About renovations

When I first moved into my house, I wrote the following article. I am posting it now because we are soon going to be starting on renovations and I am recalling the first time.

Note, I skip the part where I had hired people who *said* they were expert electricians, plumbers, and floor tile layers who ended up not only being disasters in all three areas (I had experts in each field come into the house and all of them pointed out the same problems with the work in their area of expertise) but actually did damage to the house that I ended up paying to repair. Later they threatened to sue me for the remainder of the money, but armed with pictures of the destruction they wrought, we were able to convince them that they were getting off easy if we didn’t sue them.

but I digress…

Here is what I wrote then. I hope that this time I will come out of it as well as I did then.


“My blood pressure is HOW high!! my cholesterol is up; my ankles are swollen. This can’t be happening to me. After all, I’m only 26. Well, OK, my oldest child is 31, but I only feel like 26. How can this be?”

That’s what I said to myself when I made my last visit to my doctor in Jerusalem last May, about a week before I was scheduled to move to Modi’in. It was hard to believe that I had let myself get to this point. The doctor was not worried. But all I could think about was that I was slowly killing myself with the weight I had gained and the troubles it was causing in my body. I thought it would be really ironic to have come this far and done this much just to throw my life away over croutons and salad dressing, the high calorie stuff I poured over my tomatoes and cucumbers in an effort to diet.

But the move to Modi’in turned out to be my salvation because the inept shiputznikim [renovators] I had hired enabled me to go on the “no-kitchen diet.” Here’s how it works: You bring over a lift [shipment] from America that arrives exactly one day after you move into your apartment which is just fine except for the kitchen. So by the time your lift arrives and you place huge boxes containing all of your major appliances completely filling the living room and dining area, you have demolished two walls of the kitchen and realize that to open any of the boxes is dangerous because there will be days or weeks of flying debris to say nothing of the deadly quantity of dust and plaster that can invade anything that would make life pleasant (like a TV, for example.) But finally, after two or three days, you open the box with the refrigerator which now stands somewhere in the middle of what will be the dining room (probably in the next millenium, you think) and is separated from you by only a hallway, several piles of broken cement, cinderblock, concrete, plastic sheeting, electrical tubing, and a sand covered surface that will be under the floor tiles once they are replaced. Of course to protect the refrigerator from the debris, it remains in the box with only three seams cut to create a makeshift door in the box and a small area for air circulation behind it.

Now comes the fun part. You want to eat, but you can’t cook anything and the idea of even getting to the fridge is daunting. Fruit seems like a lot of effort. Cokes have to be poured and there’s no place to store a plastic cup or even to put one down should you want to pour, so the solution seems to be cottage cheese which can be eaten out of its container with a plastic spoon. To avoid excess fat, of course, you choose the .5% cottage cheese that, with a little nutrasweet, tastes almost like a treat.

Fast forward now to the chanukat habayit [house warming]. Yes, we made it. After a switch in shiputznikim [jokers] and a million missteps, the house was ready. The family came from far and wide, and here is the very best part: when we took the family picture, I fit. Yes, the “no-kitchen diet” did its magic.

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