Gefilte Fish Out of Water

Sleeping with Petey
May 8, 2010, 12:58 pm
Filed under: Mistakes, Petey, Struggles

As much as I love my dog, I was sticking to my “not allowed in the bed” rule.  I just didn’t want to become the metaphorical “Crazy Cat Lady” – you know, the guy who sleeps with his dog.

[Sidebar: people are really divided on this issue!  When I posted about it on Facebook, there was a strong Of course you let them into the bed! camp and just as emphatic No! They are dirty animals! posters.]

But anyway, I was SO stressed leading up to my concurrent move and job change that I couldn’t take the pressure, and I invited him in.  I have to say, cuddling w/ Pete is pretty wonderful.  Like a live-action teddy bear!  But, you know, he sheds so badly, that after one night, the bed looked like a crackhouse.

Then, of course he began to think the bed was his, too.  So, I’d get up from the computer to get a drink or something, and he’d be nowhere to be found…until I peered into the bedroom and found:

Then, we moved, and I haven’t gotten my loft bed immediately, so he continued sleeping w/ me in the bed in our new place – and lounging on it behind me while I worked (totally sprawled out like that famous Marilyn Monroe centerfold (wish I had a real pic).

[photo courtesy of Robert Roberts]

Anyway, last week I was out at the dog park w/ Petey, Jeremy, Samadar & Merlin (dog), and said to Samaderemy – I really can’t wait until I get my loft bed.  The bed is just so disgusting with dog hair and bits of bone from Petey chomping in there, I can’t stand to sleep in there anymore, it’s disgusting.  Jeremy countered w/ Why wait?  Kick him out tonight.  I felt so guilty though!  I knew Petey wouldn’t understand, and he’d be like Wha- WTF – what’s happening? What’d I do?  Why?  Why ???  And I’m sensitive, and I didn’t him to feel this way and be racking his little dog brain and shiz.  But then Jeremy Yoda said, Are you gonna give him a bath tonight?  I’m like, No, why?  And he’s like, ‘Cause look at him!  [Petey was chasing a few dogs and rolling around w/ them in the dirt in the dog park.]  Look where he is and what he’s  doing – you’re really gonna let that into your bed tonight?  That settled it – NO.  Sorry, sleeping-w/-your-dogs camp, even if I’m 49% with you, I”m 51% OCD/Miss Priss/no way!

So, I kicked him out, and he reacted as I expected he would – not understanding at all.  That first night, even though I’d moved his dog bed next to my bed, I’d keep waking up to discover he had climbed in with me, and I had to yell and throw him out.  Other times, I would turn around from the PC where I was working, or walk back into the room to find him sprawled out on the bed, Marilyn-style.  Pete, no !!

So, this week, I bought him a new dog bed.  This way, his old one can remain in his crate, which I’m locking him in when I leave the apartment (even though he had free reign in the old place; there is just too much stuff on the ground and not packed away here yet; too much for him to eat and destroy), and he has a nice, new, bigger one next to mine for when I’m working or sleeping.  I can lean over and pet him and let him lick my face.  He loves it, and that’s the end of this story.


PETA Arrest Warrant
October 30, 2009, 10:14 pm
Filed under: Mistakes, Petey

elvira gulch

So, on Thursday I had a really bad idea.

My boss was catching a flight out of town and needed me to drop something off before he left for the airport.  But it was also time for Petey’s next walk, and I was afraid if I left him alone in the apartment, he would have an accident.  Plus, my new co-worker was in the office that day.  She reads this blog, adopted her own dog from a shelter, and has asked about Petey.  I was like – fuck it.  I’ll just put Petey in my bike basket and ride over with him in there.  I rationalized, It’s a short ride, I’ve seen people do this before (yeah, with the deep-style baskets in the front, not the shallow kind you have in the back), plus it would be great if Stephanye could meet Petey.  (Famous last words:) It’ll be okay.

So, I put a catalogue in there first (so his feetsies wouldn’t fall through the big mesh – aren’t I super kind?), and plunk him in there and lie through my teeth when I tell him Don’t worry, Petey.  You’ll be OK.  It might seem scary, but just go with it. And we’re off.  And everything’s OK for the first two seconds. My arm is behind me, petting Petey, and I’m talking calmly to him, completely b.s.’ng reassuring him that this is fun and OK and he doesn’t need to worry.  But then we go over one of Tel Aviv’s 50 foot high curb cuts, and the next thing I know, Petey’s outta there – the jolt having scared him so badly, he jumped right outta da basket.


