Sunday, September 4, 2011
Monday, July 11, 2011
Well, the craziness has died down from the wedding, and I finally have a second to post to my blog which has been kinda rare of late. I was thinking how life had changed since marriage, and I have compiled a list of things I have observed from the first two weeks of marriage. Here they are:
1) It’s gonna be a while before I start referring to it as “my parents’ house.”
2) “How’s married life” is a very annoying question. If you are married, you should know the answer; if not, well im yirtzah Hashem by you.
3) There is no such thing as “normal life.”
4) I get that it will take some time before I am used to the ring, but how long will it be before I stop playing with it?
5) It seems like the only way to get things done that need to be done is to be unemployed.
6) There are ALWAYS more boxes.
7) Kissing the talis strings by kriyas sh’ma is so much easier than getting your tzitzis strings ready.
8)As soon as Sheva B'rachos are over, nobody cares anymore
9) The people who used to say “wait until I you’re married” when I complained about not having time for anything now say “wait until you have kids.” (What do they say after the kids are born?)
Friday, May 13, 2011
So being an about-to-be-married individual (coupled (NPI) with the fact that it’s Sefira now), I have recently given a lot of time to listening to various shiurim on marriage. One that recently caught my attention was the first of a series of lectures given by Rabbi Aryeh Pamensky. In case you have never heard of him, he is not only well-known in the frum world, but in the secular world as well. His lecture series “Happy Wife = Happy Life” is attended by Jews and Gentiles alike all across America.
Without going too much into detail about this particular lecture, I would just like to point out one difference he states about men and women: women are relationship beings and men are not. When I initially heard this statement, I was a little startled. I know that I build my entire life around relationships. I have always thought that we are who we associate with. So it was always important for me to develop solid relationships.
So when I got the word that men simply aren’t relationship beings, I became confused. I brought into question all of the relationships that I already have. If they aren’t relationships, what are they? Who are these people whose company I have been enjoying?
Well, I am glad to say that the explanation did not end there. Rabbi Pamensky went on to tell a story regarding a group of couples to whom he had been lecturing. At one point he split the group into men and women and told them to describe the ideal mate. Ten minutes later, he brought them back and had one volunteer from each group come up. The man (Bob) allowed for the woman (Barbara) to go first. Before Rabbi Pamensky asked about the question at hand, he pointed at a woman in the audience and asked Barbara what the woman's name was, where she was from, how many kids she had, where they went to school, etc. To a stunned Bob (and presumably the rest of the male population in the room, Barbara was able to answer almost all of the questions.
The point is that before women get down to business, they develop relationships. If men are given a task, they do it. It all comes back to the fact that women are relationship beings and men are not.
“Well then,” I wondered. Who are all of these people that I have been spending time with? Until now, I had assumed that they were friends with whom I had deep meaningful relationships. However, I have just been told that I don’t have the capability to have such relationships. I am merely a Not.
Obviously, that was wrong. Men are allowed to have friends. However, the relationship between two men are vastly different than the relationship between two women. And I now know this based on what happens when people get engaged.
For both the guy and the girl, it is inevitable that they will begin to spend less time with their friends, and more time with each other. However, the reactions of the friends are different. As a guy, I know that it is expected that when a friend gets engaged, he is no longer as available as he once was, and I accept that. He has things to do in preparation for marriage, and a very special person with whom he needs to do those things. I get it.
However, girls’ reactions are much different. I can tell this just based on the various blog posts I have read from single girls. I read things like ‘it’s like she disappeared,’ or ‘I never get to see her anymore.’ And these girls are deeply saddened by these situations. In fact, they end up taking it personally. Rabbi Dovid Orlofsky once said “the difference between guys and girls is that two guys can sit on a couch for three hours, watching a football game not saying a single word to each other, and neither one will wonder if the other is angry at him.” Imagine if these girls, who until this time had been hanging out two or three times a week, don’t see each other for a month! It becomes personal. Why? Because women are relationship beings. And guys are not.
The worst part is that every single one of those girls know that when they eventually find the right guy, guess what? They will be just as inaccessible as their friends are to them now. They may say “that’s not going to happen to me; I’m going to be a good friend.” Yes it will. There is so much to do between wedding planning, apartment hunting, work, school, sleep, etc. that they will want to be with their friends, but there is just no time. And that doesn’t mean that you’re a bad friend; it just means that you’re normal. You’ll be there for a friend when she really needs you; you just won’t be able to hang out as much.
