Immediately following Passover 2010, which ended on April 6th, we began work on the landscaping and deck-building in our backyard. We hired all the contractors before the holiday began in full belief that they would finish the work in three to four weeks.
Now, in the off chance that you doubt me, let me tell you that the time frame was theirs -- not mine. When I initially said to the deck guy: "I have a bar mitzvah in June" he just laughed and said: "it only takes a week and a half to two weeks to build a deck and a pergola." And considering his snarky tone when he responded, I couldn't help but doubt my own self-made anxieties.
Well, excuse me for being smarter than I look -- at least on the odd occasion. It is now May 20th and my yard looks like an industrial waste facility. I have an almost completed deck, a partially built pergola, a partially built stream that leaks, and that's about it. Oh, I forgot, I also have tons of partially used wood, electrical wire scraps, leftover coffee cups and lunch wrappers, rubber tubing and old branches lying amidst a pile of very expensive -- yet unused -- wood.
No trees, no beautiful stepping stones, no fancy lights. Zippo.
And on top of all that, my son's bar mitzvah is now is five weeks. Am I in a panic? Oui. Oui grande.
I think that besides the obvious concerns what gets me most is that I am at a loss to explain how people make money in this country. I don't mean the Israeli Wall Street types who go to work in big offices in Tel Aviv, Ramat Gan and Jerusalem every day. But rather the tradesmen who start at 9:00 a.m. (even though they said they would be there at 8:00 a.m), and who take a 10:00 a.m. snack break, have a siesta from 2:00 p.m. to 4:00 p.m. and then work a little until 6:30 p.m. Yes, them.
Maybe it is my Calvanist work ethic -- well, my old Calvanist work ethic -- that is unrealistic in the Middle East. Now I work on the internet at times that suit me but at least when I say I am going to get a job done by a certain date, I actually stick to the plan.
Maybe it's the heat. I couldn't work outside in this kind of weather either but of course, as native born Israelis who are not menopausal, they don't seem to notice the relentless sun.
Maybe they don't need the money. Although they always arrive on time on the days they want money. THEN, they are immediately available and diligent. THEN they have a sense of urgency.
Maybe this is not just an Israeli problem even if I seem to think it is.
Maybe I should just move to a new house and not tell them. Of course, I have to be moved in to my new pad in five weeks.