Monday, December 29, 2008

THAT'S DONE AND I BEAT THE RIN

Last night was one of the worst I've had in a long time. That dad blasted burn kept me awake until 0330 when I fell asleep only to be awakened by it at 0500. I changed the bandage, then, because Peg was making 'I have to go out' sounds, I put him out and watched while he did his business from the wheely at the door. I had the newpaper deliverd right into my hand. At 0530 I brought Peg in, did the word puzzles in the paper and went to sleep. Plans for getting to the clinic in time for the blood letting ended up being changed to tomorrow because I got there well after the blood samples were picked up for their trip to the lab. I had my coffee, took care of e mails, then, got dressed and went out. First stop was a shop where I'd seen a lovely pair of purple sock slippers that just had to have. With them safely purchased I went upstairs to the clinic and had a short consultation with the nurse about the burn. We decided that I'd continue with the cream I'm using now, then, on Wednesday talk with the surgeon about switching to a different patch that won't start hurting after a few hours.
Then, it was off to the bank. That lovely new ramp was blocked by a car being parked on it, so I had to use one of the old ones that is too short and too steep. My banker let me pay the car insurance, and get some cash. for once my car insurance was paid on time!
When it was time to leave the building all ways of egress were blocked. That car was still on the ramp and grocery carts were lined up too far on one side to allow me go by. Into the grocery store I went and was told by the idiot who works the customer service desk to use the ramp. She refused to have the carts moved. Ok. Plan two. Ask a manager who ordered the carts to be moved. I almost forgot to take the insurance thing to my agent for them to copy and put in file. I glanced at the sky and decided to risk it. From there it was a straight run home. Had I not stopped to talk with Ayala for a few minutes, I would have missed the rain entirely, but as it started gently, I didn't get too wet! I'm counting it as missing the rain! Now it can rain for a month as far as I'm concerned! I got my grocery shopping done yesterday and am all set.

Friday, December 26, 2008

TGIF

I freely admit it. I've been lazy this week and not posted here. In my defense, it was a busy week. Then it started raining. The rain pretty much messed up most of my plans. I don't have any proper shoes to wear, so even putting Peg out turns into a muddy mess just from the wet ramp and my feet get cold from the water my felt slippers soak up. A few meetings were canceled and I can only assume it was because of the rain. I might complain about the shoe issue, but I'd go out anyway. It's only water, after all and it wouldn't hurt a bit if a few pounds melted away.
On Monday there was a gimp chanukah party at the geezer club. I went for one reason. It's just not right if all Five of us are at an event like that. There were no geezers there. It was just for us gimps, but there were tons of kids there. I did manage to restrain myself from doing them any bodily damage while they were running around and making noise while eating a quarter or half of the traditional doughnuts. Yes, I know it's the parents fault, but the kids are easier targets. I could happily run over those adults who say stupid things like, "Kids will be kids" because, yes, they will, even when they become geezers. They will be infantile geezers with no idea of how to behave. At least everyone survived!
I got first prize with my cleaning lady! Gimp House is starting to look so much better. We had a bad moment yesterday when I almost slipped off the bed while putting the ace bandage on. That would have been really bad because I can't up from the floor myself and she's only maybe 5'2" so not much help!
On the really bright side, my bank account is finally ok. Within the agreed limits and I can even pay the cleaning lady and car insurance! At last. Granted I can't do much of anything else, but at least things are back on an even keel.
Yesterday was Christmas, so I called Alice for our annual chat, then I called a friend whose son killed himself recently. I'm feeling a guilty that we laughed so much. I know it's healthy to laugh, but, she's feeling rotten, to put it mildly so I had a vague feeling of discomfort over the hilarity. But it was Christmas. A day to be joyful on if ever there was one, I guess.
And here we are on Friday. I have to go out and get a few things; the local papers, and some tangerines. So, off I go!

Thursday, December 18, 2008

FOUR OF THE FIVE DO IT AGAIN

We had a meeting today at our community center. They are doing finishing work on the parking area and access paths, and it's shaping up nicely. The available space for parking is a still a bit limited, so none of us were surprised that the person who parked next to Hezi didn't leave enough room for him to open his lift. As it turned out there was almost enough room, but even if it would have gone all the way down, there was no way for him to get on it.

That's Hezi's car to the left of the white one. After a short consultation it was decided that McGyver would get in through the driver's door and back the van up far enough for the lift to open. It pretty much had to be him because Hezi drives in his wheely so there's no seat for a driver.There's also the fact that Hezi drives with hand controls which neither Savta nor I are used to. McGyver also uses hand controls so, he was elected. The first plan was for Savta to lift McGyver's chair into the van, then for McGyver to climb into it and do the job from his chair. After he opened the driver's door he saw that he could do it without the chair, which he did.

Here the van is far enough out to lower the lift safely.

Savta helps McGyver out of Hezi's van and into back into his wheely. We are all feeling quite chuffed with ourselves! Yet another successful rescue. People just don't think when they park, and more than one one gimp has been stuck waiting to get into their van until the jerk who blocked the lift arrives and makes room to lower the lift.
With Hezi safely rescued I headed in to town to pick up two pictures I'd left with Itzik to develope that show that a newly opened store is not accessible. We are upset beause the law states that any new business must be accessible. Of course our previous mayor had no problem giving the license to open while they were in violation. Uh oh. I found McGyver at his clinic's pharmacy and had to laugh that the same make of car was parked so close to his that his chair lift only had a fraction of inch to spare. Of course, by the time he came out, a huge delivery van was blocking him from behind. I finally ran that driver down to earth and he moved his van. Today was not a good parking day for gimps in town! I'm thinking that all our local gimps would very much like their very own Five to solve these types of problems. Of course we do help anyone who needs if we can. It was just that today the rescues were of the Five by the Five.

MARK

My friend's sons death by suicide has brought the memories of Mark's flooding back. Mark was my partner in the motorcycle garage, and we were so in tune that just about everyone thought we were a couple. We weren't, but that has nothing to do with anything. He used to talk about watching his younger brother commit suicide and even hinted that he encouraged him. He would describe his parent's devastation. Several years after he closed the garage, I found out that he had killed himself with a gunshot to the head. His parents were out of the country at the time and were more than a little concerned that they couldn't find him when they returned. His father was a doctor and one day decided to check in the computer to find out when Mark had last gotten his prescription eye drops. I can but imagine his horror to find the word deceased next to his name. I can not begin to imagine the horror and pain of losing one child like that, never mind two. It's too terrifying to imagine. I am still furious with him for putting his parents through that, and even more angry at the way his parents had to find out. It certainly puts my insignificant issues into a whole new perspective.

Thursday, December 11, 2008

TEST ACED BY FORD

I do like my car. It aced it's annual inspection test today, unlike last year. But this year I did locally and not at the rip off joint I went to last year because it was on the way to my orthopedist. See? Old gimps can learn new tricks.
I did have a bit of a moment when the tester asked why there's a ball thingy on the steering wheel. Duh. There's a nice large cripple parking card right under his nose, so I pointed to it and asked if he wanted to see my drivers license which requires it. They are illegal unless required because of cripple issues.
Moshe was a big help with the leg work and had some fun with one of our local businessmen who asked him if he had to bring his scooter in for a test too? Moshe teased him a bit, then told him he'd come with me to be my legs. I really can't describe the relief I felt at passing the test.
The morning started off a bit iffy. Just as I was going to get up from the computer to get dressed, the squits attacked and delayed everything. I had to get the clinic in time for a PT test and to the car inspection place in time to get through the usual long line of cars by 1100 when they stop inspecting. Just what I need. The squits and there's no time for 'crap' like that. Thankfully things settled down once I got moving. I got to the PT test in time, only to be delayed by the clinically insane wife of the thief who owes me a small fortune, then by people sitting on the bank of chairs at the entrance/exit to the clinic that I have to move to get out. I eventually got out, bought some fags and raced home to jump in the car and go. We got there in time, and finished in last place. It was after 1100 when we finished and they were starting to close shop.BUT WE GOT IT DONE AND PASSED.
Go Gimp!

