October 04, 2010

Complaining is not something I find attractive and if some might perceive my writings to be such, that would certainly strike me a blow. Never the less I have seen that there comes a moment for many bloggers when they feel it prudent to allow their readers a detailed description of their environment, to more fully appreciate the influence of daily surroundings that one is subjected to.
Therefore I would like to describe a little of our living circumstances, something that I touched upon lightly here .

I blog from a computer which I have because someone threw it into the garbage and I was able to fix it. It requires regular maintenance as it is about 8 years old and I switch out parts every so often from other old computers people throw away.

I have caught as many as 15 in one month.
Here you can see the cages I use every night to catch the rats that infest my rear balcony. I live in a village in the countryside and for years let them be, there's no food on the balcony, anymore, since I no longer keep rabbits. I declared war on them only after they broke into the fort knox-like cage I built after one of the two "males" had a litter.

from our bedroom window
Here is where jackals live. Yes, jackals. I see them wandering about during the daytime without a care in the world. Which would not bother me if my area were not the country's centre for rabies. The local council will not come to catch them unless you have actually been bitten.

Because they are building two new houses on the property I have to keep the windows closed from six in the morning till about four thirty in the afternoon because of the dust and dirt that would otherwise damage Segev's breathing further. Until this construction started I had a parcel of 7000 square meters of pecan trees and grapes and field as a playground for the kids. 

Except in the summer. In the summer we have these:

One of many Palestinian vipers I have caught, the most poisonous in the country

Muskrats abound but usually stay clear of the house but when I see them hustling through the field I get a shiver down my spine. All of this is part and parcel of living in the countryside and I don't mind it at all, except for the rats.

The house I live in is close to fifty years old. About half of the electrical wiring is original, you know, the kind with woven cloth insulation. I  live upstairs since the entire downstairs was never developed for living, serving as the regional winery. I've looked for a better place for three years, having stopped since the prices went up so much. The options I have are: second floor which is always nice when you have a 31 kg child and a forty kg wheelchair to move up and down those stairs; live in a shack; find illegal income to pay for a nice place. I must stay living in the village since, while Segev is at his mothers I need to be there daily to either check on him, treat him, or when there is an emergency, be able to reach there in less time than it would take him to suffocate to death. 

Life's nowhere near perfect. I am, due to Segev, able to work two days a week in my profession, which is entirely based upon housecalls in an area over one hour's drive away. It has happened several times that I've had to rush home, sometimes directly to hospital, because Segev was injured or severely ill. I cannot count the amount of income I have lost due to this specific reason alone.

In the winter the temperature in the non-heated parts of the house, meaning everything but the living room and my bedroom, is 13 degrees Celsius (55 F), yes it is actually warmer outside than inside the house. In the summer the house averages 34 degrees Celsius (93 F). At night it cools down to 33 C.

The winter is one long constant attempt at keeping Segev's toes from turning blue as his circulation is minimal, having no natural muscle tone. Hot water bottles and microwaved pillows rotate from under his legs and on top of his feet incessantly. With the air-conditioner on heating and an oil radiator added, the temperature in the room after about 12 hours becomes a balmy 21 degrees Celsius (70 F)and even with a humidifier, as dry as the desert.

When paint starts to peel, you can't just paint over it, you have to remove the paint from the entire wall. Painting would take days of work where I can at best muster an hour or two at a time and is expensive. It is not a health hazard to have peeling paint so I ignore it.

I defy anyone to show me water that is "harder" than what constantly clogs my pipes and cover everything with calcium scale, rendering the heating element in the water boiler useless within a week of replacing it. The pipes feeding this house are "agricultural" pipes; greater in diameter and softer metal since the quality is less important for crops and it was cheaper when installed decades ago.
On the right is a watercolour my eldest made when he was 10 years old.
When I have asked for help from people in the village, to keep their eyes and ears open in case a house becomes available the best thing that I've gotten is, "have you tried the newspapers?" Okay. I. Will. Do. That. Or, no response at all. I've made it clear in the asking that I need the place because where I live is not apropriate for Segev's health. If I were on the ground floor I might even be able to occasionally take him out to the garden for fresh air and a few minutes of sun.

The village itself is nice and cozy and generally the people are very good, very sociable. That I am a shut-in for 12 years has escaped people's attention and I blame no one. In order to move to another place I also have to find something for Segev's mother, since Segev is there when I am working. This complicates matters significantly. Again, concerning work, I have the skills, experience and the fortitude that made it clear those long twelve years ago, I would be responsible for the care of Segev, allowing him a chance to hang around a few more years, rather than placing him in an institute, which was discussed here.

The rent I pay is apparently sub-market so I am lucky in this sense and of course there are many options out there for those that work full-time, or rather, that get paid for all of their work, since taking care of Segev is 80% of my work. Or for families that have two incomes, which is definitely the standard here, hence the high market prices. People are expected to pay more since both husband and wife are working.

I've had help over the years. In the past my Parents were sometimes able to help.  My in-laws helped. Occasionally a friend was very generous and my son works part time so I've even had to ask him to pay for groceries on occasion. My daughter offers me her birthday money. I canceled my life-insurance years ago because of the premiums. Don't own a tv and thus also no cable. Canceled the extra family health insurance since the standard one is sufficient. Use skype instead of long distance calls. I cook very little these days, though I've been told by many I could open a restaurant, but special treat night for the kids is pizza from the supermarket. My kids have never asked me to buy them "in" clothing or shoes. My son has a computer that he paid for by himself, the same goes for his driving leassons. My daughter buys herself a handbag from babysitting earnings. All great ego-building stuff for the father you want to be, right guys?
This week I will speak to the principal of my children's school and see what can be done about the costs of extra-curricular events like the yearly school trip. They both realize they may not be able to go.

I was thinking that it couldn't hurt to know. If keeping Segev alive with a modicum of quality and dignity was a task that few could stand, staying positive and content and not apathetic, as I hope you have seen me through my blog, while carrying the responsibility, well that may be an entirely different matter.
I hope you've enjoyed this little peek into my life, if it sounds like I was whining, even just a little, I have succeeded and will hopefully be done with that for at least a few months. 

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