Customs vs. the Freelancer

Last week I received a page-long notice from the Israel Postal Service indicating that a shipment had arrived for me and I needed to travel all the way to Givat Shaul to pick it up!  There were lots of Hebrew words and I didn’t have the time or patience to two-finger type them all into Google Translate to figure out what on earth they wanted from me! So I scanned the document and sent it off to my good friend and lawyer Tzvi Szajnbrum for advice while I was doing some maintenance on his Voleh site.

Tzvi advised me to take the notice to the Post/Customs office in Givat Shaul and that I’d probably have to fill out a form to retrieve my merchandise.  So this morning I took the trip (with my headache and sore throat) and acquired a number upon arrival – #173, they were serving #161, it could be worse… I sat down and waited.

When #171 was called, I left my seat and started working my way to the front of the place to avoid losing my spot to an impatient Israeli, and that’s when an alert worker just coming off break noticed the paper in my hand and kindly told me I was in the wrong place!  I needed to go to the Meches (customs) office around the corner, down the hall and through the door. Continue reading Customs vs. the Freelancer


Max: Security Service K-9

Max Playing with Kong
Max Playing with Kong

We had an unusual, fun and only-in-Israel day today – and brought our newest family member home. He’s sleeping now, so deeply that he’s snoring next to my desk.

About a year ago I contacted DogSense in Hod HaSharon about adopting one of their K-9 security dogs when they were ready to be retired (usually at around 7 or 8 years old). This was after our Ra’anana apartment had been broken into and robbed.

For those of you who don’t already know, we owned Shalom Kennels in Hermitage, TN before moving to Cleveland in 2004. We bred and trained German Shepherd Dogs in Schutzhund and for police service. Our last girl – Bonni vom Wilknitzkoff, a gorgeous sable GSD that we imported from Germany – was sold to Saffore Kennels in 2005 due to some circumstances that were beyond our control at the time and we have sorely missed having canine companionship and protection since then.

Fast forward 6 years and we are now living in the “West Bank” of Israel and I felt the time was right for Yisrael to learn how to handle a working dog. Continue reading Max: Security Service K-9


Buyer Beware – Stanley Movers

Last week we used Stanley Movers to move us from Ra’anana to Ma’ale Adumim and it was without a doubt the WORST experience of our lives. To put this into proper perspective, this was my 20th move since 1987 and I’ve lived on both US coasts as well as in the middle of the country.


We verbally contracted with Stanley after he came to our apartment a few weeks before our move and walked through writing down everything he saw – he was the only mover who came to our apartment, everyone else tried to give us telephone quotes and I wasn’t comfortable with that. I wanted a mover who was able to assess with his own eyes the amount and types of items that needed to be moved. He quoted us 2800 NIS for a move from our 4th floor Ra’anana apartment to a 3rd floor apartment in Ma’ale Adumim.

A week before the move I sent him an e-mail telling him that we were not moving to the original address on the 3rd floor, but instead to a duplex on the 2nd and 3rd floor a few blocks away. I provided him with the new address. He said the price would remain the same. A few days before the move I still had not received a written quote from him so I sent him another e-mail. He wrote back acknowledging that he would be moving us for 2800 NIS.

They arrived 30 minutes late with a truck that was too small. Continue reading Buyer Beware – Stanley Movers


DVD Player and Dragon Die

Our DVD player died on Sunday and I never imagined that being without one – or purchasing a replacement – could be so stressful!

In October 2008 we bought a Maraton DVD player (model 3206) with a ONE YEAR warranty from a shop in Jerusalem. We paid 270 shekels – at the time that converted to approx. $71 which we felt was a ridiculous amount of money for a player we could have purchased at Wal-mart for about $39, but that was the best price we found in the greater Jerusalem area. Since the player is used for (too) many hours per week, I guess we got our money’s worth.

