Monday, August 31, 2009

To school - forward, march!

Oh, I never knew that my kid's first day at school will be something I don't look forward to. He is all excited. Yep, usually it s the other way around, and yet, this is how it is in my family. And why? tuition. How the hell am I supposed to pay for his education? After vital bills I make next to nothing. Most of the time the food is rationed, I can only take vacation mostly payed by my father in law, like Vermont. But it says in Gemara Shabbos that Shabbos and educational expenses are returned by G-d and some more, so far I the more children I have the less money I make and REALLY stretching the dollar here. You see I had no College education (Rebbe said not to) before I got married, only after. Was making $650 per week, had a car and got married, so with each additional my earnings were steadily decreasing, now I am making $675 per two weeks and consider my self lucky, boy did I learn to stretch that dollar! Actually my wife, cause I'd spend it all. You know she can have her own show on how to manage "no money". The only problem is she is good but gets screamy with me, but that's because she loves me, however if she is shy enough to a stranger ask her on no money management advice.
So my blessings and promises of hassidishkeit are really coming true. In a way I am richer, I can afford slightly more with much less, but now I begin to feel the hit.
Well without college education and no connections to business people in our community, we don't even have parents who can help us even with baby sitting, so when I took on college, besides never having real time to help my wife, she also went to part time job with two babies to babysit someone else's child.
Rethinking my life what has gone wrong, and if anything... Well some people blame us for getting into this mess, but here is the deal: I was learning in ULY back when they had English, finished high school, and yes there was stigma attached to it, how could I, DG sends us all our earnings and Rebbe and Tanya said under no circumstances etc., OK that was my fault. Now I never went to college, although I wanted, but never went. As a bochur, you've being constantly told that family is wonderful, it only makes it easier to manage in life, just like a single person in the middle of the ocean tries to stay afloat, so married is the one that acquired a ship and has a ride on it in the ocean of life. Wonderfull miracle stories about Parnossa, at the last moment, another kid is an opportunity to have more money, stories about having asking for a kid = asking for more money. I remember hating my single life and waiting to get married, because it will resolve all my problems and will just have little ones growing and bringing Nachas to their parents. Tanya forbids anyone to learn any English even go to courses (especially for men) to learn any profession. You should go to Colel, at least for a year, your wife will come out of seminary and work and raise your children, only bums go to study something else, well according to Rebbe a child should not even know how to hold broom in his hands, for anything will lead him off the derech. Shlichus is the only purpose of Lubavitch life and no more.
The reality hit me, only after one best day of my life - when I proposed to my future wife, boy it fell so good! The moment we came to keren for helping bride and groom, it was quiet depressing to know horrendous cost of getting married, oh yeah and since Pesach was within 2 month - I without money got to get apartment and Chassanah in less then four weeks!!! (I know someone whose parents with money decided that the earliest their son can get married is on LAG B'OMER, though he was engaged two weeks earlier, since I was helped, I had to manage my fundraising in few weeks!!! You want to know why? Because the stupidity of our neighborhood Yentas interprets the Rebbe's words that somehow it is not Jewish to wait more than two months after engagement. Guess what? A miracle happened, I went through that with calm and even learned a new skill - if things get too stressful, just block the stress out as if nothing happened, ignore as much of it as you can and things will turn out to be OK.
But that was just the beginning - after swimming in ocean all by my self now imagine that , now that is what marriage does to you - you try to stay afloat alone and someone dumps five other cute and lovely people on top of you, and the only reason why you don't want to drown, is because you Love them so much, otherwise I would have drowned long ago (I don't care about my self, only my fmily). Since my wife finished seminary for Frum girls, to find the job that she was doing for Shliach for free i.e. working for cheap or next to nothing for the sake of shlichus in kindergarden, she found out that without Goyishe college diploma she will never get paid a real deal of money, hey that's her fault! Disgusting, and she actually took the hassidishe yentas seriously! How dare she, So she went mostly babysitting, but since Colel check is only enough is only good enough for snacks and kiddy allowences, I had to work at group home, my pay was raised twice, but since that group home likes to revamp its' staff after couple of pay raises, so I was revamped too As one of the caseworkers told me they have no problem substituting the staff because there is huge spool of Frum people on the waiting list. Right before holidays, when my wife was pregnant, I found another group home (what else am I to do, most of the good paying jobs are with a degree), I must tell you it is a blessing to be in Crown Heights - you can take most of the physically demanding jobs sometimes could be given to Jew.
