If you've been following along, you'll recall that today is decorate the succah day! And as we discussed yesterday, it's pretty darn hot outside and even hotter up on a ladder hanging decorations.
So in the interest of time (let's get back inside the house as fast as possible!) we mostly stuck to decorating the lattice. But I like it. Plain, simple, laid back, kind of like our new life in Florida is supposed to be.
Notice, if you will, my plastic bird which hangs in our succah. Keep looking at it and then come back tomorrow and I'll tell you a crazy bird story. (Yeah, Goldie, I'm looking at you.)
See you soon,
Lets be honest. Succah building is not for a Nice Jewish Boy. Or maybe it's just not for a Nice Jewish Boy with a Full Time Job. There, that sounds better. Because lots of Nice Jewish Boys can build succahs. Josh included. It's just that they usually - and I'm not saying always - but usually, those succahs tend to be pre-fab succahs.
For years I had no idea what 'pre-fab' meant but now I do - it would be pre-fabricated. As in, someone else did the hard work, you click these two poles together. Good job!
In New Jersey, we owned an awesome succah; it was huge, we routinely had twenty people for a meal with extra room to spare. And while it did not click together as easily as some other succahs, there definitely was enough clicking going on that the succah was built in an afternoon.
But now we're in Florida. And apparently, if you build a regular canvas or plastic succah, you will roast.
I've been watching wood beam and lattice succahs pop up around the neighborhood* for the past week or so and Josh has been strategizing his succah building game plan for weeks, consulting with his handy friends in NY. There have been scraps of paper and calculations and numerous trips to Home Depot. It was all very exciting, especially for my boys - Josh included.
It all looked great, on paper.
The other night Josh comes home from work all ready to go build the succah; my boys are pumped and the girls and I spread out the picnic blanket in the backyard to we can sit and watch. Everything is ready.
Except for the part when you realize you don't have a clue how to actually build a succah from wood beams, although after the fact, you kind of realize that building a wall should take place on the ground and not free-hand in the air.
Enter Art. He's a wonderful person whom we got to know over Rosh Hashana. Art also happens to be a contractor. I love Art. He's my new best friend, and not only because he built me this succah in two afternoons.
I love our succah and we haven't even decorated it yet.
Art says that he'll come back after Succot and make the whole thing a permanent pergola, with a detachable roof and a ceiling fan all ready to go for for next Succot.
May we be zoche to detach our whole beautiful succah from the house and transport it with us to Yerushalayim for Succot next year.
*I'll be honest, I really like it here in Florida but I gotta say, there's something missing when it comes to sukkah building season. I'm very used to going for longs walks in NJ, especially as the chagim arrive and the weather gets cooler. And I would always love walking around the neighborhood, hearing the clanging of succah poles followed by a string of words best muttered under your breath.
It's just not the same hearing a couple of nails fall down, or even a hammer. Oh well, I'll always have the memories.
Anyway, here, a pictorial of the Great Succah Building Escapade of 2013.
Next up: The Decorating of the Succah Or It's too Dang Hot Up Here on this Ladder so We're Just Going to Decorate the Bottom Half.
I was kind of sad on Wednesday, not bring anywhere near NYC on the anniversary of 9-11.
I feel like September 11th is kind of our thing - and when I say "our", I mean my peer group and when I say "thing", I mean the big something that happened that defined who we became.
September 11th was the big historical event that we lived through. I have listened to stories of those who survived terror attacks abroad or even the first time the World Trade Center was attacked and found it difficult to understand their pain. They always had my profound sympathy but not always my total understanding because, really, how could I understand?
But this was different. This was September 11th. And I will never experience September 11th as anything other than a terrifying morning at work in downtown Manhattan. My kids, on the other hand, will learn about it in school and think, hmm, that was terrible and then move on. They will not be nauseous in the days leading up to 9-11. They will not be incredulous when they turn the morning news on in a state that is not NY and realize that the leading story is not 9-11.
My office, twelve years ago, was far enough away from the World Trade Center that immediate evacuation was not necessary but close enough to see the ambulances racing down Broadway and to be a part of the section of the city that was off limits to civilians for weeks afterwards.
So why am I sharing this?
Because the other afternoon, a friend forwarded me a link to an article I had written immediately after 9-11, and which I had totally forgotten about.
(Re)reading it brought back so many memories, it was hard to shake the feeling all day, kind of like a dark rain cloud following me around.