When it died I secretly fantasized about having a quiet apartment where everyone would use their time more wisely, e.g., read a book, magazine or newspaper, learn Torah, practice Hebrew reading or conversation, go out somewhere (anywhere!) and leave me in peace and quiet for a few hours, etc. But that dream was not realized. Instead both of my guys – and our lone soldier – crammed into my office and living room with laptops to watch videos online. After a few days of that unreasonable activity of tying up bandwidth I demanded that we purchase a new DVD player so I could have my office back! Continue reading DVD Player and Dragon Die


Swearing By-At Dell

7:10 PM update to my previous post Count on Dell to Fail During a Crisis:

I phoned Dell Customer Service 1-800-456-3355 about my warranty problem. It cost me $115. + tax to transfer my US Next Day Service Business Warranty to an International Israeli warranty through the end of my current contract (Feb 23, 2010) – I could have paid $266. to extend it through 2011, but I’m not feeling overly confident with Dell right now – nor do I have extra money burning a hole in my pocket. Continue reading Swearing By-At Dell


Count on Dell to Fail During a Crisis

I’ve got a bone to pick with Dell over quality and technical support issues lately. Instead of seeing the cute tiger-striped kitten that usually greets me with a log in screen this morning, I was harassed by rolling multi-colored horizontal lines on my laptop screen. I was not a happy camper. It is after 2 pm as I write this and I still haven’t been able to check my e-mail. Sure I have webmail access via another computer, but Outlook pops my 31 e-mail addresses (for my various business and personal needs) every 10 minutes making it easy for me to remain on top of things. So far I’ve only hit 2 of the 31 accounts via webmail today – I apologize if your e-mail is one that I haven’t seen and responded to yet, I’m feeling dysfunctional at the moment.

I bought this Dell Latitude D620 laptop, well not THIS one – but the broken one, in January 2007 and paid a pretty penny for it because it was a top-notch business machine at that time. It has not been reliable and seems to “get sick” when I am at the height of stress, like this week in the middle of an intense job search for Michael and researching potential communities to relocate to in case he lands a job in the Center of Israel. Sometimes I wonder if electrical charges are being emitted from my body that send signals through the laptop causing it to fail when I most need it! Perhaps it isn’t happy being owned by a power user? Continue reading Count on Dell to Fail During a Crisis


FedEx-Customs Shakedown

I started this blog with two goals in mind, to share our experiences:

  1. as new immigrants in Israel, thus providing a realistic view of Aliyah to people in other countries considering coming home.
  2. with family and friends in America so that they won’t feel like they are no longer part of our lives.

In reviewing some of the 204 posts and pages I’ve written since last July, I realized that this blog has also provided me with an outlet for venting my frustrations. And this, my 205th post, is exactly of that persuasion.

It all started with a simple need to obtain over-the-counter medications and cosmetic products that we used on a regular basis in America. Continue reading FedEx-Customs Shakedown


Hope I Get

Sari Holtz asked me to tell you about Hope I Get, the first English-language wedding registry website in Israel.

“In the scope of my work, I have seen firsthand how many people (and especially olim) in Israel are continuing to get engaged and married despite the raging violence. Seeing this has been truly uplifting. What’s more, I have seen how Hope I Get enables Anglos in Israel to share their simcha with loved ones throughout the world. The site’s customers can directly support an Israeli business that was launched and is run entirely by olim.”

Knowing how compassionate you all are, and how some of you are looking for ways to support Israel (especially now), I thought you might find this service inspirational.


Vacuum Storage Bags May Be Hazardous to Your Iron!

When we were preparing for our big overseas move, we were attracted to the idea of using those vacuum seal storage bags seen on TV. Our goal was saving money (shipping companies charge by the cubic foot) by fitting as much as we could into a 7′ x 7 ‘ x 7.5’ lift van. We shipped about 30 of these bags filled with clothing, linens and bedding. Continue reading Vacuum Storage Bags May Be Hazardous to Your Iron!