No more clearly do I see this disparity than when it comes to inviting people to my wedding. Whenever I am told that a friend of mine can’t make it, I get a little upset for a bit and then I move on. Sure it would be nice to have all my closest friends at my wedding, but this guy has the wedding of his roommate in Toronto on the same day, and this one is starting a job the next morning and has to leave, and this one just got engaged and has to be at his future sister-in-law’s wedding that day, and another can’t afford to fly in from the mid-west… I understand that in a guest list of 50, 60, 70 people, a few can’t make it. But when Erachet finds out that a friend with can’t make the wedding, it’s a truly devastating bit of news.
What guys believe girls don’t realize is that things need to get done, and if getting those things done require missing out on something, even something big, then sacrifices will have to be made. As for what girls believe about guys, what do I know? I’m just a Not.
Thursday, April 28, 2011
…and anyone else waking up at 3AM to watch the Royal Wedding. It is official! After years of searching, I have finally found a way to equate a girl’s excitement about something to a guy’s feeling about sports.
I am pretty much the average guy when it comes to following sports; I am not in any fantasy leagues, I watch football on Sundays when it doesn’t interfere with anything in my life and I go to about 5 sporting events a year. One thing that I never did is wake up at 3:30 in the morning to watch a game. When I was in Israel, I missed the World Series and watched about half of the Superbowl.
But I now realize that when girls ask “What is so interesting that needs to put everything else on hold?” what they are really asking is “Why don’t I have anything like that?”
The answer to that is that if you did, you would blow it further out of proportion than guys have done to the Superbowl. If there was an annual Royal Wedding that took place every April, it would become an international holiday. And just like a guy would drag his girlfriend/wife to a Superbowl party with the promise of social interaction, a girl would do the same to her boyfriend/husband with the promise of food. Only when the guy is dragged out of bed at some ungodly hour, giving into the prospect of an awesome breakfast that may include eggs, waffles and pancakes over his precious sleep, he is subjected to tea and biscuits! Everyone would come dressed as some member of royalty, and who knows? We could even have a mock wedding before the actual festivities. The only way guys would be able to deal with the event would be to make up betting lines on the wedding. Lines may include:
- Length of first kiss
- First person to cry
- Number of people outside Westminster Abby
- Length of Prince’s nose
And the argument that I absolutely do not want to hear anymore is “these athletes don’t care about you.” Because guess what, the Royal Family cares less about you. AND there is more of a chance of me meeting any Kansas City Royal, Sacramento King, Los Angeles King or even Prince Fielder than the chance of you meeting any member of the Royal family. So I have free reign to buy a jersey, because how many brides out there will try to model their dress after the new Princess’s?
And no, Erachet is not making me get up to watch the wedding, nor is sports something that we have yet to argue about. This is just an observation by someone who grew up not being allowed to watch TV on a school night unless there was some sort of major sporting event going on, and had to defend this to a sister who didn’t have anything similar to it. The complaint should not have been “why can he watch?” but “why don’t I have anything that I care about?”
Monday, April 11, 2011
Either way, I do find it weird. I understand why it is forced upon the guy to reveal his knowledge (or lack thereof) about the girl – because the friends for some reason want to know. But why aren’t the girls required to answer similar questions about the guy.
Why isn’t SHE asked what HE wore on the first date? What are his favorite restaurants, foods and colors? Why don’t they ask the girls frivolous questions like what the guy’s favorite football team is?
I have come up with two possible answers for this. The guy’s friends don’t care, and the girl always knows the guy well. Let’s take them one at a time.
A guy’s friends don’t care
Obviously, there is more of an interest among the girls to see how well their friend did in the manmarket than guys who want to see who’s going to be cooking for them when they come over (jk lol ?). Aside from that, you run into the problem of when to show the video to the guy’s friends. The Auf Ruf seems to be out, seeing as it’s on Shabbos, and I think that such a video would seems out of the realm of normal bachelor party events (if you were to have one) .
The girl always knows the guy well
And I think this is the more pressing issue. Girls always know guys well. So doing it this way makes it into a competition; not between the couple, but between the girl and her friends, who now will need to prove that one knows their other half better than the other. It just cuts down on a lot of unneeded/unwanted stress.