Monday, December 08, 2008

UNBELIEVABLE

All I wanted to do was get a pair of new tires for the car so it will pass it's annual test tomorrow. This, after running all over town in the morning; first to a meeting, then to the DMV because the car's lisence went missing, to the bank to get cash for the test, then to the Likud, to vote in the primaries, where a lawyer had to cast my vote by permision of a judge, then home to get the car for the tires. Harley got parked in his usual corner and off I went with the house keys, my change purse, and other keys still hanging on Harley's right hand mirror. When we got to paying for the tires, I had already written the two agreed upon checks and had to add 30 shekels for getting a hole in the rear tire fixed. It was then that I realized the key chain had been left on Harley. Ok, usually no big deal. As I was parking, Moshe called to tell me that his kids had seen Danny (husband of my ex friend/employee) take them off Harley and go home. I decided that I was too tired to go through the whole police thing and Ayala went to their house and told them to give her the keys, which they did, along with a lame story that they only took them because some kids were contemplating it. Yeah, right. They wanted to see me sweat. Well, guess who's sweating now? They know that I know and they didn't get away with it. Lucky for them all the money was in the purse, and the car is now ready for it's test. Moshe will take it tomorrow morning, and I have the cash to pay for it. I also have a new cleaning lady. She started this morning and I don't recognise my own kitchen. It gleams. She'll finish up in there tomorrow, and we'll go room by room until it's just a matter of maintenance. It's almost 1630 and I'm tired and hungry. Time for a rest and meal. Who else eats breakfast as it's getting dark?

Saturday, December 06, 2008

VAGUE MEANDERINGS OF A VAGUE MIND

There are times when I wonder if there is something really wrong with me. My friend's sons' suicide has triggered all sorts of strange thoughts. I have been close to three people who took their own lives and for all my empathy I simply can not understand what could bring someone to that. Oh, there was a time about 10 years ago when I desperately wanted to die, but never once did I ever think of doing anything, I just wanted to die. The demons that drive someone to kill themself must be very strong and evil.
While I have difficulty fathoming why one would commit suicide, I can and do feel the pain and anger of those left behind. It's something that never leaves you and it takes ages to start functioning again afterwards, and no matter what the circumstances were, there is always guilt on the part of those left behind, even where there should be none. The worst thing is that there are often those who should feel guilt, but don't. They are the ones who should suffer, but probably won't until it's their turn to give an accounting of their lives to the Ultimate Judge. They'll just continue their lives feeling martyred, not saddedened and they will blame everyone but themselves for the tragedy, and never once so much as think to ask themselves if they contributed to it in any way. I consider people like that to be the most cold blooded consienceless murderers. They cause someone they should have loved and supported emotionally to take their own lives, and to my mind that is the worst sin that can be committed.
Antone who read my previous post knows what brought this on. Today my friend has to go to a memorial service for her son and face those responsible for it. I've been praying all day that she will have the strength to get through it with her head held high. We know what 'they' did to him, and that in the end they will be Judged by the Highest Court there is.
I have also been thankful since it happened that her husband was Sent to help her through it. He does indeed work in strange ways, but, always, always, takes care of us.

Thursday, December 04, 2008

I HATE IT WHEN BAD STUFF HAPPENS TO GOOD FRIENDS

I've been hanging out at a conservative site lately and made a very good friend there. We've been e mailing back and forth for ages and have told each other just about all our deep dark secrets.
She's been going through a really bad time recently with her son and a good friend, who has cancer. She, herself has had some really bad health issues, but is pretty much over them now. She married a great guy who went all the way from California to Kentucky about a year ago to marry her. They made it through the first year and were settling down to enjoy each other when all the crap her son was going through kind of took over. Her poor son was in an impossible marriage with an even bigger bitch than my daughter, and the poor guy just couldn't find a reasonable way out. Another actor in the drama is his natural father (her ex) who is a freaking psychopath in his own right who contributed quite a lot to the whole situation. He did find an unreasonable way out and was found dead in his apartment (he'd recently moved out of their joint home) My guess is that he just couldn't take any more and left permanently in the only way he could. It seems he left notes that the family hasn't seen as yet.
In finding this permanent solution to his issues, he also left two kids without a father and his mother is shattered. The only bright thing is that she now has a husband to help her through this. Of course at this stage, he is as shattered as she is. He had started to feel that he was his son as well and they had gotten very close.
As her close friend, I ache and hurt for her, and will be on the phone with her as much as she wants so she'll have someone to listen and cry to.
She so doesn't deserve this, but, if she has to go through it, at least He arranged for her to have her new husband and me. Silver lining indeed.

Wednesday, November 26, 2008

I FIGURED IT OUT!

Three cheers for me! I think I've finally figured out what's wrong with the whole rat poison thing and why I'm so damned sleepy tired all the time. My body is waging a war against the rat poison and keeps the PT values fluctuating in it's attempt to do things the way it wants to and always has. The PT has only ever been in the desired range twice since I started taking it. That also explains the squits. Good old body is getting rid of the toxic stuff the best way it knows.Just what I need; a body with a mind of it's own!
This is very strange stuff. I have some very bad news for my body. This is one argument it's going to lose. It WILL start behaving the way it should, or else. Just don't ask me what the 'or else' will be.
The good news is that the burn is starting to get better. It still looks awaful, but healing can be seen under the yellow gunk.
Last night was annoying in the extreme. It wasn't so much that the other guy won the run off election. It was that all his supporters took to streets in the their cars with horns blaring and the jingle screaming from speakers at 0100. That's 1am. I don't care if it's traditional. The guy who won should have told his followers not to do it. People were innocently sleeping in their beds only to be rudely awakend at 0100 by horns honking and music screaming. This went on for close to two hours. I don't want to be a spoil sport, but couldn't they celebrate by trashing their headquarters or doing something quieter? They could have a huge celebratory party on another evening and not wake the whole city up in the middle of the night. Oh well, all I can say is that he doesn't want to run into me any time soon. I remember stuff like that and I'm very sorry but that's no way to start your first term as Mayor.

Monday, November 24, 2008

SLOGGING ALONG

I used to love roller coasters. These days I'm not so sure about them. This up and down, all over the chart with the rat poison isn't at all fun. And I'm not too wild about the side effects. Why do I have get ones no one has ever heard of? The squits, and all night belching. It doesn't matter if the PT INR is high or low, I just start belching the minute I settle in to bed, and most days wake up to an hour of squits. Peg is not at all happy because the squits means that he has to wait to go out. I think he's catching on because this morning he was very good about waiting. But, Golan put him out while I was at the gimp meeting, where Four of The Five caught up on things. We have a meeting on the 1st of Dec with some new expert who is supposedly going to help us. ANOTHER EXPERT? I don't want another expert. I want My Communist. He's more than enough of an expert for us and I still have nightmares about the media guy they stuck us with. Huhmph. But being the good little gimp that I am, I'll go, I'll listen, I'll ponder, then I'll decide.
Itzik the photographer called me and Alberto McGyver in for a meeting. One of his TV contacts asked him where we had disappeared to, and he told the guy that things kind of went on hiatus with me and Savta in and out of hospital, the holidays and local elections. I'm pretty much back up to speed, in spite of the earler whinging, and Savta only has out patient stuff now. Itzik's TV guy suggested that we do exactly what I had in mind when we got back, but Savta was against. Now that it's come from outside the group, we just might be back in buisness. McGyver and I are trying to get a meeting with Bibi in the near future. Then, we'll sic Hezi on the head of his party.
It was so nice being together again, even though Moshe was at his computer course. We'll be having our own meeting before the 1st.
I just love it when all of us or even just some of us are together. You don't spend 11 days and nights with the same people, then come home and go your own separate ways without a thought. We are good together, even if we annoy others with our in jokes.
I think I'm going to stay in today and play with St. Gracie at her TH blog. Yup. Sounds like a plan!

Tuesday, November 18, 2008

NOT FEELING GREAT

I'm not quite sure what's going on, but I feel crap lately. Nothing specific except for some very bad pain in my right hip. I'm just tired all the time and want to sleep. For the first time I can sleep in the afternoon and at night too. It's most strange. I wonder if it has anything to do with the rat poison? It shouldn't.
I just never remember feeling this listless. I don't feel like reading. I don't feel like writing. I don't feel like doing much of anything, but I do drag myself to clinic for the blood tests and drag myself back here to check the results on line. The results are wackier every day. Either way up or way down. It just doesn't seem to want to stabilize.
I'm fading again. I just wanted to stop in and post this for my 3&1/2 loyal readers.

Tuesday, November 11, 2008

WILL I EVER LEARN?

