El Al is all ya need. For flying with animals, I can’t recommend El Al more highly. At the check-in counter my bags got checked and then my check-in girl accompanied me around the corner to get the cats set up (you pay for them and they are collected just a few feet away). I was able to stay with them until 20 minutes before the flight. When I booked the flight, El Al had put me at the very front of the plane in a seat that had extra leg space to accommodate the cat and so that my “petsy” would have the least traumatic entrance and quickest exit. All the airport and security folks were gaga over my “petsy” as carry-on kitties are called.
The flight was great (highly rec. El Al food as well — it tasted restaurant quality and they just kept feeding us).
Going through passport control was a nightmare at Kennedy. At the baggage claim an El Al representative paged me and took me to my two cargo kitties that they had waiting just beyond the baggage carousel. Nesicha unfortunately had had diarrhea in her carrier (peeuw). I had to rent a baggage cart and my stuff very much did not all fit on it. While going through the long and extremely winding lines of passport and customs controls, first the backpack with the computer fell off the cart, then the brown suitcase fell off, and then horror of horrors, Nescha, perched at the very top of the heap fell off and her carrier landed upside down. I was so afraid she was hurt but she seems ok, over than now being fully covered in the diarrhea. A really nice indian woman stepped in then and helped me, pulling my brown suitcase and helping me to stabilize the animals on the cart. She helped me all the way out to the taxi line. There is a place in heaven for her.
On the drive to the hotel near the Newark airport we went down 9th street in Manhattan and right past my old apartment. I couldn’t believe how nice that area has become –restaurants and shops and very clean. When I lived there that part of Hell’s Kitchen was pretty derelict and the local homeless folks and wino’s used to get in and sleep in our building’s staircase.
The poor cats have stayed trapped in their bags all night. I didn’t dare open the carriers to clean them or give them food and water because the room has too many places that if they escaped they could hide and I’d never get them back in, especially Nesicha who needs to be cleaned up the most. They’ve cried all night. In about 2 hours I’ll be heading for the airport again. I’m hoping that the fact you can smell Nesicha a mile away is not going to be an issue. Will check back in once in Austin and the little cats are all settled.
As soon as I post this I will be putting the cats in their carriers, the computer in the backpack, doing the final mop, and putting on my travel clothes over my sweaty body. I should have bought 2 of the drain outs. I used the entire bottle, tried the homeopathic remedy–and it drains but it takes about 2 hours to drain for a really little amount of water.
Wow my neighbour just came by with one of the twins to say a final goodbye and I got her to help me get the cats in their carriers. The guy should be here in 15 min so I need to change, and do the final mop. Will check back in when I am in…Newark.
Bedroom done, Tovi’s room done, kitchen nearly done (as soon as the drawers I washed have dried and get put back), small machsan done (that was a bitch) toilet room done, hallway done. I still have the 6 big windows, to carry down a few more things that got left in the porch (machsan 2), the bathroom, the living room floor, to take all the trash down and to organize the cleaning supplies.
If I get done by midnight, I will take a shower, feed the cats their final pre-travel meal, charge the battery on the tablet, get all the bags close to the door, do a final check, empty the litter, trap the cats and walla. I’ve got to run up to the vad as soon as it is officially motze shabbat to pay the final 75 sheks.
The rooms I’ve cleaned are clean enough that you could eat off the floor, if you didn’t mind a bit of soap residue. The windows are so streakless that it doesn’t look like there is glass in them.
I’m still in a state of shock. I still can’t comprehend that I’ll be locking the door and heading to the airport in like 12 hours.
I was up cleaning until about 2:45 last night. I’m going to need to re-clean some of the things I did because the light in my apartment is not great and I can see where I missed spots on the big kitchen window and on the top cabinet fronts.
I think all my stuff is going to fit into the suitcases and my carry-ons. Yeah plural, I’m hoping they will let me claim that one of the heavy-duty cloth shopping bags –the one I got from Noa in Australia :) –is my purse. My real purse will be inside that ‘purse.’ I’m carrying a backpack within a backpack as well.
I’m putting the LLBean backpack that I got in my first year of college and that is still going strong (yeah, this was back when LLBean still had that last forever quality before they partnered with Sears) inside the bigger backpack I bought in the emergency situation when I had to bring baby Batya back from where I rescued her just outside of Ben-Gurion University down in Beer Sheva. Seems kind of fitting since I’m now bringing her to the States on the same planes. In the LLBean bag will be all the things I may want to use on the flights — the tablet, ipod, external drives with audio books and ebooks, my book of Tehillim (Psalms) so I don’t miss my daily reading, current hebrew diary, pen, paper and cat papers. When I get onboard I can then pull that bag out and store the bigger one in the overhead. The bigger one will have my computer, my external backup drives and other tech crud that I’ll need in the next year stuffed into it as well as the cat food packets –I won’t need those until the 20-hour layover.
I set out the outfit I’m wearing on the plane — non-matching running shoes (they are brown and orange but it is either wear them or leave them because they won’t fit in the suitcase if I wear the more squishable ‘nice’ crocs), an ankle-length deep purple skirt, a guffiah (tank top), a long-sleeved plum coloured shirt, and a sage green short sleeved t-shirt over it. Yeah my standard religious girl attire but also very convenient because not a single thing more can fit in the suitcases.
I brought three big bags of food over to my holocaust survivor this morning — she’s now got more cans of chickpeas, tuna, tomato paste, peas, peas and carrots, corn, pickles, olives, pickled hot peppers, and various boxes of teas than she can probably use in three months. I can’t help her out with fresh-grown produce this year but I’ve set her up in canned.
