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I’m back

it’s been a while since I wrote. my house has been a construction nightmare for the last six months. our kitchen was just completed Friday. over the last two weeks, with a huge team of friends, we worked to get the house in order. not everything is finished construction wise, however to have our house back is an amazing feeling.
during all this chaos,I was shopping and preparing for Passover. if this wasn’t enough, I had Lasik surgery last Wednesday and made my daughter a surprise party Thursday night.
by Friday I was searching for my super woman cape.
Saturday proved to be a gift from GD, an unexpected summer day on Shabbat, where we could do nothing but enjoy it .
we had lunch on our new deck.
tonight, miraculously , all the chometz is packed away.
tomorrow we make breakfast in our kitchen.
we can finally see a light at the end of the tunnel.

Wow!

I haven’t written in a while but today was blog worthy. I have the dumbest housekeeper ever, yet can’t replace her until I find an aide because the housekeeper helps me.
What could she have done, you ask? I’ll tell you what she did today.
My husband told her to wake me at 10. At 10:40 my husband calls and she comes in and tells me that he said to wake me at 10. I tell her it’s 10:40 and she says that I was sleeping at 10. Duh! That’s why he told her to wake me.
Here’s another , I told her to move stuff and dust well.
She comes up and says it’s very dusty.
Hello, we’re doing construction, if she doesn’t dust daily it will be dusty.
Here’s the best one today, my husband went to get ice cream and found the half empty milk and fresh veggies in the freezer.
Someone help!
This list goes on and on.
I need to find a good aide so I can hire a good housekeeper.

You never appreciate good help till it’s gone.

Since I was 8 months pregnant with my six year old, I have been blessed with really good help who loved my family as their own. Working full time, it was a relief to know everyone and everything was taken care of. Earlene who had gotten stuck in her country after returning to help her sick kid, returned to us just when I needed her. She cared for my newborn as if he was her own. She helped me after a traumatic c section. When my son was 4 mos old, Earlene got sick. She brought her friend Marlene. She trained her for a week before leaving to have surgery.
Marlene became family. She would love to cook and bake with me Thursday nights way after she was off duty. When my daughter had surgery, she slept on the floor of my boys room so they would not be scared if they woke up at night.
When I lost my job we kept Marlene for a year because we loved her so much. When I had to let her go, she cried and offered to work for free.
For the last two and a half years Ivon worked for us. She was the nicest , caring, hardworking , reliable housekeeper. Ivon got married and moved away.
I hired someone new, who seemed great. Little did we know….

She started out sweet, but raised a red flag on day two. Every day something else happened. First week she insisted on leaving early. She would argue with me and tell me no often. Pretty odd for someone who wants to please. She started lying, wanted Friday off because she claimed she had church thanksgiving night…what religion is that? Black Friday Parish? After being off Wednesday and Thursday she complained all Friday that she had too much work. Duh, that’s what happens when you don’t work. Saturday she asked if my necklace was real silver….another red flag! Today she broke a new vacuum and blamed it on someone else. She tried to give my son frozen fish sticks and argued with me when I said she had to cook em. Later on I had a friend over. My housekeeper went to take out the trash. My friend saw someone by the window and went to see if it was my daughter. My housekeeper stormed in and said ’ you checking on me?, you think I’m stealing?’ . We looked at her dumbfounded. We continue talking and she comes in yelling ” why you whispering about me? You don’t trust me, you think I’m stealing.” Huh?! No one thought that. On her way out she held open her bag and said “look I’m not stealing” and left. What just happened ? Guilty conscience? Ironicly she called the agency yesterday asking for a raise. What nerve! After two weeks when she took tine off already. My husband called her to fire her and she attacked him on the phone. He didn’t even have to fire her, she dug her own grave. I am now helpless when I need it most.

A triple celebration!