Having said all of this, I think I did pretty well with my questions. Admittedly, I did not get them all right, but at least once I answered something about Erachet that she got wrong herself. A little suggestion though to all you shower-planning girls out there - ask some of those guy questions and see how well SHE does. It may turn into a competition, but hey, at least us guys will get a fair shake.
Wednesday, March 30, 2011
Once I got engaged, I thought I wouldn’t have to date anymore, but that’s pretty much what my experience was this past Sunday at the OU’s Emerging Communities Fair in The Grand Hyatt. For those unfamiliar, the OU sponsors an annual event wherein small, developing Jewish communities and Elizabeth, NJ convene in Manhattan to tell you what their community is about. The idea being that they can attract as many people as possible to help build up their community.
It was not too long before Erachet and I realized that like dating, many of the prospects began sounding the same. Every boasted of the accepting, close-knit community; “Laid back,” “friendly” and “warm” were terms I was used to reading on shidduch resumes, and I was now reading them on pamphlets about towns.
Also, I need to ask what is with the fascination with Jews and food? Should I really care about a kosher pizza store? Is that really the best way to win over a perspective community member? It’s nice icing on the cake, but I wouldn’t lead with that argument. Ability to attain kosher food (like meat and cheese) is important, but I am not making my decision of where to live based on the ability to easily grab a burger on the way home from Shul.
Don’t get me wrong, there were a number of communities that stood out (which I won’t mention right here), but for the most part they sounded the same. There were many places that were really pushing the fact that they had a low cost of housing, but was kind of offset by the lack of jobs available.
In the end, we figured out that just like dating, we weren’t getting enough of an idea about each community by just having someone talk about it, and reading a few brochures; we need to date each community for a while to see which one (if any) we like enough to take the next step. And the best part is we can date more than one simultaneously.
Tuesday, March 8, 2011
Jewish music has started to bug me a little bit. It’s not that I don’t like it. In fact, I am a huge fan of most singers and groups. But I gotta ask – what is up with the English songs? Jewish English songs have gotten so cheesy of late. They are all generic praising G-d songs, with bad lyrics and forced rhymes.
A particular thought that came to mind on this subject is that Jewish Singers don’t come out with songs that have nothing to do with Judaism. I’m not talking about love songs. I am talking about songs that have may have some sort of significance to many people, but aren’t about something intrinsically Jewish.
It’s true that there are Journeys songs like “What you’re Looking for,” “The Cat Ate the Canary” and “The Shadchan,” to which many people can either relate or at least understand. However, these songs are not going to be written by a non-Jewish singer.
“What You’re Looking For” has a lot of the same elements as Bon Jovi’s “Who Says you Can’t Go Home,” but it is clear throughout the song that the person is looking for religious meaning in his or her life, whereas the Bon Jovi song is simply talking about someone lost.
“The Cat Ate the Canary” is clearly a political song, but it is not about anything that is not related to Judaism. A song like that would have to be about some political Israel or Jewish topic in order to appear on an orthodox Jewish album.
“The Shadchan” is a story about the difficulty of finding love. Easy enough. But once you start mentioning a sefer on the dashboard or a hat and jacket or, oh yeah, a shadchan, it is automatically a Jewish song.
Even a song like “Be Brave, Be Strong” is only a song about Israel. A Jewish CD would not have a “We are the World” for a random other Nation. I am not saying that they should, just that they don’t.
But here’s my question: why don’t Jewish Singers have songs that aren’t about Judaism, but aren’t necessarily against Judaism? Something completely neutral would be interesting; maybe something like the struggles of growing up.
Now I posed this question to Erachet, and she offered that the reason is because of theme. Almost always, a band will put out a CD wherein all or many of the tracks will be of the same genre. In fact, many times a CD will have a running theme throughout the whole album. (An example of this is Shalsheles 2, which is all about the theme of peace.) Taking this into account, if most of an album is about Judaism, then having one track devoted to something else would ruin the theme.
This is okay in principle, but one could argue a few things on this. Firstly, if it's on an album with mostly Jewish-oriented songs, a neutral song may be looked at as a Jewish song (simply because of the artist and the songs surrounding it would be Jewish). Secondly, "Judaism" is a broad theme. It can encompass things that aren't explicitly written with Hebrew words and the mention of G-d and Jerusalem. A song that is not about an exact topic related to Judaism can still be about Judaism.
