Tuesday, June 9, 2009

"Houston, we have LIFT OFF!!!!!!!!!"

After all the anticipation and the wait and the blood, sweat (and tears!) the lift/container arrived bright and early on this drizzly morning. In a matter of 7 hours, our entire lives at 6315 N Lawndale in Chicago was loaded up and ready to ship to Israel. In the morning, I was feeling queasy and nervous at the prospect of watching my stuff leave the house. As the day wore on, it seemed more and more calm as floor space that I never existed began to materialize. You have to remember that we began packing our first box a year ago! (Obviously, most of the packing has happened over the past few months only)

The movers were great! I can not say enough about their professionalism and speed! We did NOT have the experience of people stopping in to gawk by the dozens as others have had. (A couple of close friends dropped by and it WAS appreciated, I must tell you.)

How can I encapsulate my thoughts and feelings at this moment...On the one hand there is great relief, as we finally move from time measured as B.L. (before lift) to A.L. There have been so many good things that have occurred over the past few months as we prepared for this step of Aliya...EVEN Ikea (in hindsight) is looking like it was okay, too. (But you gotta squint really hard to see the good in those visits).

As I type these words, I can actually "hear" the echo in the den as I type due to the lack of items here to absorb the sound. We will begin to live out of suitcases, plastic cutlery, and on mattresses on the floor as of tonight. I am thinking of getting myself a cardboard sign that says "Homeless...Please help!" and standing at McCormick and Devon for a few hours. These other guys seem to do ok there, so maybe I can too!

After a little time for relaxing (FINALLY), the focus turns to cleaning up the house and packing up the rest of the items that we will take with us on the plane.

I have butterflies now, as the dream is that much closer to reality. I thank Hashem for giving us the opportunity to get this far in the process and still remain (relatively) sane.

Here are two pictures to give you a sense of the "Before" and "After" of the basement. I hope to post a whole series of pics one day.

Boxes, Boxes Everywhere!

So, I am now sitting here just moments after the packers have finished most of their work in our house. Besides the boxes WE packed (PBO's for those of you paying attention!), they packed dozens more today. Our house looks like a warehouse for a Big Box store but at least they will all be gone tomorrow!!
The crew showed up at EXACTLY 8:30am and got right to work. We did a walk-through so that they would know what IS shipping and what is not. (We did not want to be like one of our friends who ended up opening their lift to find that the movers had shipped one of their boxes of GARBAGE!)

In eager anticipation of this day, Andy was up and working by 3:15am and me, the slaggard, slept in until 5am. In any event, the day moved very fast as they packed, wrapped, inventoried and prepared most of the items to go on the container tomorrow. I must say that it was NOT as stressful as I had anticipated these past months and that helped a LOT. Andy was calm virtually the entire time and was moving at lightning speed to keep up with the movers as she showed them what last minute items needed to be packed. Everything they did, they did with a smile.

My daughter, Daniella, went out and bought pizza lunch for the men, which they greatly appreciated and it gave them a few minutes to rejuvenate (I am sure they could have used a nap after that, but so did I!!)

The most tedious part of the entire day (for THEM not ME) was the inventory. Each and every item shipping, whether a box, a chair, a table pad, etc EVERY item received a yellow tag with a number and the inventory list was then written down in detail. I could have handled the PACKING part but the detailed inventory part...that would have driven me to the brink!

A few related things: We have received SO many offers of help from people, food for meals, offers to pick up stuff, etc etc....ALL of those offers were SO nice and we greatly appreciated all of the offers.

And in the middle of all of this...OUR PASSPORTS WITH OUR VISAS TO ENTER ISRAEL AS OLIM CHADASHIM (NEW IMMIGRANTS)ARRIVED!!!! I have hardly had a moment to celebrate having THAT milestone as well, but we have SO many things to celebrate, Baruch Hashem!

Now, let's back up a bit since the last 24 hours have been very busy besides in our home! First, on Sunday early afternoon, our middle daughter, Ayelet, graduated from Ida Crown. We were beaming with pride as she stepped up to get her diploma. Hard to believe that she is our SECOND high school grad now! It was also a very special moment when one of my students (Sara Bernstein) wished our family well as we make Aliya. How special to have such beautiful public recognition.

Then, in yet another milestone, an election was held on Sunday for the Rav of KJBS. At 8:00pm last night the announcement was made...Rabbi Aaron Leibtag will serve as the new Rav for the Shul after I depart for Israel. I am happy for HIM and happy for the shul. it is great for continuity and for growth. I am sure you all join me in wishing Rabbi Leibtag a Mazal Tov and much Hatzlacha in this new exciting position (yes, it is exciting...after ten YEARS serving as the Rav, it is VERY difficult to leave the position, trust me!)

Ok...that is all for now (just another quiet 24 hours of doing boring!). Time to get ready for the next and final phase of this move...the actual loading of the lift/container. They are to arrive at 8:30am to drop the container and begin the loading. Needless to say, it will be very strange by the end of the day Monday in the Shandalov household....

While this is the SECOND post I have written today, the first one seems like 6 weeks ago. So, the requisite countdown:
26 days...15 hours and 43 minutes...TICK...TICK...TICK!