He was OK.  No bruises.  Didn’t yelp.  No broken ribs, or sprained legs.  Didn’t bite my face in retaliation.  Fuck, man – this was such a bad idea.  Because as bad as that just was, I really need to hightail my ass to the office before my boss splits or I’m effed.  Fuck.  Wuddum-eye gonna do? Put Petey back in the basket, of course.  But at least I have the sense to stay off the bike and just push it – keeping one hand on the handlebars to steer, and one hand on Petey to not kill him.  But this is just too damn slow.

Eureka!  Lace up, Petey – you’re goin’ jogging.  I get back on the bike, hold the leash in my right hand around the handlebar, and start riding, albeit slowly.  Petey stays lockstep.  It’s OK.  Sometimes he wants to pull over and whiff some stale dog pee or whatevs scent on the sidewalk, but – sorry, Pete, we got places to go, peeps to meet, and the tug of the bike moving forward keeps him moving, too.

We make it in time.  It’s fine.  We split.  Same strategy home – the Petey-runs-along-side thing.  But, not exactly.  At first, Petey keeps kamazeeing the bike’s front wheel, or worse – trying to run in front of it.  Stoopid, mofo – what r u doing!?! Then, I realize he just likes being next to the wall along the sidewalk, and this wasn’t a problem on the way over, b/c he was.  So, I put him on the other handlebar, and we’re back in business.

Except not quite.  Petey’s putting up more resistance than on the way over.  Little guy was probably tired.  So, he’s trying to dig in and stop us, only I’m not having it, and I keep peddling.  Now, I’m going very slowly, people.  It’s not like I’m Berry, King or Brewer and Petey was James Byrd, Jr., or anything.

Plus, like if I see another dog with owner up ahead, I’m like Fuck! Petey’s totes gonna pull me and the bike on top of him to go sniff that dog.  Or, I’ll see two moms and their kids stopped on the sidewalk gabbing, and I’m like Fuck! They’re totes gonna see me dragging this adorable puppy down the sidewalk and fucking throw rocks at me.

But we make it back home, and everything’s fine.  Thank God.

Later that night, as I was walking Petey, it really hit me hard how lucky I was.  Petey could so easily have been hurt, broken a tiny puppy rib Mmm, ribs… and needed to be hospitalized.  Not saying I almost killed him, but a hospitalization now would’ve sucked big time.  All the training and bonding we’d accomplished would’ve been wiped out if we were separated.  It would’ve just fucked the whole bonding process up spectacularly, and I would’ve been blowing the most fabulous gift & opportunity I’ve been given, which is to be Petey’s one and only Daddy.

I felt an infusion of gratitude and knew I’d been given a second chance.  I won’t fuck this up, God.  I promise to take care of Petey right.


Immigrant Speak
June 5, 2009, 8:52 pm
Filed under: Mistakes, School


“Yesterday, I was to Ashdod.”

We were in class, discussing Israel’s ports.  Dina asked the class to name them, and somone said Ashdod.  Ooh!  I had just been there yesterday, and now that we’ve learned how to use the past tense for the third of seven different categories of verbs, I think I can actually say “was” now.

I scrunched up my brain good, put my hand up, got called on and said (transliterized, b/c I’m not sure of the Hebrew spelling, and it will take me too long to find everything on the keyboard):

“Etmol, hiyiti l’Ashdod.”  Score!  We have also been learning how say possession in Hebrew, which is usually done with the preposition “leh” (meaning “to”; it ends up translating like, “To her, three pencils” = “She has three pencils.”)

Except, I had been working so hard to get the past tense of “to be” right (and I did 🙂 ), that I didn’t even think about saying “in” right (“beh” in Hebrew), so I ended up saying “to” instead.

In summary, I said “Yesterday I was to Ashdod,” when I tried to say, “Yesterday I was in Ashdod.”  The whole reason I did a post about it is because it was a moment where I got what an immigrant I really am.  Like, if I were in a deli in New York, and a Mexican person said “I was to Philadelphia yesterday,” I wouldn’t be smug about it, but I might smile at him endearingly and think Cute.  Immigrant.  “I was to Philadelphia yesterday.”  Then, I’d correct him, “I was IN Philadelphia yesterday.”  You know…how immigrants can be trying so hard to speak correctly, but just make the littlest obvious mistakes that so give them away.

That’s me now.

Dum-de-dum – Look out !!!
May 25, 2009, 9:37 pm
Filed under: Hey!, Mistakes

UntitledTook my first spill on my bike today.  Was riding back from my eye doctor appointment in the ritzy Ramat Aviv neighborhood of Ezurie Chen.  Didnt’ realize I was zoning out, looking at the pretty high-rises.  Alright, actually I was writing a blog post in my head, about back-to-back experiences yesterday and today of old guys hitting on me.  I’m probably exaggerating – neither one was actually hitting on me, just responding to my energy and being really genunine and friendly.  But that’s another post.

Just before the *crash*, my attention pulled back to the wall I was riding next to, and I watched in slow motion as it was too late to stop my left handlebar from coming in contact with it.    T   o   t   a   l      s   l   o   w      m   o   t   i   o   n  ,    as  I like, out-of-body style, observed, “Oh, I’m gonna crash.  I’m going down now.  Brace for impact.”

Took a spill.  Pretty minor.  I mean, it was full blown, but only suffered a minor scrape on my right knee and some grease on my left ankle.  Didn’t mess or tear any clothing.  My instinctive relfex to put my arms out to break my fall kicked in, but I didn’t scrape my palms.  Checked out the bike.  All seemed OK.  Headlight still affixed to handlebars, wheels in alignment, chain still on, gears working, etc.  Felt stoopid, of course, but there were no witnesses.

Anyway, I’ll take it as an effective lesson to remember how important it is to live in the moment and not somewhere else.

Got back on and resumed riding…until something didn’t feel quite right.  Uh-oh, I had a flat.   Pffft.

May 23, 2009, 9:30 pm
Filed under: Identity, Mistakes


At Friday’s AA meeting, the topic was “rationalization.”  I told the story about hammering late at night and my downstairs neighbor going berserk on me, but me rationalizing it to myself that it was only 5 minutes of hammering and I’m so busy w/ work & school that it was the only time I had to build the furniture.

After the meeting someone whose opinion I value suggested I write an apology note to my downstairs neighbor and place it under his door.  So, I did it.  I even wrote “I apologize” in Hebrew on the outside of the note.  (Chime in, anyone, if you know how I download Hebrew fonts on my computer.  It’s time – I couldda typed what I actually wrote.)

24 hours later, though, and it’s still right outside of his door (there wasn’t space to slide it underneath, so I leaned it up against the door).  But I heard people in there tonight.  Hmm – is he that mad that he’s leaving it there?  You know what, I’m not gonna worry about that.  I took the action, and I can let go of the results now.

Um, it was my understanding there was to be no math in this supermarket.
April 28, 2009, 8:31 pm
Filed under: Cultural Differences, Mistakes


Went to the supermarke the other day.  Needed some turkey breast.  I know how to say turkey now.  It’s “hodu.”

So I order two kilograms.  B/c it’s the metric system here, and they won’t know what you’re talking about if you ask for a pound.  The woman asks me “schteim kilogram?” (two kg)?  “Yeah,” I tell her.  “Schteim kg.”  She’s not sure of my answer and gets her colleague, who speaks English.  She asks me in English, and I answer the same, “Yeah, two kilograms.”  She also tells me it’s on sale, so they’ll give me like 3 kg for the price of 2 kg.  “Fine,” I say.

And I watch the first lady slice it up.

And slice, and slice, and slice some more…

…….and wrap that bunch up in paper, then plastic wrap, and then slice some more, and more and more, and slice and slice and more and more…

I give it a little more time, b/c the other lady said I’d be getting extra…but something’s not right.  Finally I have to say, “Ahtzohr, bvakihshah!”  (“stop, please”)  I tell her that’s enough, even though she tries to explain she’s not done  yet.

That’s when I remember a kg is double the amount of a pound.  (A km is less than a mile, but a kg is more than a pound.  Screwy, I know.)  So, I should have asked for 1/2 kg, but I asked for 2  – which is the same as asking for FOUR pounds of turkey breast.  I’m a nice guy, so I wasn’t gonna waste it, so I bought it all.  Like $25 worth.  Fuck!  Turkey for breakfast, turkey for lunch, think I’ll have a snack of turkey, want some?, turkey for dinner….

Stoopid metric system.

April 11, 2009, 10:15 pm
Filed under: Mistakes


Realized today that I lost a removable part of my wallet earlier this week.  Lost my 3 most important cards to have in Israel – my Israeli bank card, my U.S. bank card (works here to take out cash from checking acct in NY) and my health insurance card.  Think I lost it when I was running errand for work earlier in the week and lugging a PC back on a bus.

Called and cancelled U.S. bank card.  They faxed request form for new card, and I faxed back w/ siggy.  (We have eFax number at work.)  They can send new card to my office’s U.S. PO box, and my boss can pick up for me when he’s in the States again next week.  Will go in person to Israeli bank tomorrow and cancel/request new one.  Health insurance card is easy to get new one.  All things considered, not so bad.  Just a hassle.