When I wake up tomorrow my family will be celebrating three historical events. Events that will never occur on the same day for 70,000 years. Even then, only two will repeat.
You see tomorrow is my son’s sixth birthday, as well as the first day of Chanukah and Thanksgiving. Chanukah and Thanksgiving may be around in 70,000 years, my son will not.
If he is that would be a true Chanukah miracle.
Of all my kids, Yoni’s birth was a series of miracles.
My doctor told me I had a better chance of getting hit by lightning than getting pregnant . Sure enough I got pregnant,4 yrs later I was struck by lightning. Guess I’m super lucky.
Yoni’s birth was an emergency c section. He was whisked to the ICU. After 3 kids being born without a stitch, this was scary.
In the recovery room, I must have lost a lot of blood.
I remember looking up, seeing a white light and everyone screaming as they hovered over me. Yes, I saw the white light.
They gave me two blood transfusions and put me in ICU for 3 days.
I now view Yoni’s birthday as my birthday as well, gd gave me a second chance to live.
He’s my unexpected gift and I love him to pieces. He keeps me young.
Happy birthday to my adorable, smart blonde, who always keeps me on my toes.
Happy Chanukah!
Happy Thansgiving!

Proud Parents Always Embarrass Their Kids

In the spirit of my friend Ilana, I felt the need today to boast about, aka embarrass my kids. Ilana is the expert and has taught me well.
I’ll start with my youngest, who proved this weekend that he knows more Hebrew than any of his older siblings. Amazingly,my first grader seems to have a photographic memory. He told us the names of every Parsha (chapter) in the Torah. My fifth grader could not do so. He also started saying every prayer he knew and recited an entire Shir Hamalot from Tehilm(psalms) by heart as we listened in awe. Finally our tuition dollars being spent well. Hopefully he can teach his older siblings.
My baby is truly growing up,not only is he a learning sponge,but he lost his first tooth. No more babies for me.
My older son had his fifth grade choir last night, always the kid who feels the need to be the center of attention, he volunteered for solos on the second day of school. Ilan was at the mike for three songs. When an older kid jumped on stage and tried to steal his mike, Ilan defended his territory. I’m super proud of him.
My daughter was on her freshman retreat this weekend. She came home and said kids describe her as the pretty girl with good posture. This made me so happy. Before her surgery, no one would have ever thought she could have good posture.
My oldest daughter was suddenly helpful on Friday. She actually went to bed at 11 Saturday night…hmmm..her Skype partner must have been away this weekend. Hey…she’s a teenager, I’ll take the small blessings as they come.
Now that I’ve embarrassed them all, it’s time to embarrass myself. Chanuka is in two weeks and for the first time ever I have no idea what to get for my 10 yr old son and 14 and 17 yr old daughters. Gone are the simple toys r us days.
All ideas are welcome and desperately welcome.

Those Who Can Do

I just made a call to inquire about and book my sons birthday party. Yes, my speech is slurred, I never know how it will come out of my mouth,but I’ll be damned if I’m gonna give up so fast.
I’ve been wearing my new diaphragm pacemaker almost all day and it has improved my speech. Yippee! I was able to work out the details and book his party on my own. I’m so happy the woman understood me.
This morning my sons friend had surgery. His parents are good friends of ours. Yesterday I contacted his classmates and moms friends and in hours 28 people had chipped in to buy him a gift to entertain him during his long recovery.
I may not be able to do as much anymore, but it felt good to be able to pay it forward and do something for someone else.
The outpouring of help I have received since my surgery has been incredible. Friends and strangers have been making my family dinners. Friends set up that someone always brings me lunch and hangs out. People text me to run errands, offer rides and some just visit. Just like after Sandy, the five towns has proven to be a community of doers like no other. An illness such as mine can be like being on an isolated island. Mine has opened up so many new and old friendships. My home has become grand central station. I really enjoy reconnecting with old friends. I used to be a person who relishes the solitude. I do miss my solitude, but I am learning to enjoy the chaos. Every day my home is filled with contractors , hired help, friends and finally my kids. I should start a foodtruck business in my driveway to feed em all. These days I control life from my iPad. I’ve learned that I can do almost anything on my iPad . Watch out world! I will never stop doing.