I just never seem to learn to keep my big mouth shut. I had no sooner announced that bog nights appeared to be a thing of the past, than I got a double whammy. It's an understatement of epic proportions to say that I was not thrilled to find myself spewing from both ends. From 0100 to 0630 I was in the loo holding a trash bag lined bucket, and wondered if it would ever stop. It eventually did stop, but I was left with laundry to deal with. Luckily it was a day that I didn't have to go to the clinic or anyplace else, so I could just stay in, which I did.
Thankfully last night was uneventful so I could go to the clinic and have a go at the doc about my insanely fluctuating PT levels. He got all upset and told me that I done the wrong thing. So, I just sat back on Harley and asked a question in such a way that he caught on to his mistake and saw that I had in fact done the correct thing. The proof is in todays result. The PT INR level was spot on.
I went from the clinic to the school that supposedly had an accessible voting booth. The booth might have been perfectly accessible, but, there was no way to get to it. One bright bulb told me to go accross the street to the Senior Citizen Center. I did and it was even worse. Cars were parked in the places where I could have gone from the street to the sidewalk and the door was too narrow for Harley. Back to the other place determined to make them open a gate that did give access. It took well over an hour and lots of backing and forthing until someone arrived with the key and they sorted a way through a candidate's propaganda booth. I voted and had another fun time waiting to be let out again.
This happens every election because the officials who are in charge of things never think to get a proper gimp check to see if they are indeed ok. The officials just assume that they know best.
On the way home I stopped in at Moshe's and offered to accompany him to vote. He ran into the same problem and after we checked out the other place, I called a reporter pal who promised to check it out. Then, I decided to get hold of yet another reporter and headed for town to try and root him out. Moshe had asked me to pick up some fresh Pitas for him, which I did and I arrived home with a flat tire. McGyver and Savta showed up and went off with my tire, to fix it. It's still not back yet. Oh, well, they'll appear with it sometime. I don't exactly need it tonight.

Sunday, November 09, 2008

GETTING BETTER

I seem to be all squitted out. Who would have thought that it could be that exhausting? I didn't! Yesterday I slept pretty much all day, then, all night. That hasn't happened since I can't remember when. Usually even a 10 minute doze will have me up most of the night, but not yesterday. I woke up bright and early at around 0600 and actually got up and spent a few hours at the computer until I saw what time it was. In a panic, I got dressed, sort of. I did try to pull my pants up with both feet in the same leg. That does not work.
Just take my word for it and do not try it yourself. I actually managed to slow down a bit, get dressed and got to the clinic a few minutes before they finished taking blood samples.
Then, I went grocery shopping and just as I was wondering how to get all the stuff inside, Moshe came along. Problem solved. I usually have them bring it because their delivery guy brings it inside, which is all I need. It's too much to do it myself. I can barely get myself and handbag in as it is.
My staggering lurch days are numbered. I just can't do it. Ok, I do it, but that means less than it sounds. For all it's lovely purpleness, Gimp House is not wheely friendly. It's still easier to lurch around than it is to wheel around.
For my next trick, I cleared out all the left over junk from Dem Der's last stay here when I was on the trip and washed all the dishes. Now, I'm going to make 'cheaters fried chicken' and clean the top shelf in the fridge while it cooks. That's the cheat. I boil it, then fry it. After that, it will be rest time.
That might not sound like much, and just everyone else in the world can get it done in 3 1/2 minutes, but to me it feels like 10 hours of over time at hard labor!

Saturday, November 08, 2008

A MISERABLE WEEK

Ok. It hasn't been all bad, just mostly not good. I have been refusing to pay attention to the US elections for the simple reason that I knew deep down that Obummer was going to win and I was in no mood to have it shoved down my throat. But, my body had it's own brilliant idea on how to handle it. The night after I checked the results on the Interweb was spent in the loo on the bog. I would no sooner decide that deluge was over and crawl back to bed, than it hit again. This went on all night, but let up during the day so I could go to the clinic to get the burn treated. And hopes of a quiet night in bed were quickly dashed when I had to make a mad dash to the bog for yet another night of non stop squits and a day of laundry. I attribute it to the fiasco of the elections. Talk about getting your bowels in an uproar! Thankfully it seems to be pretty much over. Only one mad dash last night and a slightly less mad one this morning.
The rat poison I have to take seems to have stablized and the PT tests are coming back in the correct range. With a little luck I should be able to do the test once a week now.
As to the burn, it looks like it's going to get worse before it gets better. There is now a special patch on it that is supposed to draw all the bad gunk out of it and it sure is doing that. There is some evidence of healing going on under the yellow gunky stuff. So that's encouraging.
I didn't do much this week other than spend too much time on the bog. As that is not the most pleasant subject in the world, I didn't bother posting here. I'm posting about it now because it's almost over.
Now I have yet another election to face. The municiple elections here will be on Tuesday and I still don't know who I want to vote for. My reaction to this election should be a non event. Let's face it; municiple elections are not in same league as Presidential elections. Then, in Feb we have our own national elections. I expect a similar reaction if my choice loses. At least I have a few months before that happens.
My body is very tired from the whole thing, so I think I'll take it to bed for a rest.

Saturday, October 25, 2008

BACK IN YET ANOTHER HOSPITAL

I am giving serious consideration to writing a guide to Israeli hospitals, with emphasis on those in the north. I've been in three ;Sief in Safed, Poriya in Tiberius, and now Rambam in Haifa,supposedly one of the best in the country. Let's just say for now that it's head and shoulders above the other two. At least they did manage to figure out why the burn and pressure sore before it wouldn't heal. I have a DVT-deep vein thrombosis in my left leg. What fun! Now I get to take rat poison in the guise of Coumadin, if they ever get the dose right. I had a minor case of rat poison poisoning, so they stopped giving it to me for a couple of days.These doctors sure do like their tests. After they poisoned me, they decided that they might have screwed up my liver, but the ultra sound came back just fine. Now they re going on about my left kidney. I'm afraid to ask "What next?" Of course all the time they've been playing with rat poison and a form of heparin, the burn has been ignored. Last night we took off the bandage when I noticed a yellow leak of gunk on the floor. Yuck doesn't even come close. We scrubbed it as best we could and put antibiotic cream on it. This morning there was no improvement at all. Thankfully we go to normal hospital routine tomorrow and a real doctor can look at it.
It hasn't been all bad. My first roomate was a fellow strokee and we had a fine together. Half her neighborhood was here with a wide assortment of medical issues so we had plenty to keep ourselves occupied. No sooner had she left than a young gal arrived on suicide watch. Her first watcher was a young guy and we had much fun teasing him. The next two watchers were no fun at all. She was finally sprung and now I have a lady with terminal cancer and her whole tearful family. She's pretty much doped up and on top of being quiet, she doesn't know any Hebrew.
On the even brighter side, there's a guy from Kiryat Shmonah whose kids come here at least once a day. (you didn't think the lap top just walked here, did you?) This hospital has free wifi, so, I'm back on line!
It was kind of strange the first two days. No one seemed to be too sure what to do with/to me. Then, Achi, my reporter friend, dropped in to visit and his friend, the hospital spokesman also dropped in. It's too bad I couldn't capture the aftermath on video. All of a sudden the nurses, interns and residents were falling all over themselves to be helpful. Even better, all this happened after my first roomie and I caught a senior nurse and gave her the basic outline of a letter we intend to write about the way the staff treats patients here. Oh boy, then, who shows up? A reporter with the hospital spokesman in tow! My leg is getting tired from holding my 30 kilogram lap top (multiply by 2.2 for lbs.) in a somewhat comfortable typing position. And more important, it's time for a smoke!

Sunday, October 12, 2008

MORE PLACES AFTER A BURN UPDATE

I actually allowed myself to think that the burn was getting better. After two hospitalizations and two solid months on Antibiotics it should be, right? Well, it was just starting to, slightly. Then, I took it to the surgeon, and he said it was getting better and to stop taking the antibiotics and treat it with a topical antibiotic. So, I did. I should have known. By the following Sunday it was worse. The clerk said to go back on the antibiotics. I did, and today it was much worse. Those five days sure did set it back. Oh, well, It will start getting better again by Wednesday when the surgeon will be here again. It will still be worse than it was when he last saw it. Now, on to more pleasant things.

The next Kibbutz we stayed at was Givat Haim. They gave us a whole building that is used as a senior's day center. It had two huge rooms, and smaller ones off to one side of the one that was set up pretty much like a meeting room. The bathrooms and shower were at the back. They even have special parking area out side for the old dear's scooters.

