer? Do you not notice at all what she is wearing? Do you ever wish she would make more of an effort? Does she dress differently now than when you were dating? How so? Does this bother you? What are your views on the robes that many religious women wear a lot of the time?

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Mikvah Question

I have been using the mikvah for the last 16 years (whoa, am I really that old??) apart from the few years when I was divorced. I thought I knew all there was to know. The more I read the more I find out there are customs I never heard of. Yesterday we talked about the knife under the pillow. Today I ask a different question. Apparently there is a custom that from the moment a woman immerses in the mikvah, after she comes out, until she has 3 items of clothing on, she is not to say a word other than the bracha (blessing) for the immersion. Is this a known custom? On what is it based? My mikvah lady is a chatterbox, and the conversation only stops when I am dunking, and I would think she would know about this inyan (matter).

Anyone?

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