Now I’ve got to get back to the massive amount of cleaning I still need to do. I’ve left my bathing suit out in the hopes that I might be able to go to the beach for the first and last time tomorrow at motze shabbat.
I got the microwave down before 8 this morning. I’ve walked at least four miles today. Went to the airport and got the kitty papers good to go. Went from there to Tel Aviv on the train, got my bus card fixed when I got off the train and then used it to take a bus to the pet store Ronen told me about. I got a bowl that will hopefully sort of work for Nesicha’s cage. They had a bigger flexible carrier than the one I was bringing back to Ronen but I wasn’t sure if it fit the specification. So I went to Ronen’s clinic, visited with Nesicha for a few minutes (she tried to attack me through the cage, not a happy little cat at all), arranged to get the small hard carrier I gave to Sharon back then thought better of it and checked the web for the specifications for a hard carrier — dude only 19 cm tall? (7.5 inches). There are no hard carriers that are only 19 cm tall. Soft carriers can be 28 cm tall.
I ran to a hardware store and bought a measuring tape. Ran back to the pet store and measured the bigger soft carrier (it is still going to be hell to get Mischa in there as it is like a long, high, tube but only 5 inches wide). I measured it in all directions and it fits the specifications. Bought it. Back to Ronen’s to tell Sharon nevermind, you can keep the carrier.
I walked from there to teh bus stop on Arlozorov going into every grocery on the way looking for our equivalent of liquid plumber. Could not find it but I did finally find one of those things you drop into the tank of the toilet and it makes the water blue (good stain hider). Got off one bus stop sooner than my usual one, went up the hill to my last hope grocery and walla, liquid plumber (drain out here). Someone is coming to view the apartment at 8:30 this evening.
I’ve got to get the toaster oven down and then pretty much everything else that is lingering in the kitchen and start cleaning the cabinets inside and out. Have to call and cancel phone etc as soon as my battery re-charges. My personal batteries need to recharge a bit too.
Update: I’ve got to call and cancel phone, internet etc once I’m in the States. Bezeq Leumi’s cancellation office conveniently closes at 3 on Thursdays and won’t be available until Sunday again –and you can’t cancel for day x in advance, if you cancel they cut you off instantly. Same with the phone and I will need the phone to call Ronen at 5:30 on Sunday to make sure he is awake to get to the clinic and get the psycho kitty in her carrier and in the event that Avi isn’t here on time/forgot/can’t find the address etc. So it will expensive as all get out but I’ll have to listen to musak on international rates to cancel all this crap.
It started off badly when it took nearly 5 hours to get Nesicha into the carrier to bring in to board at Ronen’s. My plan had been to drop her off, get the carrier for Mischa, the paperwork, run to the pet store to get the bowls, and then to my bank, getting back home in time to get a lot of stuff done before the painter arrives (at 5, so in a few minutes). But Ronen wasn’t there when I got there. He was expected any minute though. However, after waiting for 45 minutes I realized there was no way I could then get to my bank. So bank was off the list. I waited another half hour. I went and got lunch and came back. Finally at 3:30 he arrived and we got the paperwork done. The carrier for Mischa looked like it was going to be way too small. I bought it anyway thinking maybe I can get him in there — eh yeah maybe with a plunger. When I see the vet tomorrow morning at the airport at 10 I am going to have to see if the airlines have something that he can fit in and that can fit under the seat. Why the hell don’t people carry Sherpa bags here?!
By the time the paperwork was done, I didn’t have time to go to the pet store for the bowls and grabbed a cab because I didn’t think I’d make it back here in time with the bus. There was some huge pikkak and balagan with roadworks being done on two major streets and so when I was about 10 blocks from home I told the cab to pull over and that I was hoofing it from there. The ride was already nearly double what it usually is. I pretty much ran and got here 10 minutes before 5. Clearly didn’t get anything done on the apartment so far today. While the painter is painting I’ve got to work like a mad woman on the living room and kitchen — he’s going to have to start in the two bedrooms.
So an hour before this latest “I’ll believe it when I see it” ceasefire, a mortar attack killed an Israeli and seriously injured two more. The mayors of our southern communities are telling people who sought refuge in the center ‘don’t come back yet.’ I’m summing up my feelings about agreeing to this ceasefire with one succinct sentence: New elections and I’m voting either Liberman or Bennett’s parties. Bye bye Likud.
They finally got the washer, dryer and fridge out of the apartment. The fridge is in the apartment across the hall along with the dryer but the brother is taking the washer and it is still sitting in the hall — they went home to put their little ones to bed and are coming back. To make sure that they take the baker’s rack down when they come back, I drug it out into the hall too.
I also need the runway piece of floor it was sitting on to scooper the massive flood they caused when they disconnected the washer (how to people in other places live without drain holes in the floor when they mop? Seriously, it would have taken me hours without it). The water sprayed everywhere for about 15 minutes before they were able to get the knob to turn to cut off the flow to the disconnected washer spigot.
While they were moving stuff I managed to get the small living room window cleaned –eh mostly. My arm isn’t long enough to reach all the way to the far edge of the window glass on the outside. I got the trisim, screen, and window cleaned as best I could. If I can get the small toilet room window and walls and door clean and a few small items like the ricer cooker down then I’m going to call it a night. To be honest, I’m not sure I have the mojo even for that. I want to collapse.