My feet were just starting to burn.

If you look behind the lady (forgot her name) you can see that there is a leather arm chair there. I slept in it that night with both feet on the matching foot stool. That was one of our very late nights as the heads of one the major gimp organizations came for a meeting; or was that a shouting match?
The lady in the doorway told us how My Communist got the place for us to stay there. According to her, he just called and announced that he's bring The Five to sleep there that night, and hung up. No one says "No" to My Communist (except me) so we had lovely accomodations.
We were back on the road in good time. We were supposed to go to Netanya, but, when we got to the intersection where we were supposed to turn right to go to Netanya, Teka and Sheka decided that we simply must go to Kfar Yona. That was not on our Police approved list of places to go. Teka and Sheka don't care about minor details like that, and decided to force the issue by creating a two gimp traffic jam.

We made it clear that we would only go there if the Police said ok. I don't know what My Communist said to the cops, but, suddenly we had permission. I'm ever so glad we went. That is a horrible place to live. The disabled there were so proud that The Five came to see them that I am still ashamed that I didn't want to.
Next stop, Netanya where everyone went to lunch except me. I had another major temper tantrum (Can't remember what about) and sat lunch out under a shade tree with Moshe.
That night we stayed at Kibbutz Ma'abarot where again, we were given a large building with several rooms and it was arranged that we could use their 'old folks' home for showers.I was sitting outside with my feet up, smoking and generally minding my own business, when My Communist handed me his phone and said that someone wanted to talk to me. Right. It was my old pal Benny from the big demonstrations in 1999 and 2002! We had one of our usual silly conversations and I gave the phone back. I think My Communist was a little surprised that I know Benny. We had another meeting with the heads of disabled organizations. It was loud and long. The spokesman for one of largest organizations and I found ourselves talking with Kibbutz teenagers who wanted to learn about what we were doing and other gimp issues. That was wonderful. They seemed very interested and had tons of questions. Yoav and I were quite chuffed that we had such a good session with them. The big shots finished shouting at each other at around 0230 or so and we went to sleep at around 0300.
Moving right along, the next day we went through Ra'anana and Herzlia, where we were given mementos by the vice mayor and met some hot shot actor that I'd never heard of. From Herzliya we went to Tel Aviv. Downtown Tel Aviv. The heart of Tel Aviv.I don't much like Tel Aviv, but when I realized that we were there I started crying. We did it! We got to Tel Aviv! No question now that we'll get to Jerusalem.

We were met by a fairly large group of Gimps. As we have a reputation (gimps in general) for being trouble makers, the Police were there in force. Not just the regular Blue Police, but the Gray riot Police as well.
Good thing too. Sheka and Teka have yet to see a street they don't want to lie down on and stop traffic.

You can see the riot cops in gray on the traffic island under the signal. We were very well behaved and didn't even let the more outspoken demonstrators get to us. We were there to make a statement, not cause trouble.
Right, from there we went to Kibbutz Nahshon where we had a sort of kibbutz style motel room. That was just fine. We were visited by the MK who is pretty much a one man gimp lobbyist in Knesset, and that night the big shots descended on us once again. A very late night. We delayed our planned departure set for the next morning in favor of a huge meeting of the the big shots. As expected, nothing really came of it.
Our next stop was Ramla. I was having trouble stopping in the sunlight and speeding off for shade at every opportunity. The escort cop wanted us all to go someplace else and I was rude in the extreme to him. They found a nice falafel place for lunch and I found a tree across the street to calm down under. I was in a fairly big rage over the cop and shade issue. Hezi's wife came over to try and reason with me ( first time she'd been exposed to my daily tantrum) and I barked at her. When I'd calmed down, I rejoined every one and apologized to Yaeli, and the cop! From Ramle we got on the trucks and cars and went to Kibbutz Na'n where we were to stay Friday Starurday and Sunday. Again we had a large building to ourselves. By this time my foot was really giving me trouble. I couldn't even walk on it. I did manage to get my scooter into the room and used it all weekend. Our hostess, Rotem, decided that something had to be done, and took me to their "old folks' home, where Inbal, the manager took me under her wing. I still go all teary when I remember how gently she showered me. I felt like a baby being bathed by her mother. Then, she had the nurse treat and bandage my left foot. I still had trouble getting the sandal on, so the scooter went with me everywhere. The loo situation was hysterically funny. There were two very narrow toilet rooms in 'our' building, and I'm too big to get in them, never mind use them. Not a problem. There was a very nice one in the synagogue building, so, everytime I had to go, I just rode the scooter right up to the door and took two steps in and two steps out. On the Friday night they wanted us to talk with the kibbutz members after dinner. Not surprisingly, I wasn't in very good shape for that type of thing and ended up growling at My Communist yet again. Um, an average of two and half hours sleep, a burnt up foot and you want me to talk and make sense? Not likely. I did make up some sleep on Saturday and Sunday. Good thing, too. The Five were starting to show cracks in our solidarity. Some of us were not happy campers and said they were going home. Two days away from the finish line? It was great to be able to rest up for three days before continuing, but, it also cost us.
We left Na'an sadly and headed towards Latrun. It felt like the longest ride we'd done, but it wasn't. There were two restaurants there, but one wasn't kosher. We were starving. After a photo session, some of us decided to eat at the non kosher restaurant anyway. From there we went to our last kibbutz, Nahshon were, for once no major meeting of organization heads was planned. A couple of them did show up, but we had already had our daily strategy meeting, so, we pretty much ignored them and we did not let them in on our plans. We were supposed to ride as far as the steep winding hills that go up to Jerusalem, switch over to vehicles, then enter the city from just outside. My Communist came up with a plan designed to thwart the plans of the Jerusalem demonstrators. We has decided that after we got into Jerusalem, we would first go to the demonstration of disabled kids parents at the Prime Ministers office, then, go their tent. We almost made it work. We got back on the scooters at a blocked off unused spur just off the hiway and headed for Jerusalem proper. It didn't ttake long for Sheka and Teka to find us and we rode into the city with and escort of about 100 gimps on wheels.

We made it!

And so did our truck!I might have gotten the order of some of the events and kibbutzim mixed up. It was a very emotional trip, after all. And I've had those burned foot issues.
Would I do it again? Damn right I would. Are we going to fllow up now that we're home? You betcha.


Monday, October 06, 2008

YET ANOTHER DIVERSION

I really did intend for this post to be about some of the other wonderful Kibbutzim we stayed at, but, I'm too chuffed at the moment about something else.
At long last my U.S. ballots arrived and I just finished filling them in and will airmail them tomorrow morning. It was a great pleasure to vote against The Magic Negro, and for John McCain. At this stage it was more of a for vote than an against vote.
My foot is starting to heal again, but very slowly. So, that's kind of good. All I have to do is restrain myself from chopping it off until Wednesday when the surgeon will be at the clinic.
The Five are meeting this evening at Alberto McGyver's for a BBQ felafel dinner and to discuss recent developments, among them, Hezi being offered 9th place on the list of one of the candidates for mayor. Hezi, of course is free to be on any list he chooses, but he went and got a list I refuse to even consider. There is also a todo in the south of the country that we have been asked to attend. I'd rather like to go for personal reasons but it looks like most of the others don't really want to. It will clear up at the meeting, so we'll see. Now that we are all at home, maybe we'll be able to get moving on some of the things we've let slide. Having the holidays this month pretty much stops everything in it's tracks. There are only 5 proper working days in Israel this month on account of the holidays. I can't quite figure out if switching to winter standard time helped or not. Not that it matters. I rarely know what day it is, never mind the time!
Yesterday I had a very nasty experience at the local book store. I've only buying books there since the shop opened. I'd just drive Harley in, and stop him right near the corner where the English books are kept. I haven't been there for ages because I was afraid I wouldn't be able to stand long enough to pick out a book. Yesterday I was so desperate for something new to read that I decided to risk. When I got to the store I didn't recognize either of the gals working there, but went in as usual and stopped Harley where I usually do. It does block off part of the space towards the rear of the store, but that can be gotten around by going a few steps to the front of the store and up the far side. The only thing that was really blocked was the English books (by my person) and the check out counter (again by my person). I actually found two books that I wanted ad had them in my hand and was ready to hop back on Harley, then pay for them. Before I could turned around one of the staff brushed past me, almost knocking me over and said that my blocking them was impossible. Ok fine. I put the books down, came home and ordered them from Amazon. UK and called the parent companie's customer service and explained why they had lost a good customer. The staff who used to work there were very friendly and helpful. They never would have brushed past me like that, or made such a rude hurtful comment. If these gals keep it up, the store won't last long. Book stores are not food warehouses and readers expect a certain level of friendly service. The previous staff always told me when a new book by one of my favorite authors came in. I rather doubt these two will care enough to bother. Not that it matters. I won't be shopping there anymore. Nor at the parent companie's web site. That's why I told customer service that I'd already ordered the same books from Amazon UK. I could as easily have ordered from them. Not going to happen.