That doesn't mean that I want more of those love songs disguised as loving G-d or Jerusalem. That's not what I'm talking about. I merely want a song written by (or for) a Jewish singer that can stand by itself. It would just make words a lot less cheesy and forced.
It's not like there aren't any of these types of songs out there. In fact, I am adding a list of secular songs that would fall under the category of audience-appropriate songs (as judged by Jughead's Hat) that have nothing to do with religion. The list takes into account certain exceptions to what qualifies. Any songs that contain inappropriate content or do not apply to the types of productions made by Jewish artists will not qualify for this list. These exceptions include:
Songs that are about something else but mention or hint to love or romance (Sweet Child O’ Mine)
Parodies (Eat It)16 Tons by Tennessee Ernie Ford (Rockapella Version)
Baker Street by Gerry Rafferty
Beautiful Day by U2
Bohemian Rhapsody by Queen
Celebration by Kool and the Gang
Dream On by Aerosmith
For What it's Worth by Buffalo Springfield
Have a Nice Day by Bon Jovi
How to Save a Life by The Fray
It’s My Life by Bon Jovi
Knockin’ on Heaven’s Door by Bob Dylan
Like a Rock by Bob Seger
Man in the Mirror by Michael Jackson
New York, New York by Frank Sinatra
The Final Countdown by Europe
Watching You by Rodney Atkins
We are the Champions by Queen
We are the World by Michael Jackson
Who Says You Can’t Go Home by Bon Jovi
With a Little Help from My Friends by Joe Cocker
Now, I am sure that writing a song like this cannot be an easy thing to do, otherwise there would probably be more. What are your favorites that didn't make my list? Remember, there are rules as to what qualifies. Also, am I missing any Jewish songs that would fit this category? And finally, am I wrong? Should Jewish singers keep their nose out of the
Monday, February 28, 2011
There is something that I have been having trouble understanding about the whole wedding process since I have been engaged.
In the circles in which I travel, I come across three different types of daters – those who strictly get set up, those who strictly try to find someone on their own, and those who do both. (I don’t really know any arranged marriage people.)
The funny thing is that nobody cares how another person goes about dating. No “find-her-on-my-own” guy will tell me that a shidduch dater is insane for choosing that direction, and no shidduch dater will tell me that the searcher is obviously wrong. Fine.
Then why is it the exact opposite when it comes to length? In this case, there are two sets of two categories. Length of dating (short and long) and length of engagement (short and long).
If a couple decides to date for a three-week period and get married a month and a half later, the response from the longer daters and engagement period people is “how could they do that?!” “How do they even know each other!?”
Meanwhile, if a couple has a year-long dating period and then an 8 month engagement period, you are left with the faster daters complaining “what’s taking so long?” This eventually leads to “it’s about time!”
Why is that? Why is it that for all other parts of dating (what to wear, where to go, etc.) people don’t have tremendous opinion, but when it comes to length, all-of-a-sudden, everyone is an expert?
Additionally, why do people feel the need to remind those involved of how difficult it is?
“Oh, you have a long engagement? That’s too bad. I had a three month engagement and it was two and a half months too long.”
“Oh, you have a short engagement? That’s rough. You’re probably going crazy trying to put everything together in time.”
The engaged couple knows. They are experiencing it. The people involved don’t need you to remind them how stressful being engaged is. Just like the people who are dating don’t need you to remind them how stressful dating can be. You wouldn’t walk over to a guy who has been dating for several years and is really having a tough time finding a spouse, and then tell him how short your experience was, and how you dated one girl for three months and it was two and a half months too long. Why do that now?
I have been lucky enough to have a relatively stress-free engagement period. Sure there are moments, but it wouldn't be nearly as bad if people wouldn't constantly be telling me how difficult it's supposed to be.
Wednesday, February 9, 2011
Those who know me know that I am a commercial nut. I love talking about them, analyzing them and ripping on them. So it should come as no surprise that the Superbowl is quite a day for me. It’s a day dedicated to the advertising industry. And the NFL. If the Giants aren’t in it, I am firmly planted to my seat during the ads and getting food and using the bathroom during the game. So it came as a huge blow that I had a wedding this past Sunday Night, and unable to watch much of the game and my beloved commercials.
Finally, last night I had the opportunity to sit down and see the 30-second works of art. I saw all of the highly-rated commercials, like the Darth Vader Kid and the Doritos Dog; the ones that everyone at work was talking about the next day. But I have to tell you, my hands-down winner of the evening was Motorola with their slap in the face to Apple with this ad:
For those of you who don’t know why this is a major slap in the face, let me lay it out there for you.
