Saturday, November 28, 2009

thankful for....Mike? (a burble and a serious thought)

I am sitting on magid's couch, half-asleep, and waiting for the laundry to dry. Because, yes, the Mikes have struck again.

On Tuesday, I checked the clock: 10 minutes. 11 minutes. 12 minutes. How long should my oven take to warm up? I checked the oven thermometer: 260F, said the thermometer. Ding! said the oven. I'm at 350F.

Are not, sneered the thermometer.

Aaaargh, said I. And called Mike.

On Wednesday, Mike replaced the heating elements in our oven, and we bid a happy farewell to the smell of gas from the broiler's heating cycle. Ah, said the oven. That's better. Oh - and by the way? F7:E0

F7:E0? said I.

F7:E0, confirmed the oven.

Okay, said Mike. Turn off the circuit, wait a minute and turn it back on. I'll call back in ten minutes. And he did, and I did, and all seemed well until Thursday morning, when....honey? the Man said, shaking my shoulder with a not-as-calm-as-I-sound grip. The oven has some wierd error message, and won't heat up.

Aaargh, said I.

In case you are wondering, the wise people at Kitchenaid inform me that F7:E0 is the product of poorly connected wires. Or possibly a faulty door latch. Or possibly a faulty board (a.k.a. expensive electronics). But once we'd coaxed the oven into heating up a little, the connection relaxed into the heat (how?), and allowed the oven to continue. We flung the rolls into the oven, followed immediately by the stuffing, and I'm delighted to say that the turkey was done a fantabulous three hours before dinnertime. Between Jonathan Reynolds and the temporary hiatus on F7:E0, we had ourselves a feast.

There were rolls and piles of veggies, making small talk with olive tapenade, unMarthaed green sauce and shamrock hummus. There was salad, for those who transition reluctantly to the main course, cranberries and sweet potatoes provided (and funked) by our guests. 21 pounds of moist, crisp-skinned turkey (if I do say so mahself). Hot dog stuffing, which you gotta try to believe. (think: sausage, fennel, pears, herbs, cubes of bread and white wine...) A nice bottle of wine, that had somehow survived its tenure under our window seat. And dessert: strawberry-lime sorbet, pineapple sorbet, blueberry pie and a plateful of fruit for anyone who missed the course's subtle theme.

We draped ourselves over our chairs, moaning quietly. Some people went home, after explaining that next year, they'll show us how this holiday really oughter be done. We staggered off to bed, happily contemplating the tautness of our bellies.

F7:E0, the oven murmured to itself. Three feet away, the washing machine hissed with jealousy, anticipating the Mike to come. And then, inspiration struck.

Water pipe closed? inquired the washing machine.

And so I am here, waiting for the dryer and imposing on magid's hospitality. Mike will be back on Wednesday, having soothed the oven's wounded spirit on Friday (he's 95% certain, says Mike), and determined that the washer requires new water sensors. Of possibly just a new mizzeekatron. A nice giraffe? Something.

So here I sit, trying to figure out if there's a way that we can throw out our enormous, ancient TV and DVD player, and still show the rare DVD to the kids on....some sort of bit of electronics that is neither large, nor expensive. Preferably free? Easily packed away in an over-full cabinet?

(Seriously, people, make with the suggestions here.)

And I'm reading this, about special needs in the Jewish community. Which makes me sad, because I know that outside of our wierd little community-bubble, what Dov and Devorah describe is true. Children with special needs are not well served in religious Jewish institutions, often for financial reasons. Sometimes - as we learned - through ignorance, lack of experience, flexibility or empathy. But often, it's money that stands as a barrier between a special needs child and a religious Jewish school.

Even if you can wedge the kid in, however, the school culture will make or break ya. Parents who embrace you and your oddball kid? Or parents who will sneer, and leave your kid out of the birthday parties, the playdates, the social life that unfurls through the child's school day? If the money for support services, or even just the adaptations isn't there, you don't get to find out. Not at a religious, private school.

But synagogues are a different question. There, the community's culture - their ability to incorporate, or accept (not just the rather arm's-length idea of "tolerance") the child is even more critical than their finances. We go to a shul that is perennially broke, but the community culture is one that has people looking for ways to include us. Last year, when the Toddles was forced out of his preschool, our shul was the place where we showed him that Judaism happened outside of our house. And that it could include him.

I don't need to explain why that's crucial, do I?

Which means that this comes down to a question of leadership. If more rabbis, like Dov, had children with disabilities - invisible or otherwise - then maybe something would shift. Or knew someone, or loved someone with a disability, and saw how this isolated them. Or saw how hard some kids struggle to build a positive image of themselves - their imperfect, frustrating bodies/brains/worlds - and how damaging that closed door can be.

A closed door isn't community. But do the rabbis even realize that the door is closed?


jgfellow said...

Hmmm. How about a pull down screen and a projector which can be attached to the laptop?

Anonymous said...

We don't have a TV, just use the computer or laptop.

Miryam (mama o' the matrices) said...

Dude. JG, the point is that I get to use the laptop, while the kids zone out. In theory, anyway, because the Toddles doesn't like TV much, and will come wandering over, and frankly, the Eldest will zone out happily with a why do we need to replace this thing again?

I forget. Might have something to do with being culturally relevant.

Anonymous said...

Our kids are no longer watching TV (um, starting yesterday) until #1 learns to enjoy reading, and #2 learns that cleaning up is just as awesome as trashing the place. :)

Sorry to hear you are having appliance difficulties.