Sunday, September 28, 2008

MORE TRIP THE PLACES

Right. Now that my foot is pretty much on the road to recovery, I can get back to writing about the trip. It will take several posts to cover the places, but, I'll get it done at some point.
It was arranged that we would sleep at kibbutzim that were along the route we were taking. The first night was at Kibbutz Amiad. I was a bit apprehensive about staying there as that is where my beloved Land Rover's garage is and I really didn't want to run into it there. I didn't, but I did run straight into one of the garage managers who of course had to tell me that my Disco had been there recently. Oh, well, at least it's being well cared for.
When we got there, we were taken to the member's club which is a huge room with sofas, chairs and a coffee bar, with bathrooms just outside the front door in a corridor that leads to the main room. We Five were quite pleased with the accomodations, but the Titanic and her followers were not. They demanded separate rooms. My Communist stood firm and told her that arrangements had only been made for us. They left in a huff to find hotel rooms in Tiberius. I staked out a sofa and slept quite well in spite of dreams about my Land Rover. We were up and ready in good time to leave for Afula by vehicle as there were road works going on that made going on the scooters too dangerous. At one of the first service stations in Afula, we got back on out trusty scooters and rode through the city to a restaurant that had invited us for breakfast.

We were met by several local political types and served a very nice breakfast. After eating and listening to the politcal types we headed out and just as we got the the city limits, were greeted by The Tinic and her entourage. The police escort and My Communist told us to keep going, which we did. They decided on a show of strength and blocked the road with their vans and wheelies.

One of them was extremely abusive to My Communist and I ended up having words with her. They finally moved their vans and Baby Shmutznikim drove them so they could be with us on the road after agreeing to no more provocations. So far so good.
We stopped for a long break at a serivice station at the entrance to Um Al Fahem, one of the largest Arab cities in the country.

It was the perfect place for a rest, and after a light lunch, we continued towards our next kibbutz, Gan Shmuel.
There is a large shopping center at Gan Shmuel and My Communist lead us through it with his commentary and music blaring. People stopped and waved and yelled encouragement to us. This time we were given a children's house that is now used by teens. It had several bedrooms, a large meeting room, boys and girls bathroom and showers. Of course the room I ended up in had a Peace Now sticker that almost gave me nightmares even before I went to sleep.

We had a long meeting with everyone, including the two who would later be named Sheka and Teka, who promised to behave. As we needed a change in our police approved route, those two were sent to get it done first thing in the morning. They were less than happy to find out that we had a session with a TV crew at 0900 and demanded that we wait for them. They were told that they have to be on time, no waiting. A reporter from a radio station arrived and they made sure that they were interviewed. There was a rumor that more reporters were on the way so they hung around for hours. In the end the press delegation they were waiting for turned out to be Itzik, our very own photographer from Kiryat Shmonah who came to visit us. They left and we all went to bed at around 0230.
Breakfast at the kibbutz dining hall was very nice and took me back to my own kibbutz days.

After a wonderful kibbutz breakfast, we went out to meet the TV crew, and I had a mini temper tantrum at My Communist. He wanted me to speak, but I was in no shape to be coherent and even growled at him. 3 hours of sleep are just not enough after such a long crazy day.
Right. That's enough for now. There's a lot more to come, and I'll get to it in the next few days.

Friday, September 26, 2008

NAUGHTY GIMP HOSPITALS AND MEDICAL SCHOOL



I've been too lazy this past week to post and I'm so far behind that I'm not sure where to begin, so, I'll start with the insanity at the hospital in Tiberius.
The surgeon who sent me to the ER there is a senior surgeon at Rambam Hospital in Haifa. He speciffically wrote on the reference letter to the ER that I need antibiotics by IV during hospitalization. The ER docs were just about to send me home when Moshe decided that enough was enough and went to tell the hospital administrator what was going on and that they really don't want to ignore the referral from that surgeon, and for sure not as it relates to one of The Five. Strangely enough he had heard of The Five and decided to find out who had referred me to his ER. After a few phone calls to the ER, they admitted me, and pretty much ignored me, until I caught one of the senior nurses on the floor and suggested that they start the antibiotics. She then told me that they'd put a patch on the burn with stuff that eats necrotic tissue. Ok, that's a start. Necrotic tissue is not good. She grabbed a quack and after a few phone calls they decided to start the IV antibiotics.
The next morning during rounds one of the ortho interns asked why my toes were all chopped up. "Hammer toe" said I. When he asked what hammer toe is, I just looked at him pityingly and told the interns to take out their notebooks and pens as the lesson was about to start. I, very patiently explained hammer toe, the treatment, and why the toes were chopped the way they were. (You can Google it) After that, I just said that the lesson was over and the test would be the next day. The head of the department just stood back and watched with a strange grin on his face. The next day at rounds I told them that the test would be postponed until we'd covered drop foot, which they also knew nothing about. Maybe I should start my own Medical School.
I was incredibly lucky to have been put in a room with the most amazing 82 year old woman. She told me many stories from the preState days. She's actually lived so many of things I'd only read about. I kept asking her for more. I consider it an amazing priviledge to have been able to listen to so much of our history from someone who actually lived it. At one point we discovered that her daughter and I had taught at the same school at the same time. Small world. We were a very happy room and more than a few people had a problem with the gayety and laughter that often erupted from our room. Don't those people know that laughter is the best medicine?
The docs sprung me on Sunday with instructions on how to continue treatment at home. It seemed to get worse over the first few days. I saw the plastics doc (supposedly a burn expert) and did not like what he said to do, so, went to the surgeon who actually does know his stuff and agreed with *my* teatment plan; oral antibiotics, that antibiotic gel mesh thing, and frequent checks.
Today I went to the nurse and we checked it. It seems to be improving, so I'm going to continue with the same treatment, including slathering it with Eucerin at night. Since I started doing that, it's calmed the pain and I can actually get some sleep. The nurse saw some skin growing back, so I'm hopeful that in a decade or so it will be ok.
When I went to the pharmacy to get the antibiotics, my Visa was refused. Right. Need those pills. What to do? I called Moshe and he came flying to the rescue. On the way out of the pharmacy I told the pharmacist that the trip to Jerusalem gave me four new big brothers and that any one of them would have done the same. Even, Hezi, who was in Eilat would have phoned in his credit card number. I adore having four new brothers to watch out for me. The Five is so much more than just five gimps who rode electric chairs to Jerusalem to make a statement. We are THE FIVE who are AS ONE. And it feels wonderful.

Monday, September 15, 2008

UH OH

I knew it. I just knew it. Those dolts at the hospital in Safad released me too soon. Now my foot is in such a mess that I'm taking it to another hospital tomorrow in the hopes they'll be better.
I finally decide to stay in hospital until they let me out instead of doing y usual LET ME OUT OF HER shtick, and look what it gets me. The hospital I'm going to this time is one that I personally have wired, so, it should be ok. And it's about the same distance as the previous one. This time, in Tiberius. All I have to do is make it through the night, and it will be ok. Last night was a nightmare. It just kept hurting and didn't let me sleep until after 0430. I woke up exhausted at around 1000, and was not happy.
After coffee and emails I went to the clinic and the nurse who has been looking after was upset, but no so upset that she called that idiot Russian wanna be doc, Igore. She knows how much I detest him, so she asked the pediatrician to have a look. Of course I had my thumb in my mouth by the time she got there. She told the nurse to go get Igore because I really should be back in hospital. He agree with her and with me that I should go to the one in Tiberius this time. Maybe I should go today, but, I have too much to do up here in the morning. I'll go after noon sometime.
In the meantime, it's back to bed with my idiot foot. I'll up date when I get sprung. I don't plan on springing myself this time either!