Firstly, for years, Apple has been trying to play the underdog card against Microsoft. It’s always been a bit whiny to me (kinda like the Red Sox whining about being unable to spend like the Yankees). Motorola now points out how EVERYONE uses Apple products (Mac, iPod, iPad, iPhone, etc.) and they are now what they claimed to be fighting all these years.
However, the more amazing part of this dig on Apple is the resemblance this commercial has to Apple’s own 1984 (no coincidence) commercial, which after the Mean Joe Green Coca Cola spot, may be the most famous Superbowl commercial of all time:
So while Verizon used the iPhone to rip AT&T, Motorola had the hands down best spin on a product this year. Apple has become the company that they have always vowed to hate. It is time we rise up against the evil empire that is Apple and make the switch back over to everything PC. For now, I am the only one who owns a Zune.
Every year people go away from the Superbowl thinking that the previous year had better commercials. I distinctly remember thinking the opposite of that last year. This year it is true. Looking forward to better ones next year.
Jughead’s Hat’s Top 10 Superbowl Commercials (2011)
6) Verizon iPhone
2) Volkswagen - The Force
1) Motorola - Empower the People
Tuesday, February 1, 2011
Monday, January 31, 2011
In today’s crossword, one of the answers was “cicadas” (the insect that makes that long, weird noise in the summer). I never knew that this was the name of the insect. I always heard Mr. Jones say it, but just figured that it ended in an ‘r.’ Only because he had a thick Long Island accent, he left it off at the end (like going to get a haircut from the “baubuh” – don’t even get me started on the word ‘drawer’). Anyway, I finally figured it out and it helped me to solve the rest of the puzzle.
This occurrence reminded me of another story that happened to Mrs. Jones when she was just starting to drive. Because she grew up in a family of European immigrants, the letter ‘w’ was non-existent; in its place was a ‘v’ (“Vhere is my vallet?”). It happened one day that my mother was lost while driving, so she found a police officer to give her directions.
“How do I get to the Van Vycke,” she asked.
She soon found out that aside from people who did not grow up with a ‘w,’ it was not pronounced that way.
On a different, but related note, it’s often that way with people who think a word is pronounced based on its spelling. Erachet recently told me about someone she met that thought that the word “intrigue” was pronounced “intrigyoo” for much of her adult life (and she had a PhD!). I also know someone who mispronounced the word “paradigm.” In both cases the person knew internally that the words (pronounced correctly) existed, but never thought they saw it written, and probably would have gone through life thinking that a word was supposed to be pronounced one way if nobody would have corrected them.
So all of these stories got me thinking – are there any words that I think are supposed to be pronounced one way that I am actually pronouncing incorrectly? I would have no idea. But I guess the best way to find out is by asking others.So here is the question I am posing to you, my 4 readers: Are there any words that you thought were pronounced one way that you found out later are actually supposed to be said differently? Words like “often” and “forest” don’t count; those are pronounced differently by different people and have multiple correct ways of pronunciation. Let me know what words you have. Either others will have a common experience, be enlightened because they were making that very mistake or make fun of you because it was the most ridiculous verbal mistake ever.
Wednesday, January 26, 2011
It's kinda been on my mind of late.
It seems I don't have the time to do what I want anymore.
I used to be able to do things that I wanted. I guess I used to be in college where I had time to do things. What things? Well, I didn't realize what I could no longer do until some of my friends started doing things they wanted that I have no hope of doing in the foreseeable future. When will I be able to go to Israel? I'm no longer on a school-year schedule. I don't have a five week winter break. I don't have a summer vacation of two months.
Oh yeah. I am done with camp. While my brothers are already planning their summer vacation, I am having it just now hit me that I am not going back. I am working now.
This whole thing became most apparent when a friend of mine told me that he has a date set for the middle of the week at 4:00 pm. Do you know what I do at that time? The same thing most people do. Work. Who has a free minute at 4 in the afternoon?
But it's not just the big things. It's the things that shouldn't have to have time be made for. Things like a haircut need to be planned weeks in advance because that's the next time I have available to see the barber I like. I have tried other barbers lately and they were "meh" at best.