I remember once because the only Shomer Shabbos Simchah halls in Borough Park rejected me from being a waiter or dishwasher because (even before I was married) ... how would it look like if Yeshiva bochur will be seen by the visitors doing a work for shvartza! Oh really! My beard and yarmalka are no good for Borogh Park, I should have taken it off. CH is the only place that I've seen many employees from yeshiva world and they have beards!
The only problem that even Jewish employees are not making enough most of the time, unless hey still bochurim paying for one room and not the apartment.
When I went to apply for my job with my degree in Rabbinical Copllege, to schools I was promptly rejected (that was also before I was married), except Williamsburg and CH due to absense of Goyishe College education. I also went to computer courses, but the timing was bad, yeah that was a waste of my time and money - believe me when I say that, it was right before 2001 and my job search went down hill from there, I did not have enough experience, it was a bad time to start a career from scratch they would let me volunteer or intern if I had a college degree. By the way this was the only Goyishe education that I've got, before married, as I was told that G-d does not give me parnossa because I am not married yet, another problem was my sleepless nights from extreme case of ulcer, I suffered from it for more than 5 years sometimes rolling in pain at night, or throwing up from gastritis, but that's a whole another story, I was finally operated, medicated and taken care of most of it, so I feel better. I went back to teaching to probably the only Yeshiva in CH that Teaches Goyishe subjects, because though my college days only began after marriage I had a passion for certain Goyishe subject that I read tones of college literature about, mostly in bedroom or bathroom, I was surprised that when I went to college, I found my lectures more sophisticated and insightful than most of the introductory courses to that subject. Yes I can proudly say that my bathroom and the lack of knowledge of how high or low college lectures went, I found out that my students had higher level of information and my lesson plans were more advanced than some of those lectures!
Well when my students ask me how I learned so much about that subject I don't tell. Hey, miracles do happen, right?
I took two subjects seriously - but lectures from nursing went so complicated, that I wish I'd only had enough time to study, I had to leave due to my wife's complications of pregnancy, well she could not move with one and doctors began to scare us with our fourth one! You think it was hard for me? we have four kids in five years and she did not sleep at night with older three, take one, then two kids and schlep them from one end of CH to another, than go to job, pay for play group, and since we don't have a car, imagine if it rains, or snows, or hot, etc. And she has complicated pregnancy with fourth one, then not sleeping with a fourth one as well. Where was I? In college, then part time in yeshiva, then I was lucky to find my next group home as overnight.
But miracles happen, right? I lasted as long as I lasted, until I withdrew from one of the clinical courses because it was unbearable. When reenlisted, I was put on waiting list under number 200? something, and if out of 900 students with 150 seats available for nursing would ever be empty, so may be they will let me in (LOL!). My life as a nightmare four nearly two years and to what purpose? I could not even attend to my doctor, my ulcer went nuts again and this is what I get in return? Nothing?
Anyways, since I had all four children, our supreme Provider Blessed be he, got me lesser paycheck, because, while I was already working on different (useless lib arts LOL) degree I had to look for my final group home part time! But miracles do happen, right?
At least I can come back to Yeshiva where I teach Goyishe subject, and work 3-4 knights a week all for that little money, with only one exception - tuition first for the oldest boy $7000 a year, then $14,000 for two oldest, and finally seven times four is ... $28,000 out of my $28,000 income per year ... lets see ... miracles do happen ... right? Can my wife manage manage life for free? Hey, honey I can even let you scream about it every single day!