Monday, September 01, 2008

TIME HAS A WAY OF ESCAPING

It has been difficult to sit here for any length of time with my burned feet on the floor, so, I haven't.
It's been way too long since I posted here and it's all my very own fault. There's also the minor fact that head has been pretty much in the clouds over a personal issue that I am not ready to write about here just now. Maybe one day, maybe never.
I still haven't finished writing about the trip but that will have to wait for another day.
I've been busy trying to see how many stupid things I can do in day. On Saturday, just as I was about to a dress on to go out for a few minutes, my upstairs neighbor knocked on the door. I told her "Just a Minute" and tried to hurry with the dress. I managed to get my head through an armhole and both arms through the neck. Trust me. That doesn't work. Then I had to get out of that predicament. Good thing I have strong teeth and an inclination towards rubber joints. I got out of, then into said dress, and opened the door. After bringing the plate, (my neighbor likes to bring me Shabbat lunch) I went off for my little jaunt and came home to rest my foot.
Both nurses from my clinic were away for the week and the substitute nurse was less than usseless. She argued with evrything I told her to do and just went ahead and did things her way wich left me with oddly colored patches of stuff growing on the left foot burn. I wanted her to take all that gunk off but she refused, so, there I was hobbling around with a potentially lucrative patch of something quite foul on my foot. Today MY nurse was back and she very carefully picked all that gunk off and that burn is pretty much back to beginning healing wise.
The Five are having a big to do tomorrow night at Hezi's and I can't wait.
What is this nonesense? We were inseperable for 11 days........
I'll get back to trip next time. Lots of anecdotes. I promise.

Saturday, August 23, 2008

WHO ARE THOSE STRANGE PEOPLE?

I don't know what is that makes me have to give people new names, so I just go along with it. It took less than five minutes for the first two to come about. One of the groups providing support is called SHATIL, an acronym for something or other, so it was quite natural for me to come up a Hebrew nickname that is a play on the meaning of Shatil (a very young plant) to mushtalim (transplant recipients or spies), then, there were the Baby Shmutznikim. In Yiddish shmutz means dirt, but it's also the acronym for The Young Guard kibbutz movement, and is commonly used to designate kibbutzim and/or the members of that movement. Their youth group is very involved with social justice issues, and their members were along on the trip to act as our arms and legs. I can get away with calling calling them Baby Shmutznikim because I laerned Hebrew on one of their kibbutzim. Then, there was My Personal Communist. At our first meeting with him just about everyone was in awe of him because he is truly a legend in his time. I was a bit beligerant at that first meeting and somewhat less than awed by him. At the next meeting he asked if I remember his name, and I piped up as cheekily as only I can, "Of course, The Communist!" Talk about dead silence. But he had caught my eye as I said it and somehow managed to keep a straight face. It was one of those 'you had to be there' moments. We both understood that I did indeed know his name, and that reputations don't quite do it for me, and that he had to prove himself to me, the little nobody from Kiryat Shmonah who kept correcting his mispronounciation of our city's name. It wasn't long before he was calling me his Personal Capitalist! He really is an amazing man, and his reputation is well deserved. I quite openly adore him and wish we'd met twenty or so years ago.
The Titanic and Iceberg are still known by those names by The Five, but the Iceberg's muscle men are now Sheka and Teka. Those monikers were lifted from an old electric company commercial where two characters by those names which mean socket and plug explain about safe use of electricity. We are still not sure which is Sheka and which is Teka, but that's ok. They are pretty much interchangable and both are proud as can be to have been nicknamed by The Five. Sheka and Teka block an intersection.

As to The Five, we have Hezi, who is the most deserving of our respect, and remains Hezi, Savta (grandmother) Alberto because he reacts to so many things like a grandmother would and worries needlessly about just about everything, Alberto McGyver, who can fix or solve just about and technical issue, Moshe Rabbenu, my across the path neighbor who was our religious expert on the trip, and last but far from least, me, Golan. Our truck driver, Rafi, was divided into 5 parts and each of took one fifth of him so he'd be an inseparable part of The Five.
The five is still having regular meetings to plan our next move. On Sunday we have to go a meeting of all the organization heads in Tel Aviv. Could it be that our dream of a united front might at last come true? Anyone who knows the history of the various groups knows what a miracle that would be, and if it comes about, our trip far exceeded our expectations. The very fact that we already got them all to sit around the same table and talk is no small thing.


Thursday, August 21, 2008

FROM WORSE TO BETTER

At last, my blasted sunburned foot is getting better! It still has a way to go before it's back to it's usual abnornal normal state, but it hurt a lot less when I got up this morning. Never mind the getting stuck in the middle of the bed part! That was kind of funny except for the panic at the thought of never getting up at all. Somehow I did manage to get up on my own.
On the way to the clinic I saw Hezi heading for his house in his van and decided to try and catch him before he went into his house. Harley Too caught the VW Transporter and was in his driveway before he got out! Go Harley! Electric scooter beats van.
After talking with Hezi, I took that foot to see the surgeon who sent it to hospital to ask a few questions about what to expect after the antibiotic pills are gone in a couple of days. He said that we just keep on with the antibiotic patches until it's all healed. I felt badl for the nurse who took off the present patch and turned a strange shade of greenish-greyish-white when she saw it. It really does look disgusting, but it felt wonderful without the patch! I was in favor of leaving it out in the air for an hour or so, but, no, it got a new patch, and the oversized winter socks went back on. I know I should be thankful for those socks, but, it's summer-90+ degree summer and wool socks don't exactly promote a feeling of coolness. Even with just the patch on, the foot is way too swollen to put any of my shoes or sandals on, so, heavy woolen sock it is for now!
From the clinic I went to see Itzik, and we discussed plans for continuing action by The Five. He agrees that we have to get something going very soon so as not to lose momentum. We are having a meeting tonight at Alberto McGyver's to work on a plan. We'll tell 'The Plants' once we figure out what to do.
Today I have to light a fire under Afikim's collective butts as they are taking their own sweet time returning my charger which was accidentally sent to them with the scooters they loaned us for the trip. I also need Yefim to sort the seat which has stopped swivelling when I most need it to swivel!
If all goes as planned, (when does it ever?) I plan to write about the people involved with trip here.

Monday, August 18, 2008

SPRUNG!

I'm out! I guess it only felt like a year, but the hospital let me out yesterday! My left foot still hurts like hell, and is swollen, but, it's already better today. The doc said to walk on it, like I have much of a choice in Gimp House. Also have some antibiotic pills to take for the next 4 days, and some lovely new purple bruises from where the nasty Soviet type doctor stuck me. But more on that later. I have to go to the clinic and get the prescription translated from 'hospital' to 'clinic' so I can buy them at the clinic pharmacy.
I have so much to write about that I feel ready to burst! I'll do it a bit at a time, starting at the end. There's still lots to write about the trip, and pictures to post.
Oh, it is wonderful to be home.

Wednesday, August 13, 2008

WE ARE HOME

We are home. Bloody and tired, but home. I have to take my freaking foot to the clinic before it falls off on it's own! This is a whole new level of pain that I have yet to explore, and that's saying something! I will post the article from the Jerusalem Post even though they got a major drtail dead wrong. They WILL print a correction. Gotta go get my foot fixed!