Here's the issue: I go to work every morning at 8:00. I have to get up at 7:00 for a minyan, earlier if I want to shower, shave, etc. Bottom line - I am unable to do anything until 7:00pm when I get home. I would like to learn and exercise* at least twice a week for at least an hour at a time, and oh yeah, eat every once in a while. By the time I collapse in my bed at night, I am exhausted and can't even imagine getting up in a few short hours. But I do. Just so I can do the whole thing over again.
By the way, did you happen to see what I left out of this whole equation? Erachet. That's right. Between my crazy schedule and her inhumane schedule, we see each other much less frequently than we used to. I got really jealous of my afternoon-dater friend when he told me that he doesn't want to postpone the date because the next time won't be until two days later.
Now I don't expect you to feel sorry for me. I don't even feel that sorry for me. It's tough; I know. Everyone has their things they need to deal with. Everyone has difficult schedules to balance. Actually, I am pretty certain that mine is about the norm. But it's new for me, and until I get used to it, I'll deal.
But here's the point. I can't be the same guy I used to be. I can't come out to grab a shawarma at 10:45 at night anymore. I can't hang out as much as I used to on the weekends now. Most of that time is being spent with someone else. I simply ask that as a courtesy to me, the next time you see me, don't greet me with the phrase "it's about time." You have no idea.
*No wonder people are fat. Who has time to be thin? Between working, learning, and spending time with people, who has time to eat anything that takes less time to make than opening a box of cookies?
Thursday, January 20, 2011
It is well documented that the greatest feeling one can have while eating is the cold sensation one experiences when having a drink following a long period of time of not drinking. It will often happen that I will take a drink in hopes that the feeling will come, but more often than not, it never happens. However, thanks to my not drinking coffee like the rest of the working world, yet still wanting to be there for “cooler-talk,” I have discovered a drink that works 60% of the time every time.
That gloriously refreshing beverage that we all pour over our cereal in the morning is also the purveyor of that oh-so-refreshing feel.
So why am I telling you this? Well, aside from it allowing you to have that feeling whenever you so choose, I needed to write about something that I could ramble on about. This is because I am trying to teach myself how to touch-type.
“WHAT,” you yell out as you choke over your newly-poured glass-o-milk. “You can’t type?! How do you live?!”
I get by. But no more! As of today, no longer will I hunt-and-press. No more copy-and-pasting two-word phrases because it takes less time. From here on in, I will look at the screen as I type! I don’t care how long it takes to write a blog post!
Now, I need something to drink. Who’s got a beer?
Monday, January 10, 2011
They got stuck. In the limo. Two blocks from the hall.
Okay, a few things you should know:
1) The hall was closed so they couldn't just walk back.
2) The limo had no divider so they pretty much stuck with William the entire night.
3) They ran out of gas at 5:30 in the morning, which meant that they also ran out of heat.
Okay, back to the story. Remember Mr. and Mrs. Jones? Well, they had pretty much given up on getting themselves out of the snow, so they tried to focus on others, namely Jelly and Mr. Bean. The Joneses sprang into action. They called CBS News and told them of the plight of their daughter. At 2:30 AM, Mr. Bean gets a call from CBS telling them that they were on their way. They were going to get them out of the cold and into a nice hotel!
"We're saved," thought the newly-weds. No dice. CBS's van got stuck.
Fast forward through a night of shivering and little privacy.
7:30 AM - They get out. Someone had told Mrs. Jones of a Bed and Breakfast in the area. So that's where they went. Except it wasn't really a B&B. It was someone's house where they converted some rooms and served Breakfast. The thing was THEY WERE OUT OF ROOMS! So they did the next logical thing - gave the Beans their room! That's right. They used someone else's bed. And not like a hotel. Someone's bed. Good times.
Well, the first night of shev'ah b'rachos were canceled, and we all heard the story at the Tuesday Night shev'ah b'rachos. Everyone is now fine, but are also legends.
Tuesday, January 4, 2011
Let me preface this by saying that I got to the hall as the snow began. This was at a time when there was actual parking available without having to use the valet (I hate valets - I never use them). Additionally, Mr. Jones had run to the Home Depot the morning before the wedding to purchase a shovel for every car - smart man. The only foresight I had was to pack an extra change of clothing (this will come into play later as well). So, when I arrived at my car at the end of the wedding, it only took about 15 minutes to dig it out.
