Friday, April 6, 2012

Chag Pesach Sameach!

Shalom from Nahariya, chaverim! This week has just flown by, as we've been entirely caught up in a whirlwind romance with our new kittens, Pini and Dudu. They are growing like the U.S. national debt, and I've been reluctant to leave the apartment just because they're so darn fun.

Dudu. Judging by her expression, she is clearly having fun.

Since my former cats were always indoor-outdoor cats who preferred to do their business outdoors, it has taken some effort to adjust to the necessity of constant box cleanings and the problems of "spillage" kittens can create. Changes of diet and environment can make things a little, er, soggy, and let's just say that we've fitted out each room in the apartment with a pack of baby-wipes. We also bought a vacuum cleaner on Wednesday, since the kittens have the uncanny ability to drag every single dustbunny in the apartment right into the middle of the floor.

Speaking of cleaning, Israel has been in a national frenzy since Purim about Pesach. Pesach is the biggest family holiday of the year, and because it's oriented that way, people travel like crazy to be with their families. Another reason I've heard that people may travel over Pesach is so they don't have to stay home and clean house to rid it of all the "chametz," or leaven.

Cleaning your house for Pesach involves not only a giant spring cleaning to rid it of chametz, but also demands that you go through each and every single item you own, and clean it individually. Every book in your library (and Jewish public schools do this too, mind you) has to be opened, dusted, and have the pages flipped to get rid of any little crumbs. There are other intricacies about cleaning for Pesach that I don't understand, involving plastic covers for tabletops and so on, but you get the drift.

Israelis use the Pesach cleaning binge to get rid of their old junk, worn-out clothes and furniture. I'd noticed on our walks recently that there seems to be an unusually large amount of "gifted" items next to buildings' dumpsters. Anglo-style thrift shops or charity shops are not very common in Israel, so instead, people gently place items next to the dumpster to give passersby a chance to take them before the garbage service does. I've seen dishes, pots and pans, clothes, furniture, and even electronic devices like old phones. Last week, I found a perfectly good--if ugly--chair on the sidewalk. I knew it would be perfect for Pini and Dudu as a kitty-gym/scratching post. It was so ugly, though, that Elul only agreed to have it in the apartment if I was willing to carry it the three blocks home and up the three flights of stairs. I broke a sweat, but I persevered. And now our ugly chair takes pride of place in our "guest" room.

Ugly chair, "before."
Not to worry, though. I gave the ugly chair a fabulous and incredibly inventive makeover, draping over it a piece of cloth I bought fifteen years ago and was too lazy to hem so it could become a proper tablecloth.

Ugly chair, "after." I'm waiting to be approached by HGTV to host my own show. I think I'll call it "Crap and Carry."

Well. Erm, the cats seem to like it, anyway! Reduce, reuse, recycle, right?

Happy Passover, everybody! And as usual, if you can't see the pictures or the YouTube video link above, go directly to my blog at . Chag sameach!

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