Sunday, August 10, 2008

REPORT FROM THE ROAD















I'm not quite sure where to start, and I'm not too sure I remember everything in the order it happened, but I'll try. The 5 on wheels met on time at the appointed departure place spot on time.Our truck was ready and loaded and our sign took pride of place. After a short ceremony lead by my private communist, we rode through town and were sent off by lots of honking and cheers from pedestrians, very few of whom thought we'd get to the town limits, never mind to where we are today! At the first major junction, we pulled over to put the electric wheelies on th truck and skip the road works where there are no shoulders to ride on. At the end of the road works, the chairs came off the truck, the cops joined us and we headed towards our next stop, which was the same place we were turned back from on our first attempt. We had a lunch break there wand were joined by a woman who will be referred to from now on as the Titanic. She is one of the 'leaders' of the demonstration going on in Jerusalem that were supposed to riding to rescue. She was supposed to pay for our lunch, which she simply could not do without insulting all of us. She had a huge beach umbrella attached to her chair, was dressed all in white, and had a mean expression on her face. The umbrella sailed off the chair and created quite the sensation on the highway. After riding for what fely like a week, we arrived at Kibbutz Amiad where we were to spend the night in the 'members club room' Titanic was upset that no one had seen fit to be sure that she hads her own 'private' room. The rest of us were just thankful that we had a place to sleep, and were not at all upset that she took herself off to look for a hotel! In the morning we loaded ourselves in the cars and vans and drove to Afula again bypassing road works. We off loaded at a service station and rode though town to a restaurant that had invited us for breakfast. Sever local big shots were on hand to give us a rousing send off. As we left Afula, the Titanic arrived with her sidekicks and we just kept on going. She eventually caught up with us and after a short temper tantrum, she packed up and left. We were on a road know as the Wadi Ara road. It's a large region of Arab villages. At one of the villages we were joined by a young man on his power chair. We welcomed him warmly and after a fair distance stopped at a service station at the entrance to the a largish city along that road. The people there were wonderful and offered us everything except their wives and houses. We had a make shift and after a rest, took off again. Two of The Iceberg's (the other so called leader who got us into this thing) sidekicks, one on a power chair, the other on a regular wheely, pulled by one of us had trouble keeping up. At the next rest stop we convinced to continue in their van. We covered a lot of ground, and even though we were in good shape and more than willing to keep on for the next 3 miles to the kibbutz that we were staying at that night, our police escort made us get off the road and continue by car. We agreed, and when we got to the entrance of the kibbutz, off loaded and made a triumphant entrance on our chairs with my personal communist blasting music from the speakers on the roof of his pick and telling everyone within a 10 mile radius that the "Marvelous five from Kiryat Shmonah who are on their way to Jerusalem to fight for the rights of 600000 disabled in Israel were entering the kibbutz" He lead us through the kibbutz with the speakers blasting until we got to the building where we were to sleep. It was an old children's house and there were already beds there so there was less to take off the truck. We had a meeting with the Iceberg, his muscle men, my personal communist and talked over the day and planned the next one. We were not happy with the behavior of the muscle men and they agreed to behave the next day. Our photographer came to see how we were doing and to report on what he'd organized press wise. Several reporters caught up with us there, and they tried to muscle their way in. We were notified that the one of the TV news stations wanted to interview us at 0900 on our way out of the kibbutz. The muscle men demanded that we wait for them to arrive before starting the interview, Yeah, right. We told them that we leave on time and stragglers would just have to catch up. Thankfully we finished the interview before they showed up. They were not happy at all, less so when we let them know in no uncertain terms that we really didn't much care what they thought about it. They knew what time the interview was scheduled, but weren't there. They went a little bit nuts and tried to create provocations between us and our police excort. When that didn't work they just fell in line and eventually got in their vans and left yet another time. We rode through Hadera with the speakers blasting, and headed for the next rest stop at a service station very close to where we were to stay that night. There were meeting late into night where problems were discussed and plans for the next day were finalized. After too short a sleep we headed for Netanya, but the muscle men had different plans and wanted us to go to a G-d forsaken town for no other reason than that one of the lives there. Our police escort didn't want to go there, so they both decided to throw themselves onto the road. Well, one of the did,
while the other watched. Somehow they onvinced the cops that we should go there
so, it was back on the truck and vans. I'm glad now that we did go there. The disabled who met us were more thrilled than any of us dreamed that The Five was actually there. We gave them each one of our shirts and shared pizza with them. I was devastated by the whole thing. Their town looks like the most neglected place you can imagine, and the simple act of going there and giving them a little attention reminded us of why we were doing this. At the daily evening summary just about everyone had something to say about going there and that the manipulation angered them. When it was my turn I told them that even though I'm sick and tired of the games I'm glad we went there and put a little sparkle in their eyes and some pride in themselves.











If anyone deserved to have a little hope injected into their lives it was this group! If we do nothing else on this trip, the detour made it all worth while. From there we rode into Netanya for lunch, where I had my daily temper tantrum. It had become a strange kind of tradition for me to have a daily tantrum during which I usually go off on one of the muscle men, take off for a shady spot have a little cry and a cigarette. The other 4 are used to it and expect it, so they just leave me alone. They know I'll calm down and be back soon. We rode around Netanya for a while with the speakers at full volume, then loaded ourselves back on the vehicles and ewnt to the next kibbutz. Here, the 'miracle' happened. The leadres of the warring factions of disabled organizations contacted us and asked for a meeting. We agreed to meet with the representatives of the group that tried it'd hardest to stop us from even leaving Kiryat Shmonah.



Their spokesman had said some very harsh things at the end of a TV piece on us, and was a little concerned that an aplogy woulfd be required. Yoel, my personal communist assured him that one would not be needed. When he arrived, I stopped him, leaned over and while holding his hand planted a huge kiss on his cheek. End of the issue. He and his boss spent a long time trying to explain why what we are doing will never suceed. In the end they agreed to stop trying to stop us agreed to meet with the Titsanic and the Iceberg the next night. Talk about making history. Several other 'leaders' called and wanted to meet too. The next night we had an historic meeting with 4 representatives of the various warring factions. While the 'grownups' were talking, the spokesman and I met with the kibbutz young folks and fine time. A few critcal issues were hammered out and a meeting set for the night with even more groups.



The morning brought us to Herzlia where the vice mayor met us and gave each of us a token gift and much praise. After riding pretty much all over the town, we had a rest at yet another service station, then continued into Tel Aviv!. Get your aps out. There we were The Five on Wheels IN TEL AVIV ON OUR WHEELIES. Wow. We met up with some Tel Aviv disabled at the most central spot there, where the two muscle men were bound and determined to block traffic. We refused poing blank, and most of the ones who had come to greet us also refused.





They just can't help themselves. If it's an intersection they have to block it with their bodies. We just sat there and watched while the police dealth with them. Some of their 'people' were quite rude to us, but we ignored them. That night was another long seemingly unending meeting of the organization heads. It was very loud and I've never seen one room so full of so many egos at the same time. They were all sent home to think things over and get ready for another meeting with as many organization head as we could find. Now, that was a wild meeting. Me, I just sat there and laughed at them all from behind my hand. Th worst were the two who asked us roll to their aid. We met with an MK who pretty much couldn't believe what we were telling him. His wife had to pinch him hard and say. "this is your dream coming true, and these Five are handing it to you" He took a minute, then shook his head and dove into the planning. Again it was long loud session and we ended up going to sleep well after 0300 for about 2 hours. It was decided that there would be yet another meeting in the morning as there was no 'ride' planned for Friday morning as it had been decided that the 'peace'talks were more important.



As we have two very religious guys with us, and Sunday is a fast day, we just came to this lovely kibbutz with computers and internet for a nice long weekend rest before we continue for two more days to Jerusalem. I also needed my left looking at. The top got all sunburned with a blister the size of the Superdome.



It's all nicely bandaged, and the swelling is going down. That's pretty the story to this point. There are going some very important developments over the next few days. Egos will be deflated in such a way that only The Five could come up with. I'll write all about it after it's a done deal.


Friday, August 01, 2008

READY SET GO

After an insane week of preparations and meetings, we, The Five are ready to 'march' on Jerusalem.Afikim, the kibbutz that manufacture the scooters we use generously agreed to provide us with 'new' scooters to use for the trip. They will also provide tech back up if anything should go wrong them. The groups that are helping us, Shatil, the Kibbutz movment and their youth group have been amazing. As have several local businesses who came through big time. Baby Genius and I even got the forum design done in time to start pushing it, only to get a message from the server this morning that there's a glitch. I'm going to do some routine maintenance on the computer after this posts in the hopes it might be ok. The auto save isn't working either. Computer says it's on line and sends mail just fine, but, who knows? In any event, I'm going to have a nice quiet Shabbat and slowly get my stuff ready for the trip.

Wednesday, July 30, 2008

ALMOST READY TO LEAVE

The Five are almost ready to leave on a demonstration the likes of which has never been seen in Israel. We have two very strong social action groups supporting us and providing back up as well as not a little pressure where needed. We are getting new scooters from the Israeli manufacturer Afikim today as it's public relations for that can't be bought or produced in a studio. We can do this because those of us on scooters all bought them from Afikim and intended to go on them in any event. The truck, generator and just about everything else we could dream of are ready to go on Sunday morning. The only small glitch is our web forum, but with a little more cajoling it should be up and running today. It's basically a Hebrew forum, but does have an English option. Only problem is, you need to know Hebrew to get to the English. I hope to have that sorted later tonight.
I kidnapped Golan yesterday and went to get my right leg 'shot' so it will behave on the trip. After the shot we went to have lunch and quite by chance ran into Baruch, who grew up with my late ex husband. We had a lovely, if somewhat damp conversation about him. It's hard for me to explain how wonderful it was to talk about him with someone who not only grew up with up him, but knew us both when we were together, as well as visited us in Maine. Today I have a list of things to do that just seems never ending, so, I'd best get on with it or it really never will end. There are only two more days to get things done in order to leave on Sunday.