So, when I said that I had a car, what I really meant was that I had a minivan. Why is this important? Well, when you have room for seven in a snowstorm, you fit as many as need to be fit. I got six. This included myself and Erachet, Hotdog, Hamburger, and my grandparents (who have yet to be given a name - suggestions?).
Now in what should normally be a half hour - 45 minute drive, I have to say was moving quite well for the first 10 minutes. I mean, it was snowing heavily outside. So taking that into consideration, I thought things were moving quite well. This, of course, excludes the fact that my grandfather is a retired New York cab driver, who obviously knows the roads better than anyone else in the car. So once I informed him that I was quite familiar with the highway system of New York, he let me drive in peace. (If you believe that, I have a bridge to sell you, but you'll have to ask my grandfather directions of how to get there. Eventually, he let up.)
Park. That's the position I left my car in while the city of New York shut down the BQE (also known as the Road Where Hopes and Dreams Go to Die - my rant against the BQE will be given on another occasion). So there we are, the six of us stranded in a van with my grandfather swearing under his breath, my brothers bickering in the back seat and my grandmother needing to use the bathroom. Not a bad first experience for Erachet with my grandparents.*
Additionally, I had to get out of the car every so often to clean off the windshield wipers which had snow freezing to them, making it very difficult for them to wipe anything at all. On one such occasion, I hear a honk from a car next to me. The car rolls down the window, and to my surprise, it is Mr. Bean's family from out of town. They were stuck in the same mess we were. Party on the freeway!
So now, let's get to what happens in the end. I will skip over what we did to pass the time, including having the whole car doing the YMCA. Finally at 1:00 AM, they reopened the BQE (we left the hall at 7:15). The first stop was at my grandparents' hotel. Actually, this ended up being our only stop. We had quite an ordeal getting there, seeing as I had never been there, nor could I see any street signs, nor was the GPS being all too helpful, nor were the buses that had gotten stuck in the snow being any helpful. We can combine this with my grandmother needing to use the facilities which let me tell you, is not easy for concentrating, and we end up lost multiple times all within three blocks of the hotel.
We finally get to the hotel where we need to stay because there is apparently nowhere on my block to park, nor is there anywhere in the city to park because Mayor "Third Term" Bloomberg decided not to plow anything. I wouldn't have even been able to get down my block. So we stayed in the hotel. Good thing I had brough that extra change of cloths.
Problem. There were no more rooms. All we had was the room that my grandparents had rented and the room that my aunt, uncle and cousin had rented. However, if you add our additional four people to the mix, sleeping arrangements become awkward. We divided the two rooms into boys and girls. There were only three girls, so splitting the two beds was not that big of a deal. Splitting two beds between six guys, though, is a little tougher. I got the floor. By the window. During a snowstorm. Without a blanket. Could be worse (that's for another post).
The next morning, Erachet, Hotdog, Hamburger and I decided that it was time to leave. After a group photo and a really bad breakfast of soggy muffins, we were on our way. Sort of. We had parked the previous night in an underground garage. Good news- we didn't have to dig ourselves out. Bad news- the road leading out of the garage was ice. And me without my four-wheel-drive. After several attempts at escape, and me getting out to try to pick at the ice with my shovel (thanks, Mr. Jones), my van allowed me to coerce it into getting over the icy hill, and off we were to my home.
I never made it. There had still been no plows down my block, and certainly no parking spots. We decided to drop my brothers off down the block; they went to the house and sent back a change of clothes and my tephilin with...my father! Why? Because, if you remember correctly, Mr. and Mrs. Jones had driven their car into a snow bank. So we went to find their car on the side a=of another highway and dug it out.
Following that, I drove Erachet back to home and I decided to stay in her neck of the woods for the night - mostly because I had a place to park. The next day (Tuesday for those keeping track), I went to work, and following work, I went to one of the Shev'ah B'rachos. I still had yet to be home. Following the Shev'ah B'rachos, I drove Erachet back home with Jelly bean's car, because I my van was still by Erachet's house. Finally, I made it back home Wednesday morning at about 12:30. Luckily, Wednesday Night's Shev'ah B'rachos were in Erachet's town, so we were able to pick up my van. It took until tonight to fully recover from that wedding, ut I think I am good now. Bring on the next storm. Oh, and there are still more stories.
*The number one concern of anyone who knew we were stuck was for Erachet having to be stuck with my grandparents for hours with absolutely no escape. But by and large, my grandparents were not very difficult to be with.