In the spirit of sharing, here it is: Nothing Will Ever Be the Same.
Last night I was thinking back to that Rosh Hashana and Yom Kippur in 2001 and I remember the intensity, the need to be present and in the moment with the communal davening and at the same time just wanting to crawl into a hole.
And then I thought about how far we've come since then, both as a group but also individually. Life truly does go on.
May we all be be sealed l'tovah for the coming year, and always.
Shana Tovah :)
Next Up: A Succah in Florida. Could we be any hotter?
I went to the wrong dry cleaners last week.
It would have been totally fine except that the little ticket the guy gave me did not have the dry cleaner's address on it. Not a cause for panic because I can retrace my (driving) steps, right?
Yeah, not so much. Everything looks the same to me here. Every strip mall and um, other strip mall (there's not much else going on in terms of shopping) look exactly the same. At least to me. Josh seems to know where he is right away and cannot figure out why I can't remember which way the Target is.
I am map-challenged. For years, Josh has been trying to show me where I am and how to get somewhere on his various maps that he keeps in the car but nope, nothing. I just don't understand maps. I like directions that go something like: Turn left at the gas station, go straight until you see the mailbox and turn at the next light. Simple, concrete directions with landmarks to look out for.
I drive around here but I never really know where I am. I use the navigation system to go distances farther than five minutes from home or to anywhere that involves turning off the main street, but even so, I can't get a real sense of where I am. And you know what else? The highway here - even though it has a North and South attached to its name, does not really mean North or South. I know.
According to Josh, the highway runs in a circle around the city and so you can get anywhere going either way. In a way, it's comforting; you (I) can't get that lost, it just might take me double the time to fully go around the circle. Also, they might want to consider changing the North and South to clockwise and counterclockwise. I think people would find that helpful.
We eventually got the cleaners thing sorted out (and the two buildings do look alike), and so today, I went to the correct cleaners. And to congratulate myself, I pulled into the Starbucks parking lot. But across the way, there was a Goodwill and I was like, hmmm, Goodwill vs. Starbucks. I've had a Starbucks before, but I've never been to a Goodwill. And a mommy on the pickup line the other day told me that she got an awesome bookshelf there for $10. I have $10 and I am in need of a bookshelf. Instead of dropping $5 at Starbucks (I like a grande), I ventured into Goodwill.
I think until now, I was unaware that Goodwill sold things. I knew they took donations but I never thought it through to the end.
In the spirit of pushing my comfort zone - as if moving out of the tri-state area was not comfort pushing enough - I went in. I did not find a bookshelf but I found an Adirondack chair for $8 for my backyard. Or front yard. Not sure yet. But it's $8 here and $30 in Target. I grabbed it. It was pretty clean but could use a little wipe down with some baby wipes. They make everything better. (Ma, you still with me? I know it's a used chair, but you'll be okay when you sit in it. I promise.)
Wanna see it? I'm so excited.
And since we're looking at pictures of the outside of the house, check out my owl. He's from Michael's and he makes me smile every time I come to the front door.
I wonder if there are any other Goodwills around here? I could totally use a bench for the front hall and I could also use a little furniture redo project...
I'm also wondering why my phone takes such grainy pictures. It might be time to switch back to a regular camera.
Until next time, think good thoughts and do good things - it's the Aseret Yemei Teshuva :)
So Rosh Hashana is coming pretty quickly, in a little more than 48 hours and I've got nothing.
But that's okay, because thankfully, we have been invited out for a bunch of meals and while we are hosting for one meal, the kids are home today and four kids, Labor Day and a supermarket just don't mix. It'll all get done, it always does.
We did bake challah but we aso baked something else. Crayons.
You know how you have that huge box of crayons that everyone refuses to use because they're broken and old? I have one too.
And yesterday, while Josh was trying to figure out how the heck to build a Florida sukkah, the kids sat at the table and peeled old crayons and ate cookies.
After a while we had this:
And then, after 20 minutes at 250 degrees, we had these:
The funnest crayons ever!
We'll be back soon with a Rosh Hashanah treat or two.
But just in case we're not, please allow me to take a minute to wish you a Shana Tova and a super joyous year filled with health and blessings of all kinds.
Don't forget to let that shofar wake you up to all the blessings in your life.
Are you a Mom?
Of course you are,
your shirt is dirty :)