Make a Wish

I’m finally healed enough to write again. Lucky ( or unlucky) for you, I’ve done a lot of wild thinking lying in bed. Once a thought is in my mind, it branches off in so many different directions.
I get emails from Make a Wish quite often. It started me thinking about wishes.
We all wish for things daily. Some are simple, such as ” I wish I had a new_______”. Some are for health, some are spiritual and some are just for a better world around us.
Before my diagnoses, my wishes were typical, spoiled, superficial and at times envious of others.
When out of work, I wished for a great job. I dreamed of starting my own business.
At times I wished to be happier, not appreciating what I had.
I wished for a newer car and nicer house.
It’s funny, my house has never been perfect, but over the years we have always packed many people inside. Amazingly, after Sandy, with less space and crazy clutter, friends and family still pile in
I have learned that it doesn’t matter what a house looks
Ike, but rather who the people are that live in the house.
I also love my block and Saddle Ridge and never want to move.
My home is now being repaired and expanded. I guess I got my wish, however this wasn’t the way I would have wanted it to happen. It’s funny, I’m finally getting my kitchen and can’t cook.
Life truly is ironic.
I have learned the importance of family. When my daughter had a tumor at 8, Make a Wish sent our family to Hawaii. It was a trip that built memories for life.
I wish there was a Make a Wish for adults. Only two of my kids have been to Israel. I wish to go to Israel with my entire family while I still can. I want to make memories with them that they will cherish forever. My daughter will turn 18 in Israel on a school trip. My wish is for us to join her the next day for Passover in Jerusalem. It may be the last time I can travel so much.
Many of my wishes have come true, so who knows ……of course I wish and pray for a cure.(and that my daughter gets into her dream college)

Like sand through an hourglass.

Like sand through an hourglass, so goes the days of my life.
In the past life felt routine and fast paced, just like the sand flowing smoothly through the hourglass.
These days the hourglass keeps getting jammed and needs to be shaken up to flow smoothly again. However, once the flow is disrupted, it never flows the same again.
This past Shabbat the Torah reading was Lech Lecha. It means go from the place that you live. If you look back to last years calendar you will see that the Shabbat before Hurricane Sandy was also Lech Lecha. Gd literally sent us from our homes.
Today it is beautiful and sunny out. Many don’t realize that tonight is the Hebrew anniversary of Sandy. It was the night my family, and entire block,was rescued from the water and slept at the firehouse.
This was the night that changed our life forever. This is when my hourglass got jammed. Nothing is routine and smooth anymore.
Yes, life is still routine. Life is actually jam packed. The routine however is far different than any I would have imagined in my lifetime.
I am 39. I have half a year till I turn 40. As Miley said , 40 is old. Funny, when I was younger I thought that too. Now that I’m approaching 40, I know how young 40 really is. I feel how young 40 is. My friends are all working out, running marathons and picking up new skills. I on the other hand, struggle to walk across a room without falling, forget running. As for new skills…since my fine motor skills are going, needlepoint and rainbow loom is out. I have gotten really good at swallowing massive vitamins 4 times a day. I have learned to eat with my left hand and drive a scooter really well. So far I haven’t injured anyone yet.
Truth be told, ALS sucks. It is a disease that controls you.
I move so slowly these days that it takes me hours to get out in the morning. I enjoy sleeping so much lately, that I laze on bed all morning. This coming from a woman who used to wake at 5:30 daily.
Gone is my ability to cook or bake. As a food snob, this is torture. I am a woman who needs lists for everything. I can no longer write legibly.
Thank god I was always so bossy. My housekeeper and kids cook using my recipes.
As for the writing, I must thank god for touch screens, iPads, smartphones..etc. They have become my voice, my way of organizing , my way of shopping and my connection to the world that seems beyond my grasp some days.
A woman came over last week to train me on a computer that I control with my eyes. To my relief, I can email, talk, chat, text, call, Skype,Facebook and shop on it. Scary as it seems, I know I can be bossy and controlling,even when I loose all control. I’ll have a voice, when mine is gone.
A year ago we went from our home. I got a diagnoses that was devastating. We are now rebuilding our home to face whatever the future throws at us.
This Thursday morning I will once again be going from my home. I will be having surgery that will hopefully prolong my life.
Please keep Devorah Rachel bat Miriam Chava in your prayers.Lets hope the sand runs smoothly in my hourglass.