Tuesday, August 25, 2009

Vacation, lets talk about it.

Well I only had enough time for writing a short thought on my vacation. I happened to either lose, move away from my media or have it broken while going there (Vermont). There was a TV box there but it was primarily occupied by my wife and growing babies the whole time that we stayed inside the complex. As Altie commented last time, she had a similar experience of self detoxification from computer and text messaging and discovering, she actually had fun. By the way I can say the same thing. Now what did I do and how was it?
This lack of media was not really planned, but how good it feel that your wife can not nag you to call here and to inform there; all I could think about is whats the next activity, truly rested from civilization. After Shabbos at 9:30 we started going at four on the dot we were there, as a matter of fact as soon as I put my kids asleep the skies began to light.
OK, now for the heart of the vacation.
First things first and we now go to the farmer's market to buy some vegetables, some are expensive, but taste like nothing in supermarkets, you know perfect looking chemically grown taste like nothing kind, these came in all shapes and sizes and had a better taste, so forget about making salads, we ate these veggies just as they were, we also brought some fish and meat with us, so we grilled something every day, even our some of vegetables. Imagine making fire every evening!
As a side thought, it probably makes sense to put my vacation impressions into more than one post. Anyways whats the next time I'm going to have a vacation? So lets blab about it for few days, then we can start with whats coming here (CH) on Tishrei.
So back to my foods.
Imagine corn so sweet that you don't need any margarine to enhance its taste, or tomatoes that you don't want to use them in the salad... I am not exaggerating one bit.
And also we went to... Supermarket there too; look may be it is not the best choice for your veggies but it is useful for drinks and whatever else farmer's market is missing. A fair question comes - is it only in my head that farmer's market in Vermont better, since a person can be more excited about eating or doing something different? My little ones ate more veggies than in New York and they not old enough to be pre - judgmental yet on this issue. For one thing I can tell you why we hate eating vegetables is they may look more perfect in this supermarkets but they taste like nothing and so we tend to discard them and just have something roasted instead, for how can any body spoil a roasted burger? And I don't blame them. Now have something grilled for dinner.
You know some people are funny, I helped couple of families from Borough park to move, and they took the whole freezer in the van's trailer! well I understand a meat needs packing, but frozen fruit and vegetables? you can get them in Catskills in fresher condition right near your colony and you packing that?! Yes, two month worth of that, because she needs to serve the same food desert that she does in New York. And just for your amusement, they packed artificial flowers and vases and decorative plates,so it has to feel like Borough park there. I just realized that I am comparing my vacation with what not to do cases. So nothing was apparently broken in both cases. And on second occasion the guy was impressed that an Ex-Yeshiva student loaded/unloaded his trailer and van relatively fast and few breaks, but just think about it...
And all that not counting his boxes full of books, bicycles, more than half of the wardrobe, utensils etc, etc.
We just packed whatever minimum we could, I took few Siddurim, Ayn Yaakov, teffillin, few changes of cloth for each and was still too much because we always have to carry our little kids on us.
Something about Borough park. The only farmer's market to sell raw sunflower seeds, while still attached to flower is located, surprisingly near Bobover Yeshiva for girls around 53rd street. I bought it from there couple of times, and if you like the oily taste of sunflower seeds and the fun of separating them from the actual flower you can go there before Yeshiva opens up from 5:30am to 8:30am.
What do I regret? The lack of camera! Yes it is unfortunate that I cannot print anything about my trip or view from 4393 feet high mountain peak that me and my wife climbed, while carrying two my little ones in backpack (me), or in front pack (her).
It looks like my post is getting long, I think I'll finish it tomorrow, but what kind of vacation did anybody else have, or see someone else having? What were your do's and don'ts?

Monday, August 24, 2009

Get ready for new series: do you know how to take vacation?

Finally here. Yes I was away in Vermont, so this post is also short but not desperate. I had no phone, my camera broke, so I could not take any pictures but my vacation was fabulous! And is it because I had no media outlets with me? Well you see there are several types of people on vacation, and I'll explain it tomorrow. For now it is sleeping time, I'm tired

Thursday, August 6, 2009

Short and desperate post.

Well I had a rough week and only have few minutes to write. I wanted to write so much this week, but nothing ever went as planned, it was probably my worse TU B"AV ever, I tried to go through so many places and do so many things, even woke up early, Guess what?! from morning to night it was the day gone to hell. But really what hearts me more? Well, I'm still alive just did not get things done the way I planned them, so many I can not write about them this time. So my question here is what is it about heavenly test that most of the time - you'll be alive just not the way you wanted to or planned. Is nisoyon only part of your mind?