When I first read Russian novels (in translation, be assured) I was charmed to learn about the summer vacation home concept, the dascha. It seemed much more informal and less pretentious than "country home" or even "vacation cottage." Anyhow, I never really owned a dascha, but I am currently the custodian (for nine days) of a house, two girls age 9 and 14, one house cat, five yard kittens, and a car, in the beautiful town of Zichron Ya'akov. The father, who has custody of the girls (their mother lives abroad), was invited to be the keynote speaker at a professional conference in New York. It's the first chance he's had to leave Israel since his marriage began to disintegrate a few years ago, and I'm his closest (geographically) relative, so here I am, in soccer mom-land.
1. The girls are old enough to know how to use cellphones, so I don't have to worry too much about where they are and where I am. It takes a lot of pressure off.
2. The refrigerator repair man came today while I was home (!) and fixed the broken refrigerator.
3. The gas man came today while I was home (!) and replaced the empty gas tank.
4. The air conditioner works (tfu tfu tfu)
5. My dog and the cat have come to terms with each other (for now)
6. School is in session today, tomorrow and starts up again next Tuesday!
7. The 14-year-old has agreed to make dinner!
8. There is a new barbecue grill (charcoal)
Not so lucky me:
1. The custodial father has housekeeping standards that fall way below anyone else's minimum.
2. I don't know where the switch to the downstairs hot water heater is
3. The dishwasher doesn't work
4. The back yard is the domain of kittens and weeds
5. The front yard is the domain of weeds
6. I don't know how to use Skype on this MacIntosh computer
7. The mouse and the keyboard are very sticky (see #1 above).
Things could be worse at my dascha.