I survived the Jewish Holidays of 2013

All Jewish moms deserve an award this year. Imagine thanksgiving dinner. Fun, happy, lots of work. Now multiply that by 9 days in three weeks, two huge thanksgiving dinner meals each day. Whether you were the host or the guest, it was exhausting.
Rosh Hashona we enjoyed the company of family. We got to know a future family member and can’t wait for the wedding in November.
The first days of Sukkot, we ate many of our meals at friends.
We made new friends, however enjoyed reuniting with friends I hadn’t seen since I was a teenager.
What tugged at my heart strings was seeing kids grown up that I knew from birth.
I’m beginning to feel old. How can I be old though if I still have a first grader?
Chol Hamoed( the intermediary days of sukkot) started with a bang. We had plans for lots of company the last days of Sukkot, so errands and shopping were a must.
Cousins came over later in the day and a wonderful family time was had. My first grader left with his cousins to Jersey for a sleepover….happy mom here.
Monday morning we drove to the airport to pick up my daughters boyfriend, our guest for the week.
Feeling really old now. Wasn’t my hs senior just in first grade?
When did she grow up?
Monday eve my son came back and my 13 yr old nephew slept over.
Tuesday morning we started construction. Just what I needed this week. I drove everyone but my first grader to the train to the city…where they went 3 different ways.
When I got home and walked into my kitchen, it looked like a bomb hit. Every dish was used and everywhere. Thank gd my wonderful neighbor Monique, showed up and saved the day.
Tuesday night the cooking began again.
Thanks to my kids, husband, housekeeper and friends, we cooked and baked delicious food.
Wednesday night we had 12 for dinner. We had a great time with family. Everyone helped and it was wonderful.
Thursday lunch we expected 18 people. Another wonderful friend walked over with her kids, my 10yr old sons friends came over and my neighbor joined us with his son for a drink and dessert. Somehow 18 became 27, the house was hopping and lunch ended after 5. A few of the boys stayed til it was time to go to Shul for Simchat Torah.
Simchat Torah night is always packed, yet always fun to see friends.
My husband brought over a huge arm chair and my friends joked that I was holding court but missing my crown and scepter.
Friday was a day to chill. The kids all hung with friends.
Saturday, crazy me invited 20 ppl for lunch. We all had a great time. My 10 yr old realized no one was his age so he invited 7 friends without asking. Four came and suddenly 20 became 25.
The sound level in our house was insane…the last kids left around 10 last night. My daughters friend went home this morning.
We are back to normal days. Kids all go back to school tomorrow for full weeks.
Today I’m chilling,coming down off the high of the last few weeks.
What will I do with myself with no holidays to prep for?

Remembering how 9/11 hit our family.

I remember that day 12 years ago as clearly as I remember yesterday. It was Sabrina’s first day of nursery school. I remember dropping her off and being so happy she didn’t cry at all. I drove home with Barney still playing in my car. With the radio off, I had no idea what had happened.
When I got home, I went to shower. The second I got out of the shower, every phone in my house was ringing off the hook. Relatives were calling, some calm, some crying, all asking if I heard from my husband. I hadn’t, but why would I? He’s at work. They told me to turn on the tv and I did.
I stood there transfixed to the screen in shock. Thank Gd my kids were in school because my husband worked at Lehman Brothers in Tower 1 on the 40th floor. It was a very long time until he was able to call me. The longest in my life.
He didn’t listen when he was told to stay put. He got up, ran down 40 flights of steps. He escaped to the West Side Highway witnessing things no one should ever see in their lifetime. Watching people jumping to their deaths from the WTC must have been horrifying!
My husband continued walking up the west side highway. His brother had just moved out of his apartment and he was hoping to go there till transit was running again and he could get home.
He hitched a ride from a stranger uptown. He was covered in dirt.
Later that night he was able to get home. We found out later that night that his uncle, Edmund Glazer was on the plane that hit his building.
My brother is an EMT and Firefighter. He had rushed to the scene trying to find my husband and to help anyone he can.
My brothers birthday is September 11. He spent his birthday selflessly helping others. Love you Avi & happy birthday.
It’s pretty hard to celebrate your birthday when it has been forever tarnished by the horror of 9/11.
That day changed our lives forever. God was watching over us that day. He saved my kids father. He saved my brother. Since that fateful day between my family and my brothers five more kids were born. Those kids are a symbol that the terrorists will never win.

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