Sunday, July 27, 2008

IT TOOK LONG ENOUGH

It only took a month, but tonight it became final. Five on Wheels are leaving a week from tomorrow by wheely and/or scooter for Jerusalem. I haven't posted much here lately for two reasons. One was that my granddaughter was here, the other was all the organizational meetings the Five were holding to get to the point we arrived at tonight. One of the main organizers of the group already demonstrating in Jerusalem came all the way up here to explain things to the guy we needed the final ok from to get the green light to go. Tomorrow I start a new press blitz to announce our impending departure.
Adee and Liat are on their way home now. Strange how things like that work out. I had hoped that we wouldn't leave before they did, and that is exactly what happened! Now I can concentrate on getting The Five on the road. The only issue I can't solve myself is doing the graphics I want for our website and forum, but I'm pretty sure I'll find someone to do it for me tomorrow.
So, now, it's off to bed at 55 minutes past midnight!

Wednesday, July 16, 2008

I MISSED ANOTHER ONE

It seems there was another earthquake in the area yesterday morning and I slept right through it. I heard about it while having coffee with Itzik and Anita at the coffee shop next to their photo shop which is owned by an old friend who worked at the hotel I used to work at. One of the town's leading businessman was with and he brought it up. After everyone else had made their comment, I looked around and said, "Ok, let's all get hysterical! On the count of three!" Took all the fear that had been building right back down to zero with that.
All the big insurance companies here are pushing 'earthquake catastrophe' insurance. I like one of them which is a bit strange for me as I generally drtest commercials, but this one is ok. It follows the birth, childhood, adolescence and move to Israel of Murphy, disaster by disaster, then, they pitch the insurance. It's actually quite amusing. There's an insurance agent on the other side of Itzik and Anita's shop and people were waiting in line to get in.
After that, I went and got my hair cut. It was really starting to bother me and I had to get it off the nape of my neck and out of my eyes. It's much better now.
The Five had a meeting at Moshe's, and we worked out a few issues. One of the leaders of the Jerusalem demonstrators claims to be having talks with officials. It's possible that he is, but I'm not at all sure about that. I am pretty sure that even if we don't leave for another month, they will still be there, so, planning continues and we came up with a few demands of our own. The major one is that at least two of us be included in the talks. They really won't be able to refuse us if/when we get there. We also came to the conclusion that the very fact of having arrived there will give us a bargaining chip that the local and regional authorities won't be able to ignore, and we'll be able to push through some much needed changes locally. Watch out, Israel. The Five are on the way!

Monday, July 14, 2008

MIRACLES DO HAPPEN

Gob smacked doesn't quite cover it. On Saturday I woke up to a dead digibox and no TV. I called the cable company hoping to schedule a techie for the morning, but the gal told me that they are changing software and their computers are down. Right. I decided to call again first thing in the morning. At 0845 there was a horrendous banging on my door, and when I finally lurched over there to open it, a cable techie was standing there! As the computers were down they all went over various and assorted reports and were going around fixing problems that they found on the reports. He came here because the interweb modem was behaving badly, and YES, he had a brand new digibox for me. And I didn't even have to call! You'll have to trust me on this; never ever has a techie in this country arrived to fix anything without a whole 'to do' before hand!
Golan wandered in at some poing and I mentioned that drain to the sink was backed up. He took the whole thing apart, but it was solidly backed up. I called the public housing 'fix it' folks and they said they'd send someone right over. I told her that I have a meeting at 1400, and she replied that they'd be here in plenty of time. Yeah, right. The guy arrived just as I was about to leave. Luckily, he found the problem and fixed it quickly, so I was only 10 minutes late to the meeting. It was a meeting with the people from the organization that wants to sponsor our roll to Jerusalem. After apologising nicely, I asked if they were serious about helping us, or were they just going to waste more time by talking around in circles, and added that if it were the latter, I had better things to do. The head 'plant' (a play on the name of their organization in Hebrew) indicated that they want to move ahead, so I stayed. The two people who were there, but aren't part of our group were more than a little taken aback by my forcefulness, but, it's nothing to do with them as they aren't going with us in any even. A question was asked about other gimps starting with or joining up with us and I said quite simply "We are The Five and even if the whole country joins us, we will still be The Five, and it's not open to discussion!" We managed to set some guidelines for our next meeting which will be at a hotel not far from here, as the 'head plant' seems to have caught on to the fact that we were not comfortable meeting at the home of the couple who very kindly (with only a few ulterior motives) let us meet at their place. It's taking longer than I'd hoped, but, they do seem to be serious about helping us, so, we'll most likely be heading out again on the 28 or so. I had to giggle at the head plant's reactions to some of my more forceful statements, but towards the end of the meeting he was very complimentary about my determination and knowlege of gimp issues.
WATCH OUT. THE FIVE WILL SOON BE ON THE ROAD! And do I ever have some surprise plans for the trip. And I'm not telling anyone before hand. This is going to be so much fun.
It seems the cable guy didn't sort the modem issue. I'll have to get on to them again!

Saturday, July 12, 2008

SOMETIMES IT'S ALMOST TOO MUCH

I guess I really don't understand people at all. At least it feels that way sometimes. This has been one of those crazy weeks when I've been to busy to do almost anything other than work on the project at hand. The demonstration is continuing in Jerusalem, but not getting very far. The other group (the one that has decided that it represents ALL disabled on it's own, has been blocking us at every turn. They can get away with it for now as they are backed by The Histadrut; The Union. Unfortunately for them, it doesn't quite work like that. They have managed to push through legislation that is potentially disastrous for us, but there is still time to defeat it.
There is a group of 'do-gooders' that says they want to help us get our caravan back on the road. So far they have only hindered us, but after the fuss I made at the last meeting, it looks like they might just come through. We have another meeting with them tomorrow and I intend to tell them to either put up or shut up. What they seem not to understand is that if they provide us with the truck and generator that we really do need, all the rest will fall into place. We do not need to have service stations arranged ahead of time because I already have promises for 4 pairs of batteries that can be charged while we are moving and switched when one pair runs out. That will save many long hours of time that we would otherwise have to spend waiting for our own batteries to charge. It really is that simple. Another simple thing is that YES, Israelis can be counted on to help us as we go. On our previous attemp, we were greated at the service area from which we were eventually turned back, by a donation of mineral water, chocolate milk drink, and fruit, as well as the coffee shop where several of us had coffee telling us that the bill was settled and wishing us good luck. I have no doubt at all the support will grow the further we go.
During the last meeting we were subjected to a very condecending speech about the media. Yeah, right. I'd like to see their so called expert do in a week what I did in one day. We had cameras from every TV news station, 3 radio interviews along the way, and one after we got back and interviews and photos from the major newspapers. I rather doubt we need their expert. The largest electronic newspaper in the country has adopted a picture of us as their default 'gimp' picture! So much for their expert. We are a group of 5 adults who know exactly what we are doing and how we want to do it. We do not need an organization of arrogant know it alls talking down to us, and trying to tell us that what we accomplished on our first attempt was a failure. It was not a failure, it was a resounding success even, or possibly, because, we got turned back so soon after we started. All we need to finish are a truck with a rear door lift and a generator or someone to provide them.
We'll know by this time tomorrow if we can go.
The other issue is that my daughter in law brought her mother and sister along for my first meeting with the baby, which was not really fair. I haven't seen her since then, but they are in great demand, and I strongly suspect that my son's sister will be there today with her 3, so, I'm staying safely inside to avoid any unpleasantness.
On the upside, Dem Der has definitly lost his mind. He actually said some nice things about my writing ability, and the fact that I post so much typing with only one hand. What he doesn't know yet, is that his foot had better get well PDQ as he's on for dog sitting when/if we go wheeling to Jerusalem again. Lucky for him that I have my sources in his building and KNOW for a fact that he hasn't been out for over 2 weeks.