Wednesday, August 22, 2012

"Honey, uh, did you get my gas mask?"

And his response: "Of course."
Add that to the list of conversations I didn't anticipate having with my husband.

As you can guess, we got gas masks. If you've been out of the loop and missed the news over the past months, Iran is getting more and more dangerous and unpredictable and this area of the world is getting more unstable. Rocket attacks are increasing again, and the Homefront Command (Pikud HaOref) is stepping up gas mask distribution. Just in case.

Back to Adventures of Lauren as She Goes to Get Her Gas Mask Kit.

The way it works: The post office is responsible for distributing the kits. The goal is to get them to as many people as possible, in the most efficient way. Therefore the post office has set up distribution locations around the country to encourage people to get their new (or first time) gas masks. If someone received a mask previously and had not returned it yet or did not have it to return, then he/she has to pay a 100 shekel fine in order to receive a new one. Eli and his parents and siblings had kits from before; his mom found all of them, so no fines :). I, on the other hand, never had one so I didn't have any to return.

Eli and I went with his mother, the old masks, and identification cards [teudot zehut] for the whole family (yay! *insert sarcasm HERE*) to the distribution center for our area and picked up our shiny new "protective kits" (aka, cardboard boxes with a rubber strap). For the uninitiated, gas masks come in different sizes-- small, medium, and large-- which were all conveniently on display. There was also a video running, showing how to put the masks on. Masks also come in baby kit. Baby kit is a little more complicated than the others, however babies can use bottles and pacifiers.

So Eli, his mom, and I went to the distribution center in a mall about a half hour away, and there were lots of people. They did it based on number (get there, take a number, wait/go off and do something until the 200-or-so numbers before yours are called...). We got 791. BUT (and here's a happy part) many people took two/found random earlier numbers, so someone gave us a number that was 120 numbers before ours-- and they were up to about 620. So we went from 791 to 671 in two seconds. We waited, we waited, then the security guard/person keeping order called our number (insert me meeting someone from my high school in between) and we went to get our shiny new kits! There was also a camera crew from somewhere filming this and this woman kept going, "Don't record me. I don't want my face on camera." And then as she was leaving she told the woman in charge, "I don't allow you to record me; I don't give you permission; Erase what you recorded." And it was amusing, because she was practically yelling at them.

Back to us. Eli's mom first gave in the old masks and the post office worker scanned them in (bar codes-- cool!) and gave Eli's mom new masks for everyone, plus her grandson (because he was listed on his mother's teudat zehut [identity card] and Eli's mom had it. And Eli got mine. Basically, if you're listed on a teudat zehut that someone brought to the distribution center, you could get one (even if you were not physically there). Eli, his mom, and I left with a bunch of labeled boxes in various sizes. Special.

Lest you think Israeli kids would have the patience to wait in line for more than a minute, fear not-- you are not wrong. There was an activity/coloring area for small children.

Adventures in the life of an olah...

Thursday, August 16, 2012

The Hess truck's back, and it's better than ever. For Christmas this year, the Hess truck's here!

Ok, Hess doesn't exist in his country, and it's not Christmas. But I brought enough stuff back from America that it could very well be.

I'm back. Barely slept on the plane, so when Rita picked me up I came back and took a nap for a few hours. Showered. Ate. Now just trying to sort out a MagicJack issue and waiting for Eli to get back.