There are no exploding toilets in this post. I was going to call this one "Light Blogging" but for some reason that brought to mind "Light Rock--always on at work!" and I fell asleep three times while I typed the title in.
So yeah, blogging's been a little light lately, not because I have nothing to say (when has that ever stopped me) but because I've been very busy at work and at home and preparing for various musical adventures and most especially Curly's upcoming Bar Mitzvah this week.
This is my fourth Bar Mitzvah (including my own) so I don't stress over them anymore. It's really quite nice that I live in a community that pish-poshes extravagant parties and keeps the shenanigans to a minimum. So we're just doing a kiddush in the shul and some meals for the out of town guests and family (just because we can't fit them all in my dining room).
I actually much prefer this to the "royal wedding" approach that seems to be en vogue on the East Coast (my Bar Mitzvah "reception" was at Great Neck Synagogue and we had a disco orchestra and a shmorg with veal scallopini [mmm.....veal scallopini....] and a candle lighting ceremony and I danced the Hustle with my sister while I wore a white three-piece tuxedo that would have made John Travolta jealous, and if you're very good one day I will scan in a picture).
To me, the main purpose of the Bar Mitzvah is to get the kid ready to participate in Jewish services as an adult. So over the past year I've worked with him on finding a teacher for layning, then listening and being unbelievably critical of his performance, buying tfillin and a black hat, working on the speech, etc.
There are those around here who are not only into pish-poshing the affair, they are now preparing to pish-posh the layning too. They say that not everyone is cut out to layn and it puts an unfair pressure on the kid, particularly the one who is not ready to be embarrassed in front of the whole congregation and especially his grandmother and why don't we make it optional or have him layn but not on his Bar Mitzvah and blah blah blah. I could make a whole post out of that, but let me just say I think it's a bunch of feel-good hooey. I think in general we are short-changing our kids and giving in to the popular sentiment of "if it's hard then it's not worth doing." Yeah, some kids SHOULDN'T layn. There's no shame in that. But for the ones who can, they SHOULD. Kids need to be pushed to perform. Otherwise they'll just sit around all day and play videogames. Wait...
Anyway, all I can say is that Curly has had his challenges with regards to this (not the least of which is this mondo dental appliance which his orthodotist has cemented into his mouth) and has had to work harder than his brothers just to be intelligible. But you know what? He has risen wonderfully to the occasion, and I challenge him or anyone else to tell me that he hasn't grown by leaps and bounds from this experience. He's been able to learn and memorize the ENTIRE parsha, the Haftora, and he wrote his own speech which, as of right now, he can deliver with barely a glance at the notes. If that's not an accomplishment to be proud of, I don't know what is. Of course it remains to be seen if anyone will be able to understand a single word he says, but who cares, they'll all be asleep by then anyway.
The other big issue with the BM as we like to call it is that my family is coming in from NY, and Mrs. B's from Toronto and Miami. Most notably my Mother is coming. This means that the house has to be ABSOLUTELY SPOTLESS. My daughter Fudge tells me to relax, my Mom will love me anyway, but she is WRONG WRONG WRONG!!
Trust me Fudge, you may have gotten a mega dose of Grandma Rose recently, and I'll admit you have captured her essence nicely, but I lived with her for 20 years. That woman can spot a piece of lint at 20 yards. She's Polish, for cryin out loud! Those people can see things that are invisible to mere American mortals!
So the plan right now is to get a cleaning lady in (we have a cleaning lady?) and clean the place up real good on Thursday. Then my plan is to lock the doors and wrap the whole house up with Celophane until my Mom shows up. That way it'll be like, y'know, sanitized for her protection.
And it is key to keep the kids out of the house. Because, love them as I do, they are all slobs, evey last one of them. And The PT is the worst. She walks through the door, and there's crap all over the place inside of 15 seconds. I don't know how she does it. She's like a slug leaving a slime trail behind. Shoes here. Jacket on the floor. Backpack on the couch. Notes on the stairs. Wrappers and crumbs follow her wherever she goes. Shudder.
Anyway, that's what's going on. Wish us luck, er, Mazel